Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

This page contains information on why and how to prepare for an emergency mostly in urban areas, also you will find useful tips on how to stock food and water, without having to run to the store at the last moment, when it might be too late. Emergency preparedness is very essential if you want to increase your survival chances and that of your family in case of a national or local disaster. It pays to be prepared, and it pays to have knowledge of what to do in disasters.

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Emergency Essentials

Even though emergency situations don't happen very often, when they do, they impact our lives to a great extent. Top minimize or eleminate the negative effects of a certain emergency, you need to be prepared and have the emergency essentials, in terms of knowledge, food, water, shelter, and an escape plan.

When disaster stike, we are caught by surprise and usually unprepared. But emergencies sometimes have a similar pattern and cause the same problem even if they're different in nature, therefore the steps to prepare for them is the same, for example stocking food and water are step that can help you in most national emergencies, and that's what we will discuss in this page.

Stocking Food for Emergencies

Imagine there is an emergency in your city, or country, people will scramble to the stores, there will be a panic, looting, and so on will result, if you still decide to go to the store, you will find empty shelves or even closed stores. Wouldn't it be better if when there is such an emergency, you sit with your family, and use the food and water you have stored? I bet it is.

As you stock food, take into account your family’s unique needs. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods that require no refrigeration, water, special preparation, or cooking are best. Take into consideration individuals with special diets and allergies such as babies and the ill. Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils. Don’t forget nonperishable foods for your pets.

Food Storage Tips

  1. Keep food in a dry, cool spot—a dark area if possible.
  2. Open food boxes and other re-sealable containers carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use.
  3. Wrap perishable foods, such as cookies and crackers, in plastic bags and keep them in sealed containers.
  4. Empty open packages of sugar, dried fruits, and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight canisters for protection from pests.
  5. Inspect all food for signs of spoilage before use.
  6. Throw out canned goods that become swollen, dented, expired, or corroded.
  7. Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker. Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.

If you need a more detailed list of what exactly to stock, check our Survival Checklist page, or keep reading the rest of this article for more useful information.

Food Shelf-life

The following list shows the experation dates of many types of food. So make sure to replace the easily perishable food more often.

Use within six months:

  1. Powdered milk - boxed
  2. Dry, crisp crackers
  3. Potatoes

Use within one year, or before the date indicated on the label:

  1. Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
  2. Canned fruits, fruit juices, and vegetables
  3. Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals
  4. Peanut butter
  5. Jelly
  6. Hard candy and canned nuts
  7. Vitamins

May be stored indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):

  1. Wheat
  2. Vegetable oils
  3. Dried corn
  4. Baking powder
  5. Soybeans
  6. Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa
  7. Salt
  8. Noncarbonated soft drinks
  9. White rice
  10. Bouillon products
  11. Dry pasta
  12. Honey
  13. Powdered milk – in nitrogen-packed cans

Here are some more resources about finding water:
Food in the Desert, Food in the Wilderness, Food at Sea.

Stocking Water for Emergencies

Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day. People in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require even more. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least one gallon per person, per day. Consider storing at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can. If supplies run low, never ration water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

If there is an emergency, and you used up all the water you stocked in your home, try the following. Safe water sources in your home include the water in your hot- water tank, pipes, and ice cubes. You should not use water from toilet flush tanks or bowls, radiators, waterbeds, or swimming pools/spas.

You will need to protect the water sources already in your home from contamination if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines, or if local officials advise you of a problem. To shut off incoming water, locate the main valve and turn it to the closed position. Be sure you and other family members know beforehand how to perform this important procedure.

To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your home at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from the lowest faucet in the home. To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve at the tank and turning on a hot-water faucet. Refill the tank before turning the gas or electricity back on. If the gas is turned off, a professional will be needed to turn it back on.

Here are some more resources about finding water:
Water in the Desert, Water in the Wilderness, Water at Sea, and Water Well Off the Grid.

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