Emergency Food Supply

Author:
MemorialCare Disaster VAT
Emergency Food Supply

In the hours and days following a disaster, stores may be closed, travel may be difficult. Shopping may be impossible. Additionally, you may have no electricity or gas, so refrigerating perishable foods or preparing cooked foods may not be possible. It will be essential that you have a supply of non-perishable, ready-to-eat, nutritious foods for you and your family, ideally for at least 72 hours.

Your task: Collect and store a 72-hour supply of food for all household members.

Consider the following when selecting your emergency food supply

  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose low sodium foods, such as salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.
  • Select foods that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water, or special preparation.
  • Keep in mind any special dietary needs for your family members (diabetics, babies, etc.).
  • Look for durable packaging that will protect against moisture, pests or accidental opening.
  • Don't forget a manual can opener.

If water supply is limited, try to avoid foods high in fat and protein. Don't stock salty foods since they will make you thirsty. Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

Emergency Food Suggestions 

  • MREs (meals ready to eat). These can be found online or at outdoor/camping stores.
  • Energy bars (PowerBar, Clif Bars, etc.).
  • Dried fruits and vegetables.
  • Canned or boxed juices, soup, chili, beans, seafood.
  • High-energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, low-sodium crackers, granola bars, and trail mix.
  • Vitamins.
  • Special foods for infants or persons on special diets.
  • Cookies.
  • "Shelf-stable" milk that doesn't require refrigeration. These can be found at camping/outdoor stores. Be mindful of expiration dates.
  • Canned coffee drinks.
  • Cereals.
  • Don't forget your pets!

You don't need to go out and buy unfamiliar foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You may use the canned foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves. In fact, familiar foods are important. They can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress. Also, canned foods won't require cooking, water or special preparation.

Emergency Food Storage

  • Keep foods in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly sealed plastic containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
  • Throw out any canned foods that become swollen, dented or corroded.
  • Note expiration dates. Use or discard foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies.

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