Emergency feeding is essential for many reasons. In the event of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and the like, having a food supply can guarantee the survival of your family until help arrives or until the roads leading to your food source are cleared. It's important to plan ahead and have at least a 3-day supply of food on hand. One of the most convenient types of emergency food is MREs, or “ready-to-eat meals.” These are already prepared foods that can be stored for years and then eaten without any preparation.
When using canned foods, they should be consumed within 3 or 4 days of refrigeration, unless they contain meat, poultry, or fish; in this case, they should be used within 2 days. To ensure you have options for cooking all of your family's favorite comfort foods, as well as simple “heat and eat” convenience foods, it's important to maintain a food balance for every type of food in your pantry. Additionally, smaller boxes or bags can make it easier to move emergency food and pack it in the trunk of a car in case you need to evacuate or move to another location. When planning for an emergency, it's important to emphasize survival, energy and hydration (water).
Storing food in a cool (room temperature), dry and dark place will ensure the best shelf life. Dispose of homemade canned food or food in glass jars, open or not, that have become soiled by flood waters. Adding additional food to your regular inventory, especially canned food, can be an effective way to increase your emergency food supply while minimizing waste and excessive costs. Improper handling of fresh food can also change the safe storage time of food, regardless of packaging dates.
To avoid accidentally using your emergency food supply as part of your normal food supply, it's important to reserve a specific emergency food supply. When selecting emergency foods, prioritize those that do not require refrigeration, little or no preparation or cooking, and little or no water. A 3- to 5-day supply of food and water can be stored in a relatively small area to provide some security in the event of a disaster and the resulting loss of water, gas and electricity. Prefabricated kits are also available if you want to increase your long-term food supply with one product at a time.
Nowadays, with supply chain shortages and global uncertainty, it's recommended to have at least 3 to 4 weeks worth of emergency food on hand. The amount and type of food you store will depend on the members of your household, their preferences, their special health conditions, the ability to use food in an emergency, and the space available for storage.