Planning for an emergency is a huge task. On the most basic level, what kind of emergency is it? How long will emergency conditions last? Unfortunately, you won’t know until you’re living it. And you won’t know how prepared you were until you aren’t. So what should you stock up on to ensure success?
As the United States has recently learned in a crash course, we as a country are woefully unprepared for emergency conditions. As we face a global pandemic, stores are mobbed and basic supplies are sold out or rationed per visit.
But preparation can save everyone a lot of stress, and ensure a balanced diet – even if things get worse.
As you work to build your emergency preparedness kit, start with a goal of 72 hours of supplies for everyone in your family. Adjust that goal to a week and then 2 weeks as you gather supplies.
A 30-day supply would be a long-term goal.
Here are our top 8 tips for building your emergency stockpile:
1. Tactical Gear
Make sure you have supplies on hand like medical kits, knives, can openers, lanterns, candles, batteries, and flashlights.
Map out the process of being without power and ensure you cover all your bases. For example, if you buy candles, be sure to have matches or a lighter on hand as well.
You can purchase bottled water, or store your own, but be sure to respect expiration dates on bottles. Replace your water supply every 6 months to ensure that it is still fresh and safe for consumption.
Store 1 gallon per family member and pet, per day. Make sure you have a method for disinfecting water once that supply is exhausted.
3. Buy in Bulk
Buy as much as you can in bulk. Store bulk food items with seals in place to protect them from expiring.
Bulk items can be purchased at Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Amazon. Home Depot and Lowe’s stock items like toilet paper and bottled water.
4. Buy Food You Like
Emergency preparedness packs can be purchased online (as can military field rations) that are guaranteed to last for years. But do you think you want to eat like that for weeks or months at a time?
There are exhaustive lists of diet ideas available online, but think of things that do not require cooking, that you enjoy eating and can eat repeatedly, and that fill all of the basic food groups.
Don’t forget about dried fruits, nuts, canned meats, protein bars, canned vegetables and soups – and salt and pepper. A little flavoring goes a long way.
5. Plan to Plant
Add seed packets and soil to your stockpile list!
Ideally, you will already have a vegetable garden growing, but if not, you will want to start one. The sooner you can enjoy fresh foods again, the better.
6. Fresh is Best
Some fresh foods will last longer than others. Apples, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes are great examples. Put these on your last shopping list while you can.
7. Check Expiration Dates
It’s tempting to create a stockpile, pat yourself on the back, and forget about it. But it’s imperative that you periodically check the freshness of your food. Replace expired items with fresh versions.
If something is close to expiration, eat it and purchase a replacement. Don’t do all the hard work and then let it go to waste.
8. Don’t Forget Your Vitamins
Be sure to stock up on essential vitamins. Your diet will be limited to what you have on hand, so you’ll want to supplement where you can. Getting proper nutrition will help with your mood and motivation each day.
Think of creating your stockpile as an investment. The more time and effort you put in up front, the happier you will be when you dip into your investment.
Be realistic both when setting goals and with supplies that will keep you happy and healthy. Your health will be even more of a priority when you are falling back on your emergency preparedness kit, so don’t fall into the trap of stocking lots of junk food!
Good luck and Happy Prepping!
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