Disaster Preparedness: Managing Your Supplies

Earthquakes, natural calamities, or some other catastrophic event has caused a power outage and limited water supply in your neighborhood. Planning ahead with the foresight of such events can help you prepare for your next move, especially when it comes to necessities such as food and water.

In times where food supply may come short, stocking up on resources such as food and water by making a reserve will definitely come in handy instead of sitting around waiting for help or services to arrive back on.


Setting up a food reserve can mean maintaining or storing enough food that can last for a few days or weeks, as well as food being easily accessible in times of need. The types of food you want to stock up on are the ones that require little handling or preparation.

Keep in mind as well special dietary needs your family may have, such as food for babies and meals that no one in the family may be allergic to. Include food your family is used to eating, even though they may have to cope with unfamiliar foods for survival.

Refrain from food that also makes you thirsty, as water may be of limited supply. The following are a few suggested selections to store when planning a reserve:

  • Canned and ready-to-eat meat, vegetables and fruit. A can opener as well.
  • Granola and dry cereals.
  • Dried fruit and canned juices.
  • Protein and chocolate bars.
  • Peanut butter.
  • High energy food.
  • Comfort food.

Sanitation Safety

The sealing and packaging from some of the foods listed above mean they can be stocked for a long time (a few years) thanks to the filling and sealing equipment used in placing these goods. Be aware of canned goods that have dents, leaks and have off odors when opened.

These indicate presences of bacteria and other organisms which may be harmful when consumed.  Food in refrigerators eventually become breeding grounds for bacteria when temperatures reach between 40 F and 140 F.

Some kinds of food may still be eaten, such as thawed frozen food, but when in doubt, it is best not to consume something you're not sure of. The proper storage of food should also be observed, especially with the lack of power and water supply.

Keep utensils and containers clean and keep food in covered containers. Discard food or water that has come into contact with dirty water. Food with an unusual look, smell, or taste should also be discarded. Aside from food, water should also be stored as well, as people can survive fewer days without water compared to food consumption.

A recommended plan for water storage can range from one to one and a half gallons for each person. Consider as well the other uses of water such as for dishwashing, bathing and brushing teeth.

Cooking and Managing Food 

Preparing food

Using alternative cooking sources such as candle warmers and even your fireplace can prove useful in times of blackouts and emergencies. When the power goes out, be sure to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed; the food inside will stay cold for about 4 hours if unopened.

Anything beyond 4 hours may be unsafe, especially fish, poultry, eggs and meat when exposed to 40 F for more than two hours.

Keeping a food and water reserve before emergencies can significantly help you and your family cope without the need for power or water supplies. Be sure to stock up, consider the different needs of your household, and use your reserves when the time comes.

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