72hour Emergency Food Supply: How to Be Prepared
Establishing a Food Supply
Establishing a food supply before an emergency situation arises is an important way to ensure your safety and well-being. Having a 72-hour emergency food supply provides you with the essentials you’ll need to make it through a few days. By having this food stored away, you’ll have easy access to meals and snacks when needed, should an emergency situation occur.
Let's go into the details of establishing a 72-hour emergency food supply:
Calculate the number of people in your family
Calculating the number of people in your family is an important step when establishing a 72 hour food supply. The number of family members will affect how much food you will need and the types of food you need should include enough to provide each family member with at least one full meal per day. This can be done by keeping a record of eaters in the household, including adults and children, as well as any special dietary needs that may be present.
Once you know the total number of eaters in your household, you can calculate how much essential food you need to purchase or make. This can include canned goods, preserved meats, nuts and seeds, rice or grain mixes, powdered milk and other shelf-stable foods that are easily accessible. Depending on the quantity needed for your family size and specific situation, it may also be beneficial to create recipes using some stored items for quicker cooking time such as dehydrated vegetables or fruits in combination with prepared seasonings or sauces that have a long shelf life.
When you’re ready to make your grocery list for purchasing items to store in a 72-hour emergency supply kit, it is important to consider whether there are special dietary needs within your immediate household; if so, make sure specific items accommodating those requirements are included. In addition to canned goods and dry goods as outlined above, items such as energy bars or mixes for other beverages like hot cocoa can help fulfill caloric needs through different textures and flavors that could offer additional nourishment during an emergency period where resources may be limited.
Check out our article on creating an emergency food supply for more information about calculating portions for specific households.
Determine the number of meals per day
When planning your emergency food supply, it’s important to consider the total number of meals needed. This helps you determine the quantity and type of non-perishable foods you will need for your 72 hour kit. As a general rule, people should eat 3 full meals per day plus snacks in between.
Since things such as hunger, comfort levels and moods may affect how much people eat, it is important to factor in some extra food for any extra needs or emergencies that might arise during the course of a disaster. A good measure is to have enough food for three extra meals per day than what you would normally consume which equates to roughly 15% additional non-perishable items into your emergency food supply.
The types of foods that should be included in the food supply should be based on nutritional value and shelf life while also considering personal preferences with special consideration given to pregnant women, young children and individuals who suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions or have special dietary restrictions. Nutritional balance is key when preparing meals so it is recommended to include:
- Proteins (such as canned meats)
- Grains or starches (such as rice or pasta)
- Dairy (which can include shelf stable milk products)
- Fats (such as cooking oils)
- Fruits and vegetables (which can encompass canned items)
- Snacks such as nuts, trail mix etc.
- Essential condiments such as salt, pepper, sugar etc.
All foods should also be commercially packaged and taken from a clean source free from contaminants or other sources of pathology if purchasing directly from a store versus being grown in gardens/farms. Careful consideration also needs to be given if storing high caloric energy drinks/bars/chews meant solely for life saving precautions rather than “luxury” motivating factors due its short shelf life timeframes compared others mentioned above.
Calculate the number of days you need to supply food
Calculating the number of days of food you need to supply for in your emergency food storage is an important step in making sure that you and your family have enough meals during an emergency. To do this, decide on a day count that is appropriate for your family's situation. It may be a good idea to start with a minimum of 72 hours, as this is often regarded as the baseline for home preparedness food kits. It is recommended that you have enough non-perishable food items in your kitchen so that each person can have at least one breakfast, lunch and dinner meal per day.
You should also make sure to take into consideration any special dietary needs within the family, such as vegetarian diets or a gluten-free diet. Furthermore, you want to ensure that all foods are non-perishable, meaning they must not require refrigeration since electricity may not be available during an emergency situation. Non-perishable items generally include canned goods like fruits and vegetables but it can also include dried goods such as oatmeal or dehydrated soups and stews.
That being said, it’s important to include plenty of variety when stocking up so everyone in the household does not get bored with the selection of supplies over time; When rotating them out, make sure to double check expiration dates so nothing gets tossed out prematurely!
Types of Food
When considering what type of food to include in your 72 hour emergency food kit, it is important to think about the long-term nutritional value, the calorie content of each food and the shelf-life of the items. In order to ensure you are getting the most out of your emergency supply, it is important to include a variety of foods in your kit.
Let's take a look at some of the most popular types of food that can be included in a 72 hour emergency food supply:
Canned foods are a great choice for an emergency food supply, as they are generally shelf-stable and easy to transport. They can also provide essential vitamins and minerals. When selecting canned goods, look for items labeled “low-salt” or “no-salt-added” that are free of preservatives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial colors, and other additives.
Consider adding the following to your emergency supplies:
- Canned vegetables: Choose vegetables with low sodium content and select fruits that have been packed in water or their own juice with no added sugar. Examples include corn, green beans, spinach, tomatoes (these can also be frozen!), peas, beets, carrots, asparagus spears and mushrooms.
- Canned meats: Look for chicken breast, tuna or salmon canned in water without added fats or seasonings – these products often contain lower levels of sodium than those canned in oil or those preserved with spices. Meat-based soups and stews can also be a good option for the prepper pantry.
- Canned beans: Look for a variety of canned beans like lupin beans (or “lentils”), garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), black beans and white beans – these should be rinsed thoroughly before cooking to reduce their sodium content even further. Consider adding bulgur wheat to your emergency supplies for additional nutrition; it cooks quickly by simply covering it with hot water.
Dehydrated foods are a great choice for an emergency food supply due to their long shelf life, lightweight, and ease of storage. Dehydration is achieved through the use of air or low heat to remove moisture from perishable food items. The result is a dry product that can be re-hydrated by adding water. Many varieties of fruits, vegetables, and meats can be dried using this method and they maintain a large percentage of the original vitamins and minerals found in the fresh produce item. Additionally, these dehydrated foods are lightweight and easy to transport if need be in an emergency situation.
Commonly used dehydrated food products include:
- Fruits such as apples, bananas or peaches
- Vegetables like carrots, potatoes or corn
- Grains like rice or oats
- Meats such as beef jerky or salmon
- Herbs and spices like garlic powder or Italian seasoning
When selecting items for your 72-hour emergency food supply make sure you consider the shelf life of each item. Generally speaking, dehydrated fruit will last up to one year if stored properly while dehydrated vegetables can last up to two years with proper storage conditions. Dehydrating meats requires special equipment; however packaged jerky stored at room temperature can last up to six months without losing flavor quality. Therefore it is important that you rotate your supply often in order to ensure freshness on your 72-hour kit items when needed most!
Freeze-dried food is a type of emergency food supply that has gained attention in recent years because of its nutritional value, convenient storage capabilities and long shelf life. Freeze-dried foods are made by freezing a product, then gradually reducing and removing the moisture in the frozen product with high-speed fans or vacuum-sealed methods.
The freeze-drying process helps keep the physical structure and flavor of a food when it thaws without any artificial chemicals or preservatives. Freeze dried foods can be stored for up to 25 years without special consideration, making it an efficient option for an emergency food supply. Some common freeze dried products are:
- Fruit and vegetables like strawberries, spinach, peppers and mushrooms
- Braised meats such as beef, pork or chicken
- Meals such as beef stew, chili macaroni or lasagna
- Basic proteins like eggs, with no refrigeration required.
For those preparing an emergency supply kit for 72 hours or longer periods of time, freeze drying is the preferred method for preserving food for long durations with minimal space requirements. In addition to providing a variety of meals and proteins that meet dietary needs in an instant form – perfect for casseroles or snacks on the go – they are also lightweight, making them easy to store even in remote locations. Freeze dried meals can easily be reconstituted by mixing them with hot water before you eat them.
Besides having an extended shelf life that makes this food item ideal for pantries or survivalist kits alike; these handy packs of convenience eliminate waste while providing delicious indulgences that even your pickiest eaters will love!
Storing Emergency Food
Having a stockpile of emergency food is essential for any home, car or RV. It is important to have enough food for 72 hours in case of an emergency. Storing emergency food properly is key to ensure that it does not expire or become contaminated.
In this section, we will discuss the best ways to store emergency food properly to ensure its longevity and safety:
Choose a cool, dry location
When deciding where to store a 72-hour emergency food supply, it is important to choose a cool, dry location. Ideally this should be away from direct sunlight and with a consistent temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Areas like couches or pantries that are exposed to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day may cause food stored inside them to spoil quicker.
The amount of available storage space can also be an important factor in choosing the right area for your emergency food supply. Careful coordination between the size, volume and expiration date of food items will ensure there is enough room in your storage area while still maintaining freshness and safety. When putting together your supply, be sure to periodically rotate older supplies out of your primary storage area before they expire.
An inventory list should also be maintained in order to monitor exact expiration dates for different items stored in the emergency food supply area. Checking in at least once every six months allows for adjustments if needed and keep an up-to-date record of the items included in the stockpile:
- Maintain a cool, dry location.
- Ensure enough storage space.
- Periodically rotate older supplies.
- Maintain an inventory list.
- Check in at least every six months.
Use airtight containers
When storing emergency food, it is essential to use airtight containers so that your stored food items do not spoil or become contaminated by water, animals, or even insects. During an emergency, these are factors that can endanger your health and make it difficult to get the nutritive sustenance you need to stay safe and healthy.
The right type of airtight container helps keep your food fresh for longer periods:
- plastic buckets for dry foods like grains, seeds and sugar;
- glass jars for canned goods;
- airtight bags for frozen items; and
- moisture-proof boxes for refrigerated/frozen items.
To ensure your food is not affected by any external contamination, it should be placed in a cool, dry environment such as a basement or basement-like area away from direct sunlight, water sources and any other conditions that can degrade the flavor or nutrition of the item.
Keep in mind certain foodstuffs should not be stored in airtight containers. Fruits (especially soft fruits like bananas) can spoil quickly when sealed away from oxygen circulation – they should be kept out in open bin storage systems with ventilation to allow proper airing before consumption. The same goes for canned goods – these should never be stored inside an airtight container if you want them to last past their expiration date! Lastly, note that while some foods like chocolate can remain fresh if stored properly in an airtight container and kept away from moisture and heat sources, other goodies such as popcorn kernels will suffer rapid degradation because they can easily be damaged by extreme temperatures or humidity levels once sealed within a non-breathable environment.
Rotate your food supply
Creating and maintaining an emergency food supply is an important part of being prepared for unexpected disasters or crises. It is essential to store non-perishable items that will not spoil and can be used in a power outage, extended absence, or during a weather-related event.
A good rule of thumb is to rotate your food supply every 6 months. This ensures the integrity of the food and prevents unnecessary waste. You don't want to find yourself with stale or expired items when you need them most, so be sure to check expiration dates on all items before consuming.
Storing non-perishable items in waterproof containers is recommended in order to protect them from extreme temperatures and humidity. Additionally, you should consider storing your 72 hour emergency food stash in an accessible location that requires minimal effort if you need it quickly. If possible, store perishables such as
- dairy products
separately from already processed meals as these have shorter shelf lives and require refrigeration for optimal quality assurance.
Preparing for Emergencies
Emergencies can come in all shapes and sizes, from natural disasters, to pandemics, to power outages. As a result, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. One of the most important steps in preparedness is having an emergency food supply on hand.
Having a 72-hour emergency food supply is essential for any emergency plan, as it can provide enough food for your family for a few days if necessary. Let’s explain why this amount of food is necessary and how to properly put together a 72-hour emergency food supply:
Have a plan for cooking
In preparing an emergency food reserve, one of the most important considerations is to ensure that you have a plan for cooking. After all, it won’t do much good to have all of the supplies if you don’t know how to make use of them!
Your emergency preparedness plan should include basic information on cooking and food preparation as it applies to your 72-hour emergency kit. For example, what types of cookware are included? Are there utensils and other food storage containers available? Where will the cooking take place (e.g., outdoors on a fire pit or inside using a gas stove)?
Another critical consideration is to identify frozen or non perishable items in your kitchen that can be easily cooked during an emergency situation. These may include canned goods, instant meals, grains such as rice and couscous, and other preserved foods like nuts and dried fruit. Also consider how the food should be stored during and after use—canning jars may provide excellent long-term storage if they are properly sealed between uses.
Having a solid plan in place is one of the best ways to ensure that you are able to continue eating a healthy diet in an emergency situation. Additionally, having some knowledge about nutrition will help ensure that your family’s dietary needs are met in times of crisis. With just a little planning, you can help make sure that your emergency preparedness efforts will result in both peace of mind and delicious meals!
Have a plan for water
Having clean, safe drinking water available during an emergency is essential for maintaining your health and wellbeing. Storing an adequate amount of water is an important part of creating a family emergency plan, as even drinking and cooking will require the use of clean, potable water.
Your 72-hour emergency food supply should include a plan for purifying and storing several days’ worth of drinking water. It helps to research different methods like boiling or treating with bleach or iodine; plan to have at least two purification systems on hand just in case one accidentally spills or breaks. The American Red Cross recommends having one gallon per person per day; buy containers that can be stored in their original containers, such as gallon jugs specifically designed for long-term storage. Make sure you label them and rotate the supply regularly by replacing empty containers with fresh ones every six months or so.
Tools such as the Water Storage Calculator from ReadyNutrition can also help you determine just how much water to store and where it should be kept; this type of planning will help ensure that everyone in your household has access to clean drinking water during a crisis. Keep your 72-hour emergency food supply stockpiled with these tools so that you are prepared when disaster strikes.
Have a plan for sanitation
It’s important to plan for sanitation when preparing an emergency supply kit. Having access to basic hygiene products, such as soap and toilet paper, can be vital to health during a crisis. It’s also important to maintain proper waste disposal when using a sanitation kit. Having a simple system in place to capture and dispose of waste can minimize the spread of disease or illness during an emergency.
In addition, you should also have plans for clean drinking water for your family in case there is limited access to running water during an emergency. This may include having containers to store clean water that can be rationed out over several days or weeks if necessary. Your plan should include ways to purify contaminated water so that it can be used safely for drinking and food preparation.
Ultimately, having a plan for sanitation is about safety – both physical and mental – in situations where basic needs are not guaranteed. Planning ahead and stocking up with necessary supplies helps protect individuals from potential hazards and ensures that everyone is able to stay healthy and safe during an emergency situation.
When putting together a 72-hour emergency food supply, it is important to consider all aspects of the situation. You will want to make sure you have food that is easy to prepare, that is non-perishable and that provides a balanced diet. You will also want to think about where you will store the food and how long it will last.
These are just some of the considerations to keep in mind when creating your 72-hour emergency food supply:
- Food that is easy to prepare.
- Food that is non-perishable.
- Food that provides a balanced diet.
- Where to store the food.
- How long it will last.
Have a plan for medical needs
Having a plan for medical needs is an essential part of any emergency preparedness plan. In addition to the basic 72-hour emergency food supply, medical supplies and medications may also be necessary. Remember to keep a written list of all prescription medications and dosages, as well as over-the-counter medicines, that your family might need in case of an emergency. Make sure there is enough medication available to last for at least 72 hours. If possible, store these supplies away from the main section of your 72-hour kit in order to help elongate their shelf life.
If you or anyone in your household has any special medical needs (such as allergies or dietary restrictions), make sure you plan accordingly by including specific items in your 72-hour kit that address those needs (i.e., auto-injector pens or gluten-free food). Have a first aid kit readily accessible at all times and include items such as bandages, gauze wraps, adhesive tape, tweezers, antibiotics and other treatments for minor injuries. You should also consider stocking pain killers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for relief from discomfort caused by minor illness or injury.
Have a plan for communication
In the event of a natural disaster, it is important to have a plan for communication with family and friends who may not be in the same location as you. Though cell phones, landlines and internet may be down in disaster-affected areas, there are still methods of communication that can be used.
For instance, if you have access to any form of radio such as Ham Radio or Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), that can be used to communicate with other like-minded individuals who live near you or around the world. CBRS generally has the capability to send text messages while Ham radio is better suited for voice conversations. Having a plan in place prior to an emergency situation, such as a 72 hour emergency food supply kit, will help ensure you know how to communicate during an emergency.
Other options for communication include:
- Using basic hand signals – waving your hands out a window or making symbols in sign language
- Stringing up Morse code lights
- Writing notes with light reflecting markers
- Utilizing sea markers such as smoke signals and flares
- Using flags coupled with specific colors or patterns
Have a plan for transportation
Transportation is an important factor to consider when building a 72-hour emergency food supply. Having the necessary items stored in a backpack or container that you can easily carry with you will be beneficial if you need to evacuate quickly. When setting up your food supply, be sure to consider enough non-perishable items appropriate for you and your household. Try packing items like protein bars, trail mix, beef jerky, and canned food into resealable containers or bags so they’re easy to grab-and-go when needed.
In addition, find out ahead of time if there are any transportation options available like buses or trains should you have to relocate quickly. Research different routes and investigate what type of tickets are available as well as their cost in order to have this information handy before an emergency arises. Being prepared with a plan for transportation can make all the difference in whether or not disaster seems manageable in the moment.
To ensure you’re prepared, consider the following:
- Research different transportation options.
- Investigate ticket types and cost.
- Pack non-perishable items into resealable containers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What is a 72-hour emergency food supply?
A1: A 72-hour emergency food supply is a set of food and supplies that can sustain a person or family for three days in the event of an emergency.
Q2: What should be included in a 72-hour emergency food supply?
A2: A 72-hour emergency food supply should include non-perishable food items, water, a manual can opener, and other essential items like a first aid kit and a flashlight.
Q3: How often should I check and update my 72-hour emergency food supply?
A3: It's a good idea to check and update your 72-hour emergency food supply every six months to make sure it is still fresh and the supplies are up-to-date.