Managing Your Emergency Materials
All too often there is not enough attention that goes into planning. Whether it is planning vacations, planning parties, planning graduation, or planning for emergencies, it seems like somehow someone forgets something. They buy the plane ticket, but forgets to bring it to the airport, or buys the birthday cake, but forgets to bring utensils.
Paralleling this idea, people all too often buy several cases of food storage without having the proper space to store them. Likewise, rarely do people immediately consider that a can opener is needed to open a can when stocking up, or that food storage is no good to anyone if it is expired by the time you need it. Because these things have caused problems in the past for people, the government has created a comprehensive list of tips for managing and maintaining your emergency preparedness supply kits. From these tips, we have extracted these four basic C’s: Cool, Contain, Cans, and Change.
Cool– Your food storage, especially canned goods, should be kept in a consistently cool and dry area. Because root cellars are hard to come by these days and basements are often too warm due to central heating, you may want to consider insulating off a section of your basement for your food storage.
Contain-Just as important, or perhaps more important, than the food you select for your food storage is the containers you chose to contain them in. Remember to select a durable food-grade container (metal or plastic) with a tight lid. This will help prevent your food from spoiling early while also protecting it from outside threats such as pests.
Cans– Throw out any cans that are bulging, dented, or corroded. Also, keep track of the expiration dates on your food storage foods to make sure they don’t go bad.
Change– To be safe, you should be updating your stored food and water every six months. This is why it is smart to buy food storage items that you would not mind eating for dinner normally as they will be rotated into your meals this way. Food Insurance’s freeze-dried foods can last 25+ years however, these foods do not need to be updated. When you go through this process, do it in a systematic way so that you know which foods are the oldest as you slowly add to your supply. A good way to do this is by putting the new items in the back and the old in front. Every year you should reevaluate your family’s needs. Have you gained family members? Have your children grown significantly? Have some moved out of the house? Have you moved locations recently where there are different natural hazards?
Lastly, place all your items in airtight bags and place those in strong, easy to carry containers–trashcans, camping backpacks, or duffel bags. Again, what a shame it would be to have done all these other things only to lose your supplies in a natural disaster because they were not transportable or protected.
*For more helpful emergency preparedness tips, visit the government’s preparedness website at www.ready.gov.