November 18th is Winter Awareness Day, so this is a good time to start thinking about your personal or family disaster plan. Assembling a disaster kit is an important step in the planning process, and it should include a lot more than simply food and water. Your kit should include supplies for everyone in your house, including your pets. See the document, Recommended Contents for Family Disaster Supplies Kit for more suggestions about first aid supplies, clothing, water, tools, and documents to include in the kit.
Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking, and little or no water. Stay away from commercially dehydrated foods, as they can require a significant amount of water to prepare. Meal-sized canned foods are also usually bulky and heavy. Remember, you might need to carry this kit with you if you have to leave the house. Finally, avoid whole grains and pasta because preparation could be complicated under the circumstances of a disaster.
Recommended foods include:
· Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables (but don’t forget the can opener!)
· Canned juices, milk, and soup (if using dried milk, be sure to pack extra water)
· High-energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, and trail mix.
· Foods for infants, the elderly, or people on special diets if necessary.
· Prepackaged beverages in foil packets and foil-lined boxes are good because they are tightly sealed and will keep for a long time.
· Familiar foods can lift morale and give a feeling of security in times of stress.
Finally, check for an “expiration” or “best if used by” date on the products. If there is no date listed on the product, the general recommendation is to store food for 6 months and then replace.