An emergency food supply doesn’t have to sit on a shelf, ready for disaster to strike (although it can). It can be part of the food you use every day. The key to a good food storage plan is to buy ahead of time. Replace items before they run out. Buy items when they are on sale. A large duffle bag or plastic tub with a lid makes a great storage place for an emergency food supply. Make sure your family, including pets, will have what they need when disaster strikes.
Have an emergency food supply that will meet the needs of your household for three days without outside help.
Have a three-day emergency food supply
It’s a good idea to have enough nonperishable food in your home to last at least three days in the case of an emergency that may cut off power or your ability to go out and get food. Three things to think about when choosing these types of foods are:
- Balance – Select foods that provide sufficient calories and can satisfy dietary choices or restrictions. Have multivitamins available, as fresh and highly nutritious food may be hard to come by in these situations. Also be sure to include any comfort foods you may like.
- Usability – Choose foods that can be prepared without heating, cooling or lots of water.
- Shelf life – Select foods with a long time before expiration and replace them after the date passes.
If you are an on-campus student, you may be dependent on the dining halls for your meals. In the event of an emergency, dining hall service may be impacted, so it is a good idea to have three days worth of nonperishable food in your room.
Take steps to make sure food in your refrigerator and freezer will stay fresh
When the power goes out, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors shut. Food will remain safe in a closed refrigerator without power for about four hours and in a closed freezer without power for one to two days. If you’re in doubt about whether a food is safe to eat after power is restored, throw it out. Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time.
If you are an on-campus student that has food in a minifridge, keep an eye on the safety of any perishable foods you may have in there.