If a natural disaster strikes today – a tornado, a hurricane, a forest fire or an earthquake – and the water and the electricity lines have all shut down, will you be prepared?
A good idea when running a household is to make emergency plans for your own and your family’s safety, especially if your area is prone to natural disasters. And even if your area isn’t, you may expect other things such as a service interruption, disease outbreak, war, or even an alien invasion.
Prepping can seem to appear overwhelming, especially if your resources are limited. However, it’s always a good thing to have extra supplies on hand.
You must know which of the items must be prioritized. Of course, the top resources you should need, first and foremost, are water and food. The question you may need to answer is how much food and water do you need to survive?
Stocking up on water and looking for decent sources of water
Water is the most essential and vital thing for all of us; for without water, we cannot survive. However, water is one resource that we often take for granted because we think of it as endless. Besides, it flows out right from our faucet, so most of us don’t think of stocking up on water to prepare for a disaster.
We need about 2 to 3 quarts of water every day, some experts recommend a gallon a day. Some of the water is derived from the food, but most of the water is what from what we drink.
Imagine this: depending on your town, city, or municipality, if the power goes out suddenly, it won’t take long before the water main could totally bust. This may also depend on your situation, location, or the backup electricity generator of your town or municipality. At this point, people in your area may no longer have access to clean drinking water, and will most likely endure rationing. You won’t have to worry about rationing water if you have it stored in jugs that are readily available.
Except for very rare and special cases, a person will not be able to survive without water for more than three to five days.
Besides for drinking, you will also need water for other uses such as cooking, cleaning, washing, and bathing. These other uses will certainly add up to a substantial requirement of water every day.
If you live nearby bodies of water such as a lake, a river, stream or a reservoir, you will readily have these as alternative sources of water. But carrying and transporting water from these natural sources is another thing – and more so considering the burden you’re already having from the calamity. Remember that carrying a gallon of water is really heavy. You may need practical and a relatively easy way to transport water. If you have a motorized vehicle such as a car or a van, it may do. However, you may need to consider how you will carry gallons of water without the aid of a motorized vehicle. Most likely, if you have them available, you will use carts and buckets to transport water to your home.
You could choose to stock up water as much as possible for survival. However, if a disaster proves to be bad enough or long enough that clean water supplies become depleted, you may be forced to flee the area to look for other water sources.
Which foodstuffs should be considered good for stocking?
Your bodily needs are highly demanding during an emergency. Because you’ll probably expend more energy than you normally would, fueling your body is quite different from your everyday diet. In this regard, you should have a diet consisting of high-energy and high-protein foods.
Since you’ll most likely have a limited supply of food, you will want to stock foods that are of higher quality. During times of disaster or an emergency you need more calories, but at the same time in order to keep your diet normal, you also need some nutrients and fiber.
In an emergency or a disaster, people tend to think of eating the basic foods over personal preferences. However, with the proper planning, you can have a variety of foods, which means you can get a variety of nutrients needed.
We recommend foods that have long expiration dates, so you can stash them away for long periods of time. It’s important to make a list of every item in your stockpile and check the expiration dates of these foods every six to twelve months. A can opener is a must item, so don’t forget to have it at all times.
1. Peanut butter – packs a lot of energy, protein and healthful fats. Unless stated by its jar label, you don’t need to refrigerate it.
2. Whole wheat (or whole grain) crackers – a good alternative for bread. Because of their higher fat content, whole wheat crackers tend to have a shorter shelf life compared to their plain counterparts. However, these crackers’ high fiber will make you full enough to go through these hard situations. Remember to check the expiration dates on their boxes. To prolong the shelf life of these and other foods that may expire more quickly, consider vacuum-packing them.
3. Nuts and trail mixes – these foods have high amounts of energy, nutrients, and healthy fats. These are perfect for snacking. Nuts in vacuum packs are always better than those in glass jars. You can look for them in supermarkets or groceries.
4. Multigrain cereals – Look for these cereals in individual packs so that they don’t become stale after opening
5. Granola and power bars – These bars are a great source of carbohydrates that you need during an emergency. Plus they’re healthy and filling. These bars stay fresh for at least six months.
6. Dried fruits – such as apricots, raisins, and mangoes. They’re loaded with vitamin C, potassium, calories and dietary fiber.
7. Canned foods – examples of canned meats, fish and poultry are tuna, salmon, chicken, corned beef, and turkey, which provide you with the protein you need. These foods stay fresh as long as two years in the pantry. Vacuum-packed pouches generally have a comparatively shorter shelf life (they stay fresh for at least six months). There are also canned vegetables like green beans, carrots, and peas that will give you essential nutrients. Canned soups and chili are also available – it is best to look for low sodium varieties. These canned vegetables and soups typically last from 1 to 2 years.
8. Sports drinks – these sports drinks (such as Gatorade) have the essential electrolytes and carbohydrates to keep you hydrated especially when water is scarce. Always check the expiration dates on their bottles.
9. Powdered milk and chocolate – fresh milk and milk chocolate have a shorter shelf life. These powdered alternatives have an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D and energy and will require no refrigeration.
10. Sugar, salt and pepper and other powdered flavorings – if you’ve got a propane or charcoal stove on hand, you may be doing some cooking. Keeping these flavorings will definitely enhance your food.
11. Multivitamins – these multivitamins are a great way to replace the nutrients you would have derived from your normal diet.