How Often Should I Update My Emergency Storage?

I learned the hard way that if you don’t check something often enough, you can end up with trouble. I am guilty of not changing the filter for my air conditioning and furnace unit. Even if I had known how often I should replace it, I’m not sure I would have actually done it. When the weather turned warm and I started using the air conditioning, I suddenly had a problem. Water started leaking out the bottom of the unit threatening to ruin my newly installed basement flooring. My failure to check and replace the filter had caused a potentially disastrous situation.

Like changing your air filter, it is important to update your emergency storage to prevent bigger problems later on. It is much easier to check your supplies twice a year, than to find yourself in an emergency situation with expired food and water and clothing that doesn’t fit anyone in the family.

Luckily, the change of seasons provides a great natural clock to remind us it is time to update our emergency storage. But if you don’t live somewhere with a “four-season” climate, consider checking your emergency supply when you do your “spring cleaning” and when you’re breaking out the holiday décor. This is a great time to go through survival foods and emergency items.

  • Inspect emergency food and water for spoiling.
  • Include some food storage recipes with your emergency food kits.
  • Check clothing in your emergency kits to make sure no one will have to squeeze into pants that are too short or too tight.
  • Also make sure that the clothing you are storing is appropriate for the season.
  • Check hygiene items and medications to make sure they are up to date as well.

Different foods will store longer than others, especially depending on the packaging or container. Use these guidelines to determine how long food storage will last. If you don’t have a supply of long term storage food, consider getting one and adding a longer shelf life to food for storage. Food Insurance also recommends safe storage time for water. If you have commercially bottled water, you should consume it by the use by date. If you are storing and treating your own water, it is recommended that you change the water every six months and invest in water filters.

The time to do “spring cleaning” is almost over, so update your emergency store now and develop a habit to regularly check emergency supplies that will prevent bigger problems later.  Now, if you could just remember how long it has been since you’ve changed your toothbrush…

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