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How Much and What Types of Food and Water for Emergencies


Living in Earthquake Country requires a bit more attention to the possibilities of natural disasters than in other parts of the country.

How Much Food and Water?
If you’re someone who wants to be prepared for the major earthquake in our future, you’ve probably done something about having food and water available for you and your family. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Some disaster preparedness groups recommend having 3 days worth of food and water (1 gallon per person per day). I agree with the ones that say be ready for at least a full week, 7 days (think Katrina).

2.Except for the Premium Home Emergency Kit offered by The Disaster Supply Center, I’ve never seen an emergency kit that has enough water. You really need to supplement the kits with extra water.

3. The best plan for storing water is to use a food grade water storage container, sizes range from 2.5 gallons to 55 gallon water barrels with either a siphon or spigot, which you treat with 5 year water preserver so it will remain stable and last for up to 5 years.

Many people mistakenly believe that adding bleach to their stored water will keep it stable for 5 years. This is not true, in an emergency it will help purify your water for the short term so you can drink it but it will not stabilize water for long term storage. Remember bleach is not designed or approved for human consumption.

Another thing to consider is that the plastic used for water containers that is sold in supermarkets and other stores are not designed for long term storage and will start to leach into your water within the first six months.
You should replace your stored water every 6-7 months to avoid both leaching from plastic containers as well as bacterial build up.

4. Have plenty of long term foods on hand like 5 year food bars, MRE’s (5-10 year shelf life) and other similar foods with a 5+ year shelf life.
Most canned foods have a 12-24 month shelf life and need to be replaced often in addition they are heavy and not ideal if you have to move your supplies. Also most canned foods contain a high level of sodium and are thirst provoking, requiring a larger supply of available water. Go with the lightweight 5 year foods.
Starting off with food and water that have a 5 year shelf life is a lot easier than replacing these items every 6-12 months. However good our intentions are to replace these items once or twice a year.

Fortunately in Marin county people are able to take advantage of the GET READY MARIN training, provided by the local Fire Departments and volunteer Disaster Councils that help people understand what to do and how to prepare for earthquakes and other emergencies/disasters.

Supplies should be arranged, stored and located where personnel will be able to access the materials quickly and easily after a disaster strikes. Preferably in your car or in a shed outdoors. Supplies should be stored in backpacks, duffel bags and other containers with a high degree of mobility in case you have to move to another location.

The Disaster Supply Center offers a large selection of Emergency Kits for your car and home.

While most people think about the importance getting prepared, the majority know it’s a good idea and something that they should do but they don’t.
For some people it is an overwhelming task to assemble all the supplies they need and so they do little or nothing.
The Earthquake Supply Center is a one stop shop for getting prepared with all the supplies you need in one location. The people there are knowledgeable and able to advise you on a wide variety of subjects and preparedness needs. Check out their website at http://www.disastersupplycenter.com

Preparedness is an act of love.

The time to prepare for a major disaster is now.

Michael Skyler, Owner and Founder of the Disaster Supply Center

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