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How to put together a food and water Emergency Preparedness Kit for when an emergency arises

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Do you have an Emergency Supply Kit? What would you and your family need regarding water and food if a disaster happened?

In light of the disaster happening in Texas due to hurricane and tropical storm Harvey, now may be a good time to review your own plans for an emergency supply kit of water and food. You never know when an emergency could arise due to a natural disaster, perhaps an earthquake in our part of the country.

Chelan Fire and Rescue provides some excellent information on putting together an food and water Emergency Preparedness Kit with the most important necessities.

Reference credit Ready.gov.

How should I store water?

It is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water, in order to prepare the safest and most reliable emergency water supply. Keep bottled water in its original container & do not open until you need to use it. Observe the expiration or “use by” date. Store in a cool, dark place.

Preparing your own containers of water

It is recommended you purchase food grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores to use for water storage.

Before filling with water, thoroughly clean the containers with dishwashing soap & water & rinse completely so there is no residual soap.

If you chose to use your own storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles – not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk protein & fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers & provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers also leak easily & are not designed for long-term storage of liquids. Also, do not use glass containers, because they can break and are heavy.

Water

Water is an essential element to survival & a necessary item in an emergency supplies kit. Following a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Your regular water source could be cut-off or compromised through contamination. Prepare yourself by building a supply of water that will meet your family’s needs during an emergency.

To determine your water needs, take the following into account:

  • One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking & sanitation.
  • Children, nursing mothers & sick people may need more water.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.
  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.

Storing water in plastic soda bottles

Follow these steps for storing water in plastic soda bottles.

  1. Thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
  2. Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Mix the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
  3. Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water. Let the water stand for 30 minutes before using.
  4. A slight chlorine odor should be noticeable in the water, if not, add another dose of bleach & allow to stand another 15 minutes.
  5. Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it. Place a date on the container so you know when you filled it. Store in a cool, dark place.
  6. Water can also be treated with water purification tablets that can be purchased at most sporting goods stores.
  7. Water that has not been commercially bottled should be replaced every six months.

Food

Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies:

  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
  • Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

Suggested Emergency Food Supplies

The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

Food Safety & Sanitation

Flood, fire, national disaster or the loss of power from high winds, snow or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food. Knowing what to do before and after an emergency can help you reduce your risk of illness & minimize the amount of food that may be lost due to spoilage.

Without electricity or a cold source, food stored in refrigerators & freezers can become unsafe. Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 & 140°F, & if these foods are consumed, people can become very sick.

Do:

  • Keep food in covered containers.
  • Keep cooking & eating utensils clean.
  • Keep garbage in closed containers & dispose outside, burying garbage if necessary.
  • Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap & water that has been boiled or disinfected.
  • Discard any food that has come into contact with contaminated floodwater.
  • Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more.
  • Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • Use ready-to-feed formula, if possible. If this is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula.

Don’t:

  • Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat.
  • Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the can looks normal.
  • Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire & sanitation reasons.

NOTE: Thawed food usually can be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.” It can be re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals. To be safe, remember, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Cooking:

  • Alternative cooking sources in times of emergency including candle warmers, chafing dishes, fondue pots or a fireplace.
  • Charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only.
  • Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without warming.
  • To heat food in a can:
  1. Remove the label.
  2. Thoroughly wash and disinfect the can. (Use a diluted solution of one part bleach to ten parts water.)
  3. Open the can before heating.

Chelan Fire and Rescue

232 East Wapato Ave, Chelan, WA 98816

www.chelan7.com

(509) 682-4476

 

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