Shelter in Place

Emergency Food Supply

After a major disaster, it could be two weeks before roads are cleared enough for emergency vehicles to reach you or for you to evacuate your area. If water and power are not working, you’ll need to be prepared.

You may not need to go out and buy foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples on your cupboard shelves. Be sure to check expiration dates and follow the practice of first-in, first-out when you’re restocking your supplies.

As you stock food, take into account your family’s unique needs and tastes. Familiar foods are important — they lift morale and give a feeling of security in times of stress. Try to include foods that your family will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods that require no refrigeration, water, special preparation, or cooking are best.

Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular attention, as will babies, toddlers, and the elderly. Nursing mothers may need liquid formula, in case they are unable to nurse. Canned dietetic foods, juices, and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly people.

Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils. Don’t forget non-perishable foods for your pets.


Food Storage Tips

  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot—a dark area if possible.
  • Open food boxes and other re-sealable containers carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use.
  • Wrap perishable foods, such as cookies and crackers, in plastic bags and keep them in sealed containers.
  • Empty open packages of sugar, dried fruits, and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight canisters for protection from pests.
  • Inspect all food for signs of spoilage before use.
  • Throw out canned goods that become swollen, dented, or corroded.
  • Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker. Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.


Emergency Water Supply

  • Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency.
    A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day. People in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require even more.
  • You’ll also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least one gallon per person, per day. Consider storing at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you’re unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can.
  • To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it’s recommended that you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container, and don’t open it until you need to use it.