Monday, July 6, 2009

72 Hour Preps are just not enough

The old idea of having a 72-hour kit to sustain you long enough for the government to set up shelters is no longer considered being good advice. Recent disasters have proven that the only way to be prepared is to rely on your own resources, and 72 hours is not enough. The Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Agriculture state that if an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm or other disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for days, or even weeks.

By taking some time now to store emergency food and water supplies, you can provide for your entire family. Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.

You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene.

Store a total of at least one gallon per person, per day.

You should store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family, according to FEMA. If supplies run low, never ration water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

When Food Supplies Are Low

If activity is reduced, healthy people can survive on half their usual food intake for an extended period and without any food for many days. Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely, except for children and pregnant women. If your water supply is limited, try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and don't stock salty foods, since they will make you thirsty. Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

You don't need to go out and buy unfamiliar foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves. In fact, familiar foods are important. They can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress. Also, canned foods won't require cooking, water or special preparation.

Following are recommended short-term food storage plans.

Special Considerations

As you stock food, take into account your family members unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition; foods which require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking are best, since they are so easy to prepare.

Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular attention, as will babies, toddlers and elderly people. Nursing mothers may need liquid formula, in case they are unable to nurse. Canned dietetic foods, juices and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly people.

Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils.

And don't forget nonperishable foods for your pets.

Food Storage Tips

Keep food in a dry, cool spot - a dark area if possible. Keep food covered at all times. Open food boxes or cans care-fully so that you can close them tightly after each use.

Wrap cookies and crackers in plastic bags, and keep them in tight containers. Empty opened packages of sugar, dried fruits and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight cans to protect them from pests. Inspect all food for signs of spoilage before use.

Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker.

Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.

Nutrition Tips

During and right after a disaster, it will be vital that you maintain your strength.

So remember:

Eat at least one well-balanced meal each day.
Drink enough liquid to enable your body to function properly (two quarts a day).
Take in enough calories to enable you to do any necessary work.
Include vitamin, mineral and protein supplements in your stockpile to assure adequate nutrition.

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