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Prepare Your Pantry for an Emergency

In light of the recent Earthquake magnitude 7.7 off the coast of British Columbia and the ongoing Hurricane Sandy, we offer this advice to prepare your pantry.

When an emergency strikes, many people realize that they don’t have enough food and water supplies to last until help can arrive, or until electricity, water, and transportation are restored. It’s easy and inexpensive to assemble an emergency food supply that will be ready when you need it.

According to the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, you should have enough food and water for each member of your family to survive for three days (72 hours) without assistance. Do the math before you put your food supply together. For example, a family of four will need a total of twelve meals.

Think about the specific needs of each family member. If you have an infant, include canned or powdered milk in your emergency food kit, even if you are nursing. Is anyone in your family diabetic or on a reduced-sodium diet? Make sure that your supplies include foods that are healthy and safe for them.

Keep a manual can opener in your food supply kit. You don’t want to have to go searching for a can opener in the middle of an emergency.

Remember that pets are family members, too! Stock your kit with a three-day supply of food for each pet, and make sure you have enough water for them as well.

Even if you have a propane camp stove for emergencies – a great investment! – your options for heating and preparing meals will be limited. Before you can “just add water,” you’ll have to boil water from your supply, and washing dishes uses up water, too. Often, it will be easiest to eat meals directly from the can.

Emergencies are stressful, so choose comforting and familiar foods that you’ll enjoy. If your kids think of canned pasta as a special treat, include some in your emergency food kit! If your supply includes a variety of appealing choices, you’ll keep a positive frame of mind as well as a full stomach.

Once you’ve put your emergency food supply together, make sure you keep it up to date. Even canned and non-perishable foods have expiration dates. FEMA, the United States’ emergency management department, advises that canned fruit, vegetables, soups, and meats should be eaten within one year of purchase. Freeze-dried and dehydrated meals can last much longer – up to 25 years.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be well-fed through any emergency!

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