Emergency food is basically the food stored in case of emergencies. In a world where disasters can occur without warning, there is that possibility that you and your family may be cut off from your food source. With this in mind, there has to be food stockpiled in the pantry that may or may not need cooking or refrigeration (for emergencies that can possibly cut off power supply). Your day to day food – like oats or meat or canned beans – can be considered as emergency food; only that these foods may need to be consumed at different periods during an emergency, depending on their shelf life. Emergency food can also be in the form of food grown from your own backyard. In an event of financial crises, crops cultivated by your own hand can not only feed you and your family, but it can also provide a good source of income.
Emergency food is important for several reasons. It is important because in the event of calamities such as floods, hurricanes, and the like, these can ensure your family’s survival until help arrives, or until the roads to the family’s food source clears up. When disaster strikes, having emergency food ready can put your family’s minds at ease, knowing that they can be nourished even if they don’t have access to the grocery, supermarket or farm where they get their food source. Keeping the stress levels low and being able to stay calm during an emergency is essential to be able to make sound decisions – especially on the next steps to be done – and staying calm meant to be contented and secure with one’s well-being.
Emergency food is also important to maintain financial stability during disasters or calamities. Keeping your pantry stored is also one way to save money in times of emergency. When there is a disaster, often people will be in a panic-buying mode, which may lead to increase in prices and decrease in supply. When you have something saved up for times like these, you are not only assured of your health, your funds on hand to purchase other necessities. Even in cases such as financial crises, emergency food on hand can allow your family to temporarily channel your funds in other basic needs.
The first thing to do before creating an emergency food supply is to assess the geography of your home and neighborhood. If your house rests in the tornado alley, it would be best if your emergency food supply is situated in a secured basement room, but this is not the case for those whose residence lies in flood-prone areas. Those whose neighborhoods are susceptible to floods may opt to store their emergency stocks as high up as possible, so that in case of floods and the family is stuck on the roof, your food is still within reach.
Next thing to consider is the needs of your family. Are there infants needing special foods and medications? Are there family members who have allergies to certain types of foods? An emergency supply needs to cater to the needs of all the members of the family. Are there members of your family who may have preference over certain types of food? It is important, that aside from food security, that your family stays calm and collected over disasters, and usually they prefer comfort food over everything else when they are stressed.
The next step in preparing an emergency supply is to take a look in what you already have. Usually a week’s worth of groceries may have some cans left to store for these purposes, and it is best to have an inventory of what is already there to be able to purchase what is really needed and limit the purchase on what is already available. FEMA lists down in page 4 the foods that could be stocked for emergency preparedness purposes and how long they would last while stocked.
When stocking food, always take in mind the food containers and secure those whose containers are either susceptible to raiding pests or prone to damage when calamities occur. Plastic covered foods may be stored in airtight containers and canned goods should also be inspected for signs of damage. It is also advisable that emergency foods are stored in cool, dry places in order to last longer.