In the event of a disaster or emergency, having a food supply on hand is essential. Natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and snowstorms can easily disrupt the food supply, so it's important to plan ahead and have a supply of non-perishable food that can last for at least three days. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a great resource for stocking up on food for emergency situations. Some people choose to have a two-week supply of food on hand in case of an emergency.
This food should be non-perishable and require minimal or no preparation or cooking, as well as little or no water. Canned foods are a great option, as are camping tents which provide compact and well-preserved foods. If you're in an emergency situation and can't make it to the store, it's okay to keep canned food past the expiration date. When preparing for an emergency, it's important to consider what type of disasters are most likely to occur in your area and what other types of emergencies you want to prepare for.
If you have special dietary needs such as food allergies, kosher or halal foods, or other dietary restrictions, you'll need to make replacements. Canned foods should be used within three to four days after refrigeration, unless they contain meat, poultry, or fish which should be used within two days. You can also increase the amount of staple foods you normally have on your shelves to create a two-week emergency supply. Military and camping supply tents are great sources of compact and well-preserved foods that are suitable for emergency preparedness kits.
Be sure to store your supplies in a safe place away from insects, rodents, and flooding. Your short-term prep kit should include food in addition to water, personal hygiene items, flashlights, blankets, and other essential items recommended for emergencies. Discard any homemade canned foods or foods in glass jars that have been exposed to flood waters.