We know it is important for you to feel safe in your own home, and we make that our top priority, but we also want you to feel safe in the middle of circumstances you can’t predict. When your family has a small food storage, you won’t have to panic every time the weatherman predicts a natural disaster. Beginning food storage is simpler than you think. Let’s dive into food storage basics because it’s an important aspect of all emergency preparedness.
Food Storage 101: How to Start Storing Emergency Food Supplies
You know that it is important for your family to have food stored in case of an emergency, but if you’re like the vast majority of people, you have never taken the time to build up a food store. Perhaps you keep putting it off, thinking that you’ll get to it later. Maybe you think it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to use stored food to provide for yourself and your family.
If so, you may be forgetting that even smaller natural disasters like blizzards and power outages can make access to grocery store food unpredictable. Something as simple as a trucking strike could leave the shelves in your community bare much more quickly than you might expect. You don’t have to have a doomsday in mind to realize that storing food for an emergency is a prudent idea.
Even on a much simpler scale, it’s really nice to have a store of food available in your home, in case you come upon financial hard times. Having a month’s supply of food can really relieve stress if someone in your family is laid off or if an unexpected bill has to be paid. These kinds of financial tight spots can happen to any of us.
So where do you begin?
Beginner tips for long-term food storage
1. Begin with a three-day supply of food.
The items you include in your initial food supply should be just enough food and water to last your entire family for three days. These food items should be stored in a place that is easy to access and in one or two containers that you could take with you if you had to leave your home. (Think duffel bags or backpacks.) Make sure that none of the items in your three-day supply require cooking of any kind.
2. Move on to a larger food supply.
Once you have your three-day food supply ready to go, gradually work your way up to larger supply of food. The goal should be to have anywhere between 1 and 3 months of food stored in your home. You don’t have to buy these items all at once, but when you are at the store, buy a few extra of the staple non-refrigerated items that you eat on a fairly regular basis. Don’t forget to buy water as well. Don’t worry about building this food supply up quickly, just be consistent and you will soon have everything you need.
3. Eat from your food storage.
This may seem counter-intuitive but once your supply is built up, eat out of your supply and replace the items you eat. This keeps your freshest food in your supply. You will constantly be eating from and refreshing your food storage, which means that the food in your storage will never expire. If you just built up your food supply one time and forgot about it, everything in the food storage would expire within 1 to 4 years. However, if you eat items from your food storage and replace them with new items purchased at the store, you will keep your storage supply up, but continue to push the expiration dates back. Here’s some great advice about eating from your stored food supply from the Utah State University article “Food Storage – ‘Use it or Lose It‘”:
“When you rotate stored foods, you will always be sure of high quality and flavor. When you buy new items, push previously purchased ones to the front of the shelf or storage area. Place the new items behind them. Do not let containers of food gather in your cupboard corners, on the bottom shelves or in back rows. Keep a written inventory so that use levels for each food item can be established. Then as items are used, stored foods can be replenished when they go on sale.”
4. Don’t forget these essentials.
Once you think you have a pretty good long-term food storage built up, check to make sure you have these essential nutritional items included. Fats, like vegetable oil, mayonnaise, butter or margarine should be a part of your food storage. Dry milk is an item that you may not be able to eat and replace because it just isn’t something most people incorporate into their normal diet, but it is definitely worth including in your food storage, even if you have to throw it out and replace it once every few years. Make sure you have a variety of dried fruits, dried vegetables and dried meats. In an emergency, you will want to have the same kind of variety of foods that you are used to eating now.
5. Optimal conditions for food storage.
When you are thinking about where to store your food, remember that you are going to need a place that you can access easily with enough space to store all the food and water that you will need for an extended period of time. Watch out for humidity which can be one of the biggest obstacles to food storage. A dry location with temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees is ideal for food storage. So, you should be thinking more along the lines of a cool basement than a hot attic. You should also try to keep food out of direct sunlight and up off the floor.
Important Considerations for Food Storage Beginners
You’re off to a great start, but there are a few important bits of advice we’d be remiss not to mention.
1. Don’t forget about your pets.
When prepping your emergency food storage, you don’t want to overlook these very important members of your family! Stash enough food for each critter in your clan for as many days as you have food for your Homo sapien family members.
2. Yes, water counts as food.
Dehydration is a serious danger in many emergency situations. If an earthquake destroys the water line or a blizzard freezes your pipes, you certainly don’t want to be without a fresh water supply. FEMA recommends storing “at least one gallon per person per day” and this will be used both for drinking purposes as well as things like brushing your teeth, cleaning wounds, and other sanitation needs.
Once you start the process of storing food, you will wonder why you ever put if off. It quickly becomes a way of life that is as simple as the other items in your daily routine, and it will give you real peace of mind to know that your family will be taken care of in an emergency.
If you want a home security company that cares as much about your family’s safety as you do, please contact us and we’ll discuss how to create a preparation plan that works for you.