What to put in my disaster preparation kit

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by rhaswell79, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. rhaswell79

    rhaswell79 Guest

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    My friend is part of this group that stresses both man-made and natural disaster preparedness. After he talked to me about it, I realized I’m really not prepared at all. I live in California and don’t even have a plan if a big earthquake hit!

    I’ve decided to purchase canned food, supplies, and bottled water. I thought this had some good suggestions, as well as, this supplies. Right now, I’m storing everything in my garage; it gets to 90 degrees in there, so how long should I expect it will last before I have to throw it away and buy new? How often should I be replacing these supplies?

    “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” – John F. Kennedy
     
  2. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    Its not a good idea to "just store" a whack-load of stuff and wait till its needed. What your best bet is to create a giant pantry in your house - maybe use a spare-bedroom and line it with shelves and fill the shelves with dated-products where you write the purchase date and use-by date on the cans, bags, etc. Whatever you use from the pantry, you replace on the next grocery-run.

    IE: Purchase 1 case of tomato soup (if you like it) and when you use a can, write down on the grocery list "1-can tomato soup". The new can goes to the back of the pile with its purchase date and everything rotates forward.

    It is also a good idea to spread-out your supplies. If you go camping, setup your camping trailer with food, clothing, games - and always make sure that the water-tanks are refreshed regularly and that the propane-tanks are always full - which will allow you to hook-up at moments notice and leave the area (in case of fire, flood, earthquake, etc).

    Because it is winter-time here, my trailer is "winterized" having RV antifreeze filling the water-lines, but, otherwise, it is stocked and ready to leave if required or opened up if I need to live in it due to horrible weather conditions that would force me out of my house.
     

  3. Ideally the best way to store food is in a cool and dark place. It will spoil much, much faster if left in the garage's fluctuating temperatures. You can certainly get creative with space in closets, under beds, etc.

    Also, when you have your stores in a pantry like NaeKid said, you'll see it often and be able to rotate your food. You don't want to forget you have it stored and then have it go bad without the benefit of using it. When you eat what you store and store what you eat, that won't happen.
     
  4. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    It took me a while to learn about rotation. I lost a few jars of preserves to time. I keep up with it now.
     
  5. It's a tough lesson to forget. Glad to hear you're in your groove now.
     
  6. allen_idaho

    allen_idaho Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to storing supplies, this is what I usually do:

    First, and most importantly, I keep my supplies in a cool, dark pantry. This is important because it keeps the supplies from overheating. In addition to damaging plastics, the heat can also cause pressure to build up inside of cans and jars. When the pressure gets too high, the seal will break, letting in bacteria, or the can will explode.

    Second, keeping your supplies clearly marked is a very good idea. This will tell you how old it is and if you should rotate your stock soon.

    I usually buy water in 2.5 gallon jugs rather than individual liter or quart bottles. This just saves space and makes it easier to store larger amounts. You can store unopened water indefinately but I like to switch my old water out with new water every 3 years or so. I do this because I find that the longer you store water, the worse it tastes.

    Dry pasta noodles, shells, etc. I will keep for a maximum of 5 years. Although I've usually copletely rotated the old stuff out by then.

    Canned Vegetables I will keep for a maximum of 5 years. Again, I rotate the old stuff. Please note that if a can ever looks like it is bulging or damaged, just don't use it. For safety sake.

    Canned Soups I will keep for a maximum of 3 years.

    Fruits don't quite last as long. I will keep canned fruits for a maximum of around 3 years. But the older they are, you will begin to notice a significant change in taste and texture.

    Soda (I'm a big Dr. Pepper drinker) can usually be kept for 1-2 years. Although, the older it is, the flatter it will taste. But around my house, it doesn't last that long anyway.

    Bulk spices like Salt and Pepper, I will usually keep for a maximum of 5 years. I keep these in air tight plastic containers rather than the original packaging. It really increases the lifespan and keeps any sort of critter out.

    Sugar will keep indefinately. Just put it in a plastic container.

    Flour I will keep for a maximum of 3 years, although it gets used pretty frequently and rotated out fairly often. Again, I recommend plastic containers for this type of food.

    Beans and Lentils I will keep for a maximum of 3 years.

    Rice can keep indefinately. Although, I don't usually carry that much in stock.

    Now if you can keep a freezer running after chaos strikes, you will have a significant advantage. You can keep meats and vegetables frozen indefinately if you keep the temperature down to around 0 - 20 degrees.

    Other items like chocolate and candy are good for around 2 years. Although, if they heat up for any reason, they will get a white film on them or melt together. While they are still safe to eat, it is a bit annoying. So be careful when storing them.

    Popcorn Kernels or microwavable popcorn packages can also be kept for about 2 years.
     
  7. allen_idaho -- re: water tasting bad after 3 years, if you just aerate it by pouring the water from one container to another, it makes the water taste better in no time. We store our water in the big 55 gallon buckets. While water can keep for 5 years, we typically rotate every 2.

    A great way to store fruits and veggies in your storage is through freeze dried foods. These will last for 20-30 years in the #10 cans. Plus, freeze dried foods retain more nutrients in them than dehydrated or canned produce.

    An alternative to storing frozen meat is to can meat in Mason jars. In the event of a long term electricity outage, the items in the freezer will eventually spoil, so I have taken measures to can my meet in this case. Canning meat is done through pressure canning and is much cheaper than purchasing the pre-canned stuff from the store. Plus, it will last for up to 30 years if stored right. I have outlined the process on my blog if you want more info.

    Honey is also a great sweetener that will last forever.
     
  8. SOS.X

    SOS.X SNAFU...

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    Storage

    I would never store any food or emergency supplies in my garage, I’m guessing you have a garage door, not very secure, if the door were to be compromised you risk loosing part or all of your supplies, then you have to worry about pest problems, people seeing what you have (ever time you open the door you risk this), possible poisoning from your vehicles or chemicals you may store in your garage.

    You should store your supplies in a room on the interior part of your home, with no windows and a secure door. You want your supplies to be secure and readily accessible in the event you need them, your home is far more secure easier to control climate and pests. You are more likely to use and rotate your supplies if they are right at hand.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009