Setting aside a stash of food is a great way to be prepared for emergencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends storing enough food and drink for three days, but survival experts often recommend that you set aside enough provisions to last a week so you’re prepared for the worst possible situation. Focus on food that provides a balance of nutrients that can last a long time and occupies as little space as possible.
- Find a cool, dry, dark area for your emergency pantry. Basements are great choices as well as large closets and garages.
- Measure and record the exact size of your storage space. Before you can decide what to store, you must be realistic and determine exactly how much space you have to devote to food storage.
- Arrange the space for easy access. Plan where the water bottles will go and boxes or bins will be put. Install shelves if necessary.
- Water is the thing only necessary drink you need.
- Store the water first. The human body can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. FEMA recommends aside one gallon per person per day. This is a lot of space to keep in mind if you are going to create a long-term reserve. Also set aside purification tablets, a gallon of bleach or a portable water purifier, like those used by backpackers.
- Stored carbohydrates. At the time of a crisis, you will recover most of your calories through carbohydrates such as grains, pasta and rice. Store carbohydrates in large quantities as they should make up 50 to 60% of the foods you keep in your warehouse.
- Store canned meat and beans because they are excellent sources of protein with lasting flavor. Protein bars are also a useful source of protein and other dietary needs. Proteins should assume about 25% of the stored food.
- Supplement with dehydrated milk, powdered eggs, dried fruit and vegetables, prepared foods or dehydrated food. All are ideal long items to save space. Include dried beans to the extent permitted by the space, occupying less than canned, but the downside is you have to use water for cooking.
- Set aside salt, pepper, garlic powder and sugar or sweetener as a replacement for it. Add your favorite spices. Tasteless food can be demoralizing. Also include olive oil or sunflower oil to add flavor.
- Put in a box tools and basic utensils to prepare food, and store them with emergency food supplies. Make sure you have a can opener, eating utensils and a cup. Also stores a gel fuel stove or butane fuel reinforcements.
- Put water in a large plastic barrel with a pump, 5 gallon jugs, one-gallon jugs or individual bottles, whichever best suits the space you have available.
- Add the bags of rice, dried beans or packages of dried or vacuum-sealed food containers. Keep them safe from bugs and insects by putting them in metal containers with sealable lids.
- Organize cans and jars on shelves, lined by type and with labels facing forward for easy rotation.
- Switch out items regularly every time you buy more. This will prevent spoilage.
Tips & Warnings
- Fully pre-cooked meals are available online and in supermarkets. They are more expensive than store staples but are simple, tasty and an “all-in-one” solution. They come canned, vacuum-packed and usually have an expiration date of more than a decade.
- The food will not do much if you have the crucial medication for chronic conditions. Store small supplies of essential medicines next to your food supply for the long term, rotating them with new ones when you renew your prescriptions.
- Do not store cans with large dents or deep near the opening. Dents may compromise the seal of the can, allowing the food to spoil.