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When the storm Sandy hit the northeast, I suspected most people would blow it off as just another hard rain, but that was not the case. The storm hit hard and a lot of lives were lost in just a few short hours. Then, once the storm passed, survivor's now had to care for themselves until FEMA or other units could supply them with water, food, and other needed supplies. As I state in my book, 'Impending Disasters,' " Every state in the union has some natural disasters that are expected, but the overall impact of unexpected disasters is usually more severe. I suspect it's mainly because people in the area are not prepared, mentally or physically, for the type of disaster. Imagine the affect of a hard ice storm in Florida or a foot of snow in the Deep South. The population has little knowledge of those types of disasters and they quickly become life threatening. " Well, I live in the south, about 180 miles north of the Gulf and hurricanes are a twice yearly danger, so we're prepared for them. Sadly, the northeast was not, and they had few supplies on hand in most homes. I'm confused why they didn't have much food or water stored, especially since they knew days in advance the storm was coming.
I've discovered if you tell folks you store supplies for emergencies, they look at you as if you're some sort of gun crazy anti-government militant, which I'm not. I served in the United States Air Force on active duty for over 26 years and I not only love our nation, I support our local and federal governments. I may not always agree with who is in various offices, but we voted them in. However, Let's move on to emergency food storage and the need to be prepared before disasters hits. I feel it's just a matter of time before we have another natural disaster, so now is the time to prepare.
As soon as your budget will allow, start purchasing food items you can store long term in your home. Many people I know use plastic trash cans as storage containers, but you can buy storage shelves or waterproof containers if you wish. The key is to buy enough to survive on without breaking the bank, while hoping you'll never need or use it. Take into consideration the size of your family, try to plan healthy and tasty meals, and yet find foods that will have a long shelf life. Most foods that have a long shelf life are pasta and beans, but that'd get pretty old after a couple of weeks, wouldn't it? Yes, I mean weeks, because you have no idea how long your power will be out and perishable foods need a refrigerator or freezer.
During my military career, I had the opportunity to eat C-Rations, which are about the size of a tuna fish can, have about a 1/4 of an inch of fat or grease on top, and rather bland tasting. I know C-Rations had a long shelf life, because I ate some that were produced 30 years before I received them. Then, we tried LURP rations, which are similar to the dehydrated meals you can purchase today in most sporting goods sections. The problem with the military version of dehydrated meals was the taste. To me it was like eating oatmeal all the time, because that was the consistency of the mixture once water was added. I have no idea of the shelf life, because LURPS were soon pulled. Then came MRE's, meals ready to eat, but I wasn't crazy over them either and unless I could heat them up over a fire, they gave me indigestion. The maximum shelf life of MRE's is around 5 years if stored at 50 degrees. Well, given the options I've just stated, military food was out of the question for me.
Since I retired a few years ago, I've been researching and trying different foods offered by companies as survival food. Some are better than others, but that's to be expected, especially with the low cost foods. You want a quality food, with all the natural nutrients found in food prepared on your stove, reasonable cost, and available when you order. Another consideration is the space the foods will take and some foods are sold in huge containers, which won't do for me. Some of the firms I contact carried a variety of foods, but some were on backorder and would not be available for weeks, which was not acceptable to me. I then discovered food storage from Shelf Reliance and I like the site. Their food is freeze-dried to lock in the freshness, taste, flavor, and nutrients, and most can be ordered in number 10 cans, which is large enough to last for days, while not taking up too much space. They also carry a large selection of items such as grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat and beans, and even desserts and drinks -- with a shelf life of over 20 years if stored at optimal temperature. Keep in mind, you don't want to just run to the store and buy canned foods, because you'll need a balance diet and disaster and survival foods are made for emergencies. This type of food is designed to keep you alive until power is restored or help arrives.
When shopping for foods for emergencies, remember you usually get what you pay for when it comes to quality. You want the best you can afford, because your life may depend on it, and you want enough to keep your whole family alive for at least two weeks. You can store the food on shelves and most places that have the food have the shelving, or you can pack it in plastic garbage cans or containers made for survival storage. One of my prepper friends stores his survival gear under his bed and in the closet, but it works. The main thing is, he has the survival food he needs if a disaster should strike.
Images are from MEMA and used with permission.