Tips To Be Prepared For An Emergency
You never know when you could be caught in an emergency. Last year Texas saw a power outage affecting millions of people. Being prepared can definitely help alleviate some stress both now, and if an emergency does arise. We’ve done our research to find what experts say are the most important things to remember and to have on hand. These include tips for short-term emergencies, as well more long-term situations.
Experts suggest that it is a good idea to have 3 month’s to a 1 year’s supply of basic foods on hand. Especially if you have a large family, that can be a lot of food!
Start out by buying a little extra each time you go to the grocery store. Instead of buying 3 cans of green beans, buy 6, buy 4 cans of tuna instead of 2, and so on. Before you know it, you will have several weeks’ worth of the food you use regularly. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure and rotate your food. By putting your new cans in the back, your old ones will get used first. Your extra storage doesn’t help if it is all expired. There are some great products out to make this easier. Can organizers automatically rotate your food. Tiered shelves help you to see what you have.
Longer term food storage can be quite daunting. When purchasing canned foods, make sure to check expiration dates, and don’t buy more than you will use before it expires. Believe it or not, there are a lot of food options that, when packaged and stored correctly, can have up to a 30 year shelf life! Some brands to check in to are Augason Farms, Nutristore, and Mountain House, as they offer large, #10 cans of freeze-dried food. Other companies like Readywise have bulk items in premade kits. Mountain House also sells single serving pouches. Think about investing in a shelving unit to store your long-term food storage in. You could also get creative and store your cans and buckets in the back of closets and under beds.
Water is a basic necessity, but can be the hardest thing to store. Experts say that we need 1 gallon of water per day, per person for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. Buying an extra case of bottled water, or a jug of water, each time you go to the store is a good idea, so you can keep some on hand. For longer term needs, consider purchasing water storage containers that can hold several gallons. There are lots of products out there to help make water clean and safe to drink. Water purification tablets, or water filtering devices such as Life Straws, and water filtering bottles are a must.
The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2019 reminded us how important hygiene items can be. We are NOT saying to hoard cases and cases of toilet paper, however having some extra stocked up is definitely a good idea. If you have a large family, consider ordering in bulk from Amazon. You will also want some body wash or bar soap, shampoo and conditioner, feminine hygiene products, hand soap, and toothpaste. First Aid supplies are also super important.
Most of us have gas or electric cookstoves. These may not be usable in some types of emergencies. Outdoor propane grills or camping grills are a good option to use to make a meal. The good thing about these is that you probably use the equipment as part of your regular cooking. We have an outdoor fire pit that my kids love to make smores on. Purchasing a campfire grill to go on top would make it easier took other things on it as well. Other options are solar ovens, canned heat, or cooking on top of a wood stove, if you have one. Whatever way you decide to cook, don’t forget to have matches or lighters on hand to start your fire.
In some cases, such as natural disasters, it may be necessary for you to leave your home quickly. Put together a bag of items (backpacks work great) that you might need for a few days, in case you don’t have time to grab anything else. Here are some ideas of what to include.
- A change of clothes
- Diapers, formula, and bottles, if you have a baby
- Food that is not too bulky or heavy to be carried and is easy to make such as tuna pouches, granola or protein bars, freeze dried fruit, peanut butter, crackers, jerky, Mountain House Pouches and even MREs (don’t forget to rotate this food regularly)
- Eating utensil
- Small First Aid Kit
- Water or water filtration device (remember the recommendation is 1 gallon of water per day, per person
- Emergency Blanket
- Emergency tent
- Multi-purpose tool
- Waterproof matches or Lighters
- Rain poncho
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Small hygiene items such as hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, Chapstick, feminine hygiene products
- Toilet paper (take the roll out of the middle to save space in your pack)
- Small brush or comb
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Crank radio
- Important paperwork
With so much to consider, it can seem impossible to stock up all you many need if emergency strikes. Remember to start small. See if you can find a few dollars a month in your budget to go towards the items you think you will need most, and work towards your goal.
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