It's good to think of the future, especially where disasters and temporary setbacks occur. Organizations from the Red Cross to the federal government recommend keeping a bugout bag handy if you need to escape your home in the event of an emergency and live elsewhere for a few days. But sometimes a catastrophic event demands that you and your family shelter in place and wait until things settle down. Hopefully, you’ll already have first aid, a means of warmth, and other survival stuff set up, but have you arranged for your eating and drinking requirements? Here are some of the best ways to store emergency food and water supplies.
Clearly, you need to ensure you have a good source of clean water no matter what. Disasters can lead to impure water that requires boiling—that is, if you can get water at all. The best rule of thumb is to store a gallon of water a day for each person in your home. Three days' worth is a good start, but if you have the means and room, store a two-week supply, adding more depending on the climate and whether you have any pregnant or ill people in the house. Bottled water is fine, but you’ll save money by purchasing a large, sealable plastic drum you can refill as needed.
Before filling it, however, clean and sterilize it with a bleach and water solution, then rinse and dry it thoroughly. Afterward, keep your water in a cool, dry place to prevent the growth of mold or algae, and never contaminate it by touching it. Finally, replace the water every six months (after another thorough cleaning, of course).
Buying and Storing Foods
While there are plenty of survival food multipacks for sale featuring canned and dehydrated dishes of all kinds, keep in mind that part of survival is dealing with boredom. Along with all those dehydrated breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, mix in some nutrition- and taste-fulfilling favorites like peanut butter, nuts, dried and canned fruit, granola, protein bars, soup, chili, and a smattering of seasonings.
These are all easily kept in your pantry or on shelves or a similar raised area in the basement. The key to preservation, however, is to find a cool, dry place that’s out of the sunlight. Also, consider protecting your food stores in a sealable plastic drum equipped with a liner or a bin with a cover to protect the food from mice, rats, or other vermin seeking a treat.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
When plotting the best ways to store emergency food and water supplies, don’t forget that some fruits and vegetables retain their freshness for a very long time. Prepare to break up the monotony of “just add water” meals with fresh produce. Apples can last for a very long time when kept in a cool, dry place like a basement or cellar, as can cabbages, carrots, squash, potatoes, and beets.