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Planning for your emergency supplies needs

Planning for your emergency needs is an ongoing process and should be incorporated into your overseas household routines.

The three basic questions to answer when setting up your emergency supplies are:

  1. Where will you store your supplies?
  2. How much water will you need?
  3. How much food will you need?

Since you don’t know when an emergency (such as an earthquake) might strike, you should put together emergency kits for your home and car. Your home kit will be more comprehensive and your car kit should be in one container and easy to take with you if you need to leave your vehicle.

For your home kit, assemble the essential food, water and dry goods supplies to provide for a period of at least three days. Keep this kit in a location that can be quickly accessed (e.g., master bedroom, storage space on the ground floor of your home or in a storage space outside of your residence but still on your property). Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept and what is in it!

If your space allows for it, you can set aside supplies to shelter in your home for up to two weeks. To better estimate the food supplies you will need, check out the food storage calculator at http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blcalculator.htm and the article entitled “How to calculate supplies needed for a Hurricane/Typhoon/Cyclone.”

Think about your family members’ preferences and nutritional needs as you purchase and store food supplied. Familiar foods are important since they can improve morale and contribute to a sense of security during a crisis. Think about storing foods that are high in calories and nutritional value. Purchase foods that require no refrigeration, water, special preparation, or cooking. One helpful resource to assist you with meal planning is the Emergency Food Pyramid from the Ohio State University Extension.

When identifying a storage point for your food, try to find a dry, cool spot—a dark area if possible. Be sure to set aside additional plastic bags and containers to store perishable foods, such as cookies and crackers. You should also have screw-top jars to store products such as sugar, dried fruit and nuts so that you can safely store them even after their packaging is opened.

You should plan a regular time and date to check your food stores. An easy reminder is when changing to or from daylight savings time. When checking your food, throw out canned goods that become swollen, dented, or corroded. Also, be sure to 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.

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