Quick Tips for Planning Your Emergency Food Stash

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As much as I’d like to deny it, I’m a steadfast camper in the Imagine the Worst-Case Scenario Camp. Every time I drive over one of the Bay bridges, I can’t help but think, “What if I suddenly loose control of the car and careen over the guard rail into the shark-infested waters?” (Anyone else with me on this one?)

You can probably imagine how my mind reeled when we recently had not two, but three minor earthquakes here in the Bay Area. What if I get trapped in the rubble of our apartment? What if I can’t remember Sam’s phone number? What if someone tries to break in and steal our food? With the news of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Peru, these questions became more urgent.

I know I can’t live my days worrying about the big one. I also know that it would be foolish to shrug aside the possibility of a natural disaster and not be prepared. We already own two small earthquakes kits complete with 2400 calorie bricks…err…bars and water in plastic packets, but I thought it would be good to round out our emergency food supply with things I would actually enjoy eating.

My main goal while picking out food was to only buy food that we wouldn’t mind eating anyway. This meant skipping the Vienna sausages and Chef Boyardee ravioli in favor of lentil soup and chickpeas. When I got home, I made a list on Excel of the emergency food and expiration dates. I’ve posted this list inside a kitchen cupboard, and we’ll eat the food that is nearing expiration and replenish accordingly.

earthquake kit

Quick Tips for Planning Your Emergency Food Stash*

  • Buy food that you actually like eating
  • Buy low-sodium food because you should not eat items that increase thirst
  • Include comfort food items (e.g. cookies)
  • Create a list of your emergency food items and replenish as the foods expire
  • Visit 72hours.gov to learn how to built your own emergency kit

72hours.gov recommends having at least a 3 gallon supply of water for each person in the household. Last week I bought 2 (2.5-gallon) jugs of water from Safeway and would like to buy a reusable BPA-free water jugs, such as this one from REI.

In addition to food prep, I also solidified my emergency meeting spot with Sam and created a list of our family members’ phone numbers. I printed it out and put it with our earthquake kit, and my brother put it on a shared Google doc for all of us to access online. I’m also working on memorizing important phone numbers; so far I know Sam’s, my mom’s and my dad’s. It’s crazy what the speed dial function on my cell phone has done to the number of phone numbers I have memorized.

Whew! That’s a lot! What are you doing to make sure you’re prepared if there’s an emergency? Any quick tips I should add to my list?

*Please note: This list is not meant to be your primary guide for preparing for an emergency. For a more comprehensive guide to emergency preparedness, visit a site such as 72hours.gov, FEMA, or The American Red Cross.


One Thought on “Quick Tips for Planning Your Emergency Food Stash

  1. Crescent on November 12, 2011 at 9:38 PM said:

    Andrea, thank you for this important information. I think that is really smart to not only have food prepared but numbers and meeting spots as well. And yes, I totally have those moments of thinking, “maybe I’ll drive off the edge” and also “what would I grab if there were a fire?” Not pleasant thoughts, but as you’ve pointed out, important ones to address.

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