When I was growing up, this time of year meant preparing for winter was in high gear. We usually bought a side of beef, and a similar quantity of pork. Mom began canning at the end of May, and by now we would have a large supply of fruits and vegetables stocked up.
Until I moved to the city, I didn’t give having a survival kit much thought; we were prepared as a matter of course. However, not only am I in a city, it’s a city in earthquake country. That means I need to put some thought into not only what I need for the kit, but what it’s put by in. I learned that the hard way. I had several jars of pickles in one cabinet that shattered all over the place when the quake hit. I still think there’s a lingering “eau du pickle” in that cupboard.
What foods you store should be chosen first on their ability to survive whatever the disaster is, but secondly it has to be stuff you like and you’re used to eating. It’s bad enough to have the problems facing you without adding food you hate.
Size and amounts should be determined by the size of your family and the available storage space. Someone living in a condo may not have room for large sized items or large amounts of supplies. Those who have a travel trailer can store more stuff if needed.
It’s important that your supplies have a long shelf life. Flour, sugar, corn meal, dried milk, rice, oats and beans can be stored in the freezer to prevent bug problems. You’ll also want baking powder, baking soda, salt, yeast, bouillon cubes and pasta. If you have room, consider adding coco powder, corn starch, brown sugar and lentils.
Canned goods can last a lot longer than dry goods. Most can last up to five years. You’ll want beans broth, tomato sauce, vegetables, tuna, chicken and evaporated milk. If there’s mushroom growing kit room, consider condensed soups, mushrooms and other fish. While they are neither dry or canned goods, oil, mustard and ketchup are good additions.
You may not think of your spice rack as being needed during a disaster, but many of the herbs and spices in it can double as remedies. The most important are garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, sage and peppermint. Whole cloves are also a good idea.
If you have a freezer, consider stocking a portion of it with the type of meats you and your family enjoy. We try to keep two weeks worth of food in it, though that isn’t always easy.
Don’t forget to look into the other aspects of these kits. You’ll want to have prescription and over the counter remedies available, emergency medical supplies, and lots of water. Space blanket are useful and they don’t actually take up a lot of space. Paper plates, disposable silverware and other necessities for eating and drinking should be stored and make sure you have an adequate water supply.
Flashlights are a must, and extra batteries are useful. A radio or other device will be vital, so that you can hear instructions and know what is going on. As the power may be out for some time, it, too should be battery operated.