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What Do You Need to Survive and Should Get Now

Updated on January 8, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

What supplies do we need to have in the face of any disaster?

  • Air
  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Security

Air in most situations is a given, though LA smog days and ozone red alert days are not.

Water, while bulky to store, is cheaply acquired today. And there are a number of options for long term water supply, from drilling your own well to installing rain barrels to using water filtration and the local creek. Shelter can be as simple as staying within your own home or throwing up a tent. Security requires vigilance and likely a firearm or other means of self defense. What is often neglected in preparedness or disaster planning is food. What should you do?

Prepare today to take care of your family in case disaster strikes tomorrow.
Prepare today to take care of your family in case disaster strikes tomorrow. | Source

Why Do We Not Have Enough Food Saved?

  • The typical full kitchen pantry may be emptied within a week of casual consumption. And most Americans go to the grocery store twice a week. In short, too many people have less food saved than they thought they did.
  • Any disaster, whether economic or natural, will disrupt the local food supply network. Going to the store won’t be enough in many cases, whether the roads or impassable or if the stores simply don’t have anything to sell.
  • The average American goes through a pound of food per day. When planning for food storage for an emergency, many people throw back a case of MREs or stack of canned goods and think that they are prepared. However, the volume they have isn’t enough to last very long.
  • The idea that you can replenish items by a quick rush to the store will be mimicked by thousands who have nothing at all saved. Anything not stored now might as well be forgotten unless you can grow it or others nearby are raising it.
  • Those who have food ample stored will quickly face demands from those who do not have food. Those who have will quickly be drained of what they do have. And this does not even take into account theft of food.
  • If you have stored food but your family won’t eat it or if you don’t have what you need to prepare it, it is essentially useless. Have a large supply of canned goods your family will eat and has a history of eating.
  • Food is a barter item. If you have significant food stores but overlooked other critical supplies such as water filters or sufficient alternate toilet arrangements, food will get traded away for what you do not have. This shortens the life of existing food storage dramatically.

Affordable Ways to Stock Up on Food

  • Stock up on survival food items that can be prepared in a power outage and with the limited supplies you have on hand. For example, buy survival food items that don’t require cooking so that you don’t have to build a fire and jeopardize your ability to remain hidden. If you live somewhere that has limited water supplies, buy survival food items that don’t require the cook to add water. For someone living in the desert, avoid survival food items that say “add hot water”. If you have water, you don’t want to have to add it to your food and having to build a fire causes your body to lose its limited water in the form of perspiration.
  • Buy canned food that your family eats, and then store it. Select items with a long shelf life and the greatest possible expiration date. Then store it in a location where it won’t be consumed by casual consumption. You can store flats of canned goods under a bed, in the bottom of a closet, in stacks in your attic, under a workbench or inside unused cabinets.
  • When selecting canned food, chose versions with the maximum calories and nutrition. Canned meats in oil are better than canned meats in water. Canned sauces with meat are superior to regular tomato paste. Choose stews with meat and vegetables over soups that are mostly water.
  • When selecting canned goods, save time and storage space by buying flats of canned goods you like or install first in, first out rolling shelves. Using flats simplifies storage and sorting by expiration date. First in first out shelves (FIFO) automatically rotate the goods so that the next in line to be used automatically roll to the front.
  • Hit discount grocery stores like Big Lots to find cheap canned meats, vegetables and even protein bars. Be careful of the expiration dates, since more of the products there are close to expiration. However, many items are there because they weren't popular. But they are cheaper than the grocery store and will sustain you when there isn't anything else in the pantry.
  • Grocery store and dollar store closings can be a great way to stock up on canned vegetables, simple baking mixes and starches like canned yams. Just be careful that the discounted price you are paying is still a good deal compared to the sale price of name brand items or standard price for generic items. A store closing selling items 30% off when normally 50% more expensive than the competition isn't a bargain.


Submit a Comment

  • tamarawilhite profile image

    Tamara Wilhite 4 months ago from Fort Worth, Texas

    Brenda Barnes Thank you for the praise.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    This is a comprehensive list. We probably have more than most people because we do not eat much prepackaged foods. For example we have a 10 pound bag of pinto beans, etc. I have saved containers for water but do want to install rain barrels.

    I think in an emergency people learn to eat for survival and not just for pleasure. Kids who would not touch a certain food will gladly eat it when truly hungry. I am grateful that mine will eat about anything except cole slaw and mayo.

    Thanks for your great tips.

  • ladyauthor47 profile image

    ladyauthor47 6 years ago from Texas

    I found your hub to be both useful and interesting. I would also suggest that if water is being stored that 3 gallons per day per person should be the math used to know how much a family needs just of drinking water.

    Thanks for SHARING