When talking about storing food for an emergency or disaster, we have many areas to consider:
- How much food to stock for disaster?
- What foods to store for a disaster?
- Where do I store food for disaster?
- How to store food long term?
- How do I prepare that food when power is out?
- What foods should I have ready to take if I need to evacuate or “bug-out”?
- How do I replace my food stores if the disaster lasts long-term (SHTF “Sh*t Hits The Fan”)
- What tools and other supplies do I need for gathering, cooking, storing, and cleaning up.
Do you have enough food to survive?
Disaster strikes! The hurricane has hit, knocking out power and flooding the entire area. You wanted to stick it out in your own home, which has come out of the storm relatively unscathed. But now you are trapped there, unable to leave to obtain any supplies. As the entire area has been hit, you don’t expect any help or assistance for days, possibly weeks.
It could be other disasters other than the hurricane scenario above. Maybe it was a snowstorm, making travel impossible. Even if you have a vehicle able to travel the weather conditions, can the grocery stores receive their shipments to restock their shelves?
Maybe you just lost your job and have no income coming in right now. Would having a stockpile of food for emergencies make things a bit easier while searching for that new job?
How Much Should I Stock For A Disaster?
We want to start with building up a 3 day (72 hour) supply to begin with.
Why 72 hours?
Most experts say it may take a minimum of 3 days for help to arrive during any major disaster. Relief organizations, emergency responders, government agencies, and others will have to take time to get organized to get aid out to those who need it.
In recent years we have seen many disasters occur; hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc., where it has taken much longer for help to arrive. Many times it has taken weeks or even months for help and supplies to get to everyone in need.
So 72 hours may not be enough!
Once you have your stockpile set up for 72 hours, then start adding to it to build up to 1 week. Then plan for 2 weeks, 1 month, several months, up to a year. With proper rotation of your foods, (using the oldest first and replacing it with new purchases), you will have foods supplies available to handle just about any disaster that may occur.
What Foods Should I Stock For A Disaster?
Tips To Consider:
- Stock foods you normally eat. If you don’t normally cook grains like oats and wheat, buying a 25 pound bag for your emergency supply will probably be a waste.
- Stock foods easy to cook. You may be without gas or electricity and unable to use your normal appliances for cooking. Have foods easy to prepare over a fire, on the grill, on a camping grill, etc.
- Start Small: Make a checklist and add a few “extra” items to your grocery cart every time you go shopping. You’ll be amazed how quickly your emergency supply will grow!
Foods To Stock
- Water: Technically not a food, but you will need plenty for drinking, food preparations, and washing.
- Dry Goods: Things like crackers, cereal, pasta, rice, dry beans, whole grains, flour, bouillon cubes, seeds, powdered milk, powdered drink mixes, etc.
- Canned Foods: Canned meats, vegetables, soups, stews, tomato sauce, etc.
- Other Foods: Peanut butter, honey, jerky, hard cheese (dipped in wax), dried fruits, nuts (shorter shelf life), powdered drink mixes, coffee & tea, condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.)
- Items for Baking & Cooking: Sugar, salt, spices, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, yeast, cooking oil, vinegar, etc.
- Home canned foods
- Home freeze-dried or dehydrated foods
- Special Needs: Baby formula, baby food, special foods for allergies, pet food, etc.
Supplies To Stock
- Serving Items: paper plates, plastic silverware, napkins, paper towels, plastic bags, etc. (These items help conserve your use of water, which may be limited in supply.)
- Cleaning Supplies: Dish soap, scouring pads, washcloths, dishtowels, etc.
- Food Preparation Items: Meat grinders, grain mills, cooking utensils
- Don’t forget an energy source for cooking, like backpacking or camping stoves, fuel for the stoves, grills and charcoal, or wood and supplies for starting a fire, etc.
Stocking Up Food For Long Term
Where Do We Start?
Very few of us are able to stock up a year’s supply of food immediately, so we are going to need to start slowly and keep a few tips in mind.
Find a good location to store your food supplies.
- Reorganize a pantry, add extra shelves in a closet, laundry room, or basement.
- Plastic storage drawers or even plastic storage boxes with wheels that are made for under the bed storage.
- Root cellars
- Avoid storage areas that may have temperature extremes, like garages, or attics.
- Avoid areas with high humidity or dampness like wet basements.
Food Storage Containers
- Store your dry goods, (Cereals, flour, grains, rice, pasta, etc. in rodent and insect proof containers.
- Storing dry goods in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and placing in plastic buckets is one method many preppers use for long term storage.
Restocking Our Food Supplies Long Term
Other than just stockpiling a food supply, we have other methods of obtaining food where we may need to develop some new skills.
- Foraging for wild plants
- Raising livestock
- Food Preservation: Canning, smoking, dehydrating, freeze-drying .
Many preppers will take this step of learning these skills to survive. They are planning for complete breakdown of society as we know it, TEOTWAWKI (“The End Of The World As We Know It”), where it may take years for things to return to normal as we know it. (If it ever does!).
What scenarios could cause this?
Nuclear attacks, or EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) attacks or from the sun’s solar flares, war, pandemics, and financial collapse are some examples.
Should I Bug-Out or Stay and Weather Out The Disaster?
Evacuating or Bugging-Out is often the best course of action when you know the disaster is eminent. Your first concern is safety for yourself and your family. If you have warning, as in the case of a hurricane or flood, it may be best to evacuate to a safer location.
If you are going to stay at a relative’s or friend’s home or a motel, you may not need to bring foods supplies with you.
However, if you have no set place to stay and are going to an emergency shelter, or be camping out, or travelling to your bug-out location that may not be stocked with food, you will need to bring your supplies with you.
Having containers like plastic buckets or plastic containers stocked with food and food preparation supplies ready to go will make sure you are able to leave quickly and don’t forget anything.
You can even order 72 Hour, 1 Week, 30-Day, or even longer time period Emergency Food Kits from several companies like:
- Augason Farms
- Wise Food Storage
- The Ready Store
- Valley Food Storage
- My Food Storage
- And many others
If you are “bugging-out” with only your Bug-Out-Bag that you are carrying on you back, several companies are freeze dried foods that are very light and easy to carry.
- Mountain House
- Backpackers Pantry
- Good To-Go
Grocery stores also have a wide selection of dry packaged foods that are good for long term storage for campers hikers, or those of us who may have to bug-out, such as:
Instant oatmeal, granola bars, instant dinners with sauce in squeeze packets, rice, noodles, dried soup mixes, canned meats like tuna, etc.
What Should You Do Next?
Get started immediately!
- Make a list of how much food and water you need for each family member.
- Start adding a few “extra” of these items to your grocery cart each time you shop.
- Find a secure place to store these “extras” for emergencies.
- Check out other sections of this site to start learning new skills like gardening, storing, preserving, etc. to add to your food stores.
- Start buying a few supplies for storing food, or tools for obtaining food for long term.
- Purchase some good books to gain more information, skills, and expertise in having enough food to survive a disaster.
Don’t put it off. – Start now and you will be amazed how quickly you will be much better prepared than probably 95 % or more of most people! Be a prepper and have yourself and your family prepared for disaster!
Obviously, this is just an overview of having food for emergencies and disasters. In each of these areas, I will be going into much more detail in further posts.
Keep checking back for updates and more articles going into more detail in each of these areas.
As always, I look forward to your comments, tips, and suggestions that you enter below.