Emergency Preparedness Kit Recommendations Compare Survival Kits

Maintaining Your Emergency Rations

A collection of items necessary to survive in the aftermath of a disaster

A collection of items necessary to survive in the aftermath of a disaster

An earthquake hits.  A category 5 hurricane leaves a coastal city demolished.  An ice storm takes down trees and power lines.  After a disaster occurs, your primary focus should be to first, assess the situation and second, move to a safe location if necessary.  Next comes securing food and potable water for you and your dependents.  Obtaining an adequate supply of food and water in a crisis situation could be at best difficult and at worst impossible unless you already have a supply of food specifically set aside for an emergency.   Most grocery stores operate on a “just in time” method of inventory control.  On any given day, a typical grocery store will inventory a supply of stock to last approximately three days; however, increased demand can render this three-day stock insufficient.  You only have to experience the rush on a grocery store when a snow storm is approaching to know that a three-day supply can disappear in hours.

The key to ensuring you and your loved ones have an adequate supply of life-saving food and water is to prepare BEFORE anything happens.  FEMA and Red Cross recommend at the very least to have a 72-hour supply of food and water stored away for each family member.  There are numerous types of emergency foods on the market which can make the task of building an emergency food supply complicated and time-consuming.  To simplify this task, we recommend you begin building your food supply with high-calorie, vitamin enriched food bars such as the ER 2400 Calorie food bar.  The ER Food Bar was formulated to contain 72-hours’ worth of calories and nutrition in one compact package that can be safely stored for up to 5 years.  3600 calorie food bars are available for those with higher calorie needs.  These bars are a convenient addition to bug-out bags and home, office or classroom survival supplies.

You can supplement the ER Food Bar with additional non-perishable food items as needed such as canned goods and preserved meats, but be mindful of expiration dates.  According to the USDA, canned goods do not necessarily spoil due to the commercial method of preserving food but they will lose nutritional value.  Low-acid containing canned food such as fruits and tomatoes should be consumed within 24 months for optimal taste and quality.  Low-acid canned goods such as meats and vegetables should be consumed within 2 – 5 years depending on the storage conditions.  Although studies have been conducted that show canned goods could potentially last for much longer than these guidelines, it is a good practice to rotate your survival goods and throw any cans away that are dented or rusted.   Consider adding Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to your survival supply.  Depending on the storage conditions, their shelf life can vary but MREs offer a diverse selection of food choices.  According to studies conducted by the U.S. Army Natick Laboratory, shelf-life on MREs can range from 18 months to 84 months depending on the temperatures at which they are stored.  Higher temperatures reduce the shelf-life while stable, lower temperatures extend shelf-lives.  For longer term survival, freeze-dried goods are available with shelf-lives ranging from 10 – 25+ years.  Be cognizant that many freeze-dried foods require water to rehydrate them.  Take into consideration this possibility when planning your emergency water supply.

The most fundamental need for human survival is fresh water.  Depending on the severity of the disaster, your home could be without potable water for several days or more.  Stores may be stripped of bottled water leaving you completely dependent on your emergency supplies.   An emergency water supply should contain 72-hours of water per person in the household.  This equates to about 1 gallon per person.  ER Water Pouches are a cost-effective and dependable solution for drinking water in an emergency.  Each Tyvek pouch is hermetically sealed to maintain the water’s freshness for up to 5 years.  Six pouches of ER water are all you need to keep a healthy person adequately hydrated for 72-hours. These pouches are easily stored indoors or outdoors in a bug-out bag or home survival kit and are a practical solution for drinking water.  Keep in mind store-bought water bottles have a limited shelf life especially when stored in an area that experiences wide temperature fluctuations.  On the website www.ready.gov/water, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends bottled water be consumed by its “use by date” which can range from 6 months to a year.  As with canned goods, these guidelines are subjective but exercise caution and periodically replenish your emergency water.

When faced with an emergency situation, drinking water is primary in importance, but you also need to consider a clean supply of water that can be used for cooking and cleaning.  For that reason, FEMA and the Red Cross recommend 1 gallon/person of water be stored for each person.  Consider keeping a 55-gallon drum of treated water outside your home or inside your garage or basement.  The water barrel sold on QK.com is specifically designed to block harmful UV rays from penetrating the barrel thus ensuring the safe storage of water both indoors and outdoors.  One bottle of Water Preserver Concentrate will treat 55-gallons of water for 5 years.   After 5 years, simply empty the water out of the barrel, fill it up with fresh water and retreat it to last another 5 years.

Disasters can happen anywhere at any time.  Don’t fall under the misconception that your area is immune to an emergency.  You will never regret being prepared for a disaster, but you will regret not preparing for one.  If your survival food and water are nearing their expiration dates, move it to your pantry and consume it.  Donate the ER bars to your local food pantry or homeless shelter and freeze the ER pouches to use as ice packs.  There is no need to waste money.  Just remember to replenish your survival supply.   Need advice on what you need to prepare your family?  Call us at 800-277-3727.

 

Sources

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/77ffde83-dc51-4fdf-93be-048110fe47d6/Shelf_Stable_Food_Safety.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

http://site.foodshare.org/site/DocServer/Food_Storage_and_Shelf_Life_Guidelines.pdf?docID=5822

www.ready.gov/water

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5 Criteria for Perfect Survival Food

survival food bar

Survival food is available is a wide variety of forms. For one person it may simply be stockpiling extra groceries. For another it may be buying cases of freeze dried food. But what happens if you are stranded in your vehicle or get lost hiking? What happens if you are out in your boat and can’t get back in? Those stockpiles of food won’t help you much.

What makes the ideal survival food?

A perfect survival food should meet these 5 criteria:

1. It should provide plenty of calories – The average adult needs around 2000 calories per day, give or take depending on age, gender and activity level. However, according to the U.S. Army Survival Handbook, 600 to 1000 calories per day are enough to survive with a minimal activity level. This level of calories will force your body to use its stores to keep you alive, which may not be a bad thing if you have a little extra around the middle.

2. It should provide maximum nutrition – Even if you have plenty of calories, 2000 calories of candy isn’t going to help you as much as 2000 calories of nutritious food. Your body needs certain nutrients to function properly. Deprive it of what it needs and you could have real problems.

3. It should be compact, easy to carry and ready to eat – If you are going backpacking or boating, you aren’t going to want to carry around cans or pouches of food, water to hydrate it and a way to cook it. You want something you can just throw in your gear bag and have it when you need it.

4. It should have a long shelf life – Ideally, you will want to keep emergency survival food in your car, on your boat or in your backpack. You don’t want to check it every couple of weeks to make sure it hasn’t spoiled.

5. It should taste good – Seriously, if your life depends on it, you may be willing to eat anything you have to in order to survive. But wouldn’t you prefer to have something you actually like?

This may seem like a tall order, but really it isn’t. ER Bars are the perfect survival food because each pouch gives you a 3-day ration of food that gives you enough calories to survive. It is easy to carry anywhere and is good for 5 years, even if stored in extreme temperatures (like in your car), so you don’t have to keep replacing it every few months.

ER Bars are nutrient dense so your body will get what it needs while you ride out the emergency. They actually taste good and it won’t make you thirsty. (Of course, you should also have some emergency water on hand – you can’t live without water.) And they are affordable, so it is easy to get a supply to keep everywhere – car, backpack, home, office, etc.

ER Bars are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, so you can feel confident with your purchase.

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72 Hour Bug Out Bag

A 72 hour bug out bag is designed for a person to get through the aftermath of a major disaster. It should contain items that will help you survive the most traumatic time immediately after a disaster, and each member of your family should have one ready to grab and go.

That disaster could be an earthquake, getting lost in the woods, having your car break down in the middle of nowhere, or even a disaster that causes you to be confined to your place of work or school. For this reason, it is wise to have a bag in several locations so you are ready for anything.

Each bag should have things you can use for shelter, fire, covering, light, hygiene and first aid. And of course, each bag should have food and water for three days.

Shelter

At the very least, your bag should have a tarp that you can construct into a tent. You can also find small backpacker tents that will fit the bill nicely.

Fire

Have several ways to build a fire. This can include a lighter, matches, kindling and a fire steel, or any number of other things. Practice making a fire so you know what to do in an emergency. A disaster situation is not the time to be learning new skills, so make sure your skills are already sharp when you need them.

Covering

Have extra clothing, including shoes. Also, pack a blanket. An emergency blanket is compact enough to carry anywhere but can be a lifesaver if you get chilled in an emergency.

Light

Pack a durable flashlight with extra batteries. Even better, pack two, just in case. Some flashlights have the ability for emergency signaling to let possible rescuers know where you are and that you need help. Consider getting a small emergency radio with a built in light as well as a flashlight.

Hygiene and First Aid

Pack various hygiene items including toilet paper, sanitary pads and hand sanitizer. Also pack at least a basic first aid kit. Make sure you are familiar with the items in the kit and know how to use them. Consider taking a basic first aid course.

Food and Water

Food and water is essential but you don’t have to try to pack full meals into your 72 hour bag. Meal bars are compact and provide the calories you need to survive. You can also pack sterilized water that will stay good for years so you won’t have to replace it often. Just pack it and know you will have what you need in an emergency.

Your Pack

Ideally, you will keep these items in a backpack that you can easily grab and carry. To simplify your preparations, you can purchase a survival backpack that already contains most of the items you need. Then you can customize as needed.

What would you include in your 72 hour bag?

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