Getting Started With Emergency Food Storage
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The world can be an unpredictable place, and emergencies can happen at any time. From natural disasters to economic crises, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. One of the most crucial components of any emergency preparedness plan is having an emergency food storage. This allows you to have a supply of food on hand in case of an emergency or disaster that disrupts normal food supply chains. However, starting an emergency food storage can be a daunting task, and there are many mistakes that people make along the way. In this blog post, we’ll discuss 10 common mistakes people make when starting an emergency food storage and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Setting Goals for Your Emergency Food Storage
One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting an emergency food storage is not setting clear goals. It’s important to have a plan for what you want to accomplish with your emergency food storage. Are you preparing for a short-term emergency or a long-term crisis? Do you want to have enough food to sustain your family for a few days or a few months? Setting clear goals will help you determine how much food you need to store and what types of food you should be storing.
Solution: Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your emergency food storage. Determine how much food you need to store based on the number of people in your household and the length of time you want to be prepared for.
Mistake #2: Not Considering Nutritional Needs
Another common mistake people make when starting an emergency food storage is not considering their nutritional needs. It’s important to store food that is not only shelf-stable but also provides essential nutrients to keep you healthy during an emergency. Many emergency food storage options are high in sodium, preservatives, and processed ingredients, which can be detrimental to your health in the long run.
Solution: When selecting food for your emergency storage, choose a variety of shelf-stable foods that are rich in nutrients, such as whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Consider adding a multivitamin to your emergency food storage as well.
Mistake #3: Not Rotating Your Food Supply
One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting an emergency food storage is not rotating their food supply. It’s important to use and replace your stored food regularly to ensure that it’s still fresh and safe to eat. If you don’t rotate your food supply, you may end up with expired or spoiled food when you need it the most.
Solution: Use the “first in, first out” (FIFO) method to rotate your food supply. This means that you use the oldest food first and replace it with fresh food. Make sure to label your food with the date you stored it and the expiration date so you can easily keep track of what needs to be used first.
Mistake #4: Not Storing Enough Water
Water is essential for survival, and not having enough stored can be a critical mistake. In an emergency situation, access to clean water may be limited or even nonexistent, so it’s important to have a supply of water on hand.
Solution: Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Consider storing additional water for cooking, cleaning, and sanitation purposes. Make sure to store water in clean, food-grade containers and replace it every six months.
Mistake #5: Storing the Wrong Types of Food
Another common mistake people make when starting an emergency food storage is storing the wrong types of food. It’s important to store food that is shelf-stable, nutritious, and easy to prepare in an emergency situation.
Solution: Store a variety of shelf-stable foods, including canned goods, dried fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, pasta, and other non-perishable items. Avoid storing foods that require refrigeration or freezing, as they will not be usable in an emergency situation. Also, consider storing foods that do not require a lot of water or energy to prepare, such as instant rice, oats, and soup mixes.
Mistake #6: Not Taking Allergies and Dietary Restrictions into Account
If you or anyone in your household has food allergies or dietary restrictions, it’s important to take those into account when starting your emergency food storage. Storing foods that could trigger an allergic reaction or cause a medical issue could be dangerous in an emergency situation.
Solution: Make a list of any food allergies or dietary restrictions in your household and choose foods that are safe for everyone. If necessary, store separate supplies for different family members to ensure that everyone has access to food they can eat.
Mistake #7: Not Having the Right Storage Containers
Storing your emergency food supply in the wrong type of containers can be a big mistake. Food stored in the wrong containers can spoil quickly or become contaminated, rendering it unusable in an emergency situation.
Solution: Store your emergency food supply in clean, food-grade containers that are designed for long-term storage. Consider using Mylar bags, airtight containers, or food-grade buckets with lids. Make sure to label your containers with the date of storage and the contents.
Mistake #8: Not Checking Expiration Dates
One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting an emergency food storage is not checking expiration dates. It’s important to regularly check the expiration dates on your stored food to ensure that it’s still safe to eat.
Solution: Keep track of expiration dates on your stored food and replace any items that are past their expiration date. Use the FIFO method to ensure that you are using the oldest food first and replacing it with fresh food.
Mistake #9: Not Considering Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and humidity can have a big impact on the shelf life of your stored food. If your emergency food supply is stored in an area that is too hot, too cold, or too humid, it may spoil or become contaminated.
Solution: Store your emergency food supply in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing food in areas that are subject to extreme temperature changes or high humidity, such as attics or basements. Consider using a dehumidifier or moisture absorbers to help control humidity levels.
Mistake #10: Not Having a Plan for Cooking and Preparation
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes people make when starting an emergency food storage is not having a plan for cooking and preparation. In an emergency situation, you may not have access to your usual cooking equipment or appliances, so it’s important to have a plan for how you will cook and prepare your stored food.
Solution: Consider investing in a portable stove or camping stove that runs on propane or butane. Make sure to store extra fuel for your stove. Also, consider storing a set of camping cookware and utensils, along with matches or a lighter. Practice cooking with your emergency cooking equipment so that you are familiar with how it works.
Don’t Make These Emergency Food Storage Mistakes
Starting an emergency food storage can be a daunting task, but by avoiding these common mistakes, you can be better prepared for whatever emergencies come your way. Remember to set clear goals, consider nutritional needs, rotate your food supply, store enough water, choose the right types of food, take allergies and dietary restrictions into account, use the right storage containers, check expiration dates, consider temperature and humidity, and have a plan for cooking and preparation. With a little planning and preparation, you can be ready for anything.