Storing Sustenance for Disasters

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Cruise
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Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Cruise » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:01 pm

Whether to protect against the impacts of earthquakes, hurricanes, or zombie attacks, it is probably a good idea to keep a store of food and water on hand to sustain a family for a few weeks. FEMA and the American Red Cross suggest the following: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf

For those of you who do store food, do you have a recommendation for a quality mail-order supplier who packages all the essentials in easily-stored boxes that last a long time?

Any other tips for storage and rotation?

Thanks!
Last edited by Cruise on Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dottie57
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:34 pm

Cruise wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:01 pm
Whether to protect against the impacts of earthquakes, hurricanes, or zombie attacks, it is probably a good idea to keep a store of food an water on hand to sustain a family for a few weeks. FEMA and the American Red Cross suggest the following: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf

For those of you who do store food, do you have a recommendation for a quality mail-order supplier who packages all the essentials in easily-stored boxes that last a long time?

Any other tips for storage and rotation?

Thanks!
Great post and link

HongKonger
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by HongKonger » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:39 pm

You may want to check out Thrive Life. Also, you can buy packs from LDS canneries - they do like 2 people for 6 months or family of four for a month etc etc.

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celia
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by celia » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:44 pm

Cruise wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:01 pm
For those of you who do store food, do you have a recommendation for a quality mail-order supplier who packages all the essentials in easily-stored boxes that last a long time?
I have ordered most of my stored earthquake food and supplies from BePrepared.com (LDS, I believe). When I buy a lot of one thing (multiples are often discounted), we sometimes eat the excess in our regular meals. It is surprisingly good although you may want to add salt, pepper, or a spice. Of course, you will also want to store water so you can re-hydrate most of it. We have some 2-liter and 5-gal bottles filled with water stored inside and food-quality rain barrels outside.

I've also purchased from WalMart.com, but they don't have as big a selection.

If you want to package your own food, be sure you use containers that are meant for long term food storage such as at here. If you want to get mylar bags and a bag sealer and store food in plastic buckets, you can also find the food quality buckets at WalMart. Lids are sold separately. Depending on where you live (near food processing centers) you may also be able to ask someplace to save buckets for you that they are going to be throwing out.
Any other tips for storage and rotation?
Don't store the food where the temperatures get real hot or cold (garage, attic) since that will degrade the food quality. The best place is where your air conditioning (summer) and heating (winter) keep the temperature moderate, as for people.


If you don't want to go through any of this hassle, you can just buy canned food (they even sell large cans of tuna and cooked chicken) and just rotate it every year. (Mark the purchase date on the top.) Be sure you have a hand-cranked can opener on hand.
Last edited by celia on Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dcabler
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by dcabler » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:45 pm

Costco has often had such supplies. We purchased such (fortunately) for my parents before Hurricane Katrina hit...

livesoft
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:05 pm

My spouse is a member of CERT, the community emergency response team. She didn't tell me, but I found out that she is storing some crap to give out to families in emergencies. My personal feeling is that one can have normal everyday sustenance stored in the pantry and just rotate through your normal meals.

If one looks at backpacking food videos on YouTube.com, one sees recurring themes over and over that would work for sustenance during disasters:

1. Canned beans. I eat a lot of black beans anyways, so I can rotate cans of it. I don't want to waste fuel and time cooking dried beans, so canned beans are cheap and work for me. A can I have says "Best by FEB2020.

2. Canned tuna and chicken. I have a can of tuna which says "Best if used by JAN 22 2022"

3. Peanut butter.

4. Quinoa, requires no cooking Cold soaking works fine.

5. Oatmeal. My box sells "Sell by Feb 06 2019" Cold soaking works fine.

6. Rice. None of the rice that I have has a "Best by" date. Some of our rice is probably more than 5 years old.

OK, the dates don't compare to some freeze-dried meals I use sometimes when I backpack. A MountainHouse meal I have says "BEST BY DE 2047"

WATER: Boiling water is a joke nowadays. There are many, many different cheap filters which will remove infectious organisms. Boiling doesn't remove poisonous chemicals anyways and filtering will not either. It just takes too much energy to boil water ... energy that you may not have.

COOKING: A good idea to have a camp stove or propane grill for some cooking, but also think about not having any fuel to cook with and just use filtered water and cold-soaking techniques.

Bottom line: Forget about these prepper food things. Just have some normal cheap food around until the Cavalry shows up.

Also the cool think about normal food is that you already know how to cook and eat it. You don't have to figure out how to rehydrate anything.
Last edited by livesoft on Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Tamarind
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Tamarind » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:07 pm

I keep on hand of the kinds of food we like to take camping: nutritional bars, packaged oatmeal, instant rice, and dehydrated or shelf stable package meals. A particular favorite are "heat-and-eat" Indian entrees: last up to 2 years at room temp, don't require rehydration, have interesting flavor. For a 2 week period I'm only concerned about adequate calories, not satiety or balanced or healthy diet. Also I want to reduce the need to use potable water for dishwashing or cooking. Plus if I had to walk out to a safe area two weeks of this food weighs only a few pounds. No jars or cans, for Pete's sake! When we go camping I just draw from the emergency supply and refresh when we return. Makes for minimum hassle. Kept in a big plastic bin in a closet with the camping gear.

For water I keep a 7 gal container of bleach-treated water in my crawlspace. If I had warning, I could fill my bathtub up. Most of the year I have 100+ gallons of water in my garden rain cistern, and in need I could filter this or local surface water through my camping filter. It would taste foul but I'd be unlikely to get sick. I live in walking distance from a reservoir and could fill bags there. Water is always a challenge if there is a need to walk out because it's so heavy to carry more than a day's need, but luckily I live in a wet area with a lot of creeks and lakes.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:08 pm

We have enough food in our pantry, such as Costco canned chicken and tuna, along with plenty of dry pasta, other can goods to last a couple of weeks easily.

Though, our first source of food after our most likely disaster (hurricane) would be frozen foods subject to defrosting. Last time we lost power for a few days, I was able to keep everything frozen by running the generator intermittingly.

Occasionally I have been tempted to buy some long-term storage food supplies, but in my nearly 65 years on earth I have never experienced any disaster that would have been made more bearable having emergency food supplies. Hurricanes on Florida's east coast where I grew up, and brushes with hurricanes on Florida's west coast where we currently live just have never resulted in not having enough food. I honestly don't see the value of emergency food supplies; I think they would just sit there gathering dust, for the most part. We do buy a few cases of water, but they are consumed after the storm.

Been without power several times , sometimes for over a week, but our generator made things easier.

Sometimes after a particularly bad blow, downed trees and power lines means you can't go anywhere right after the storm until emergency crews have evaluated the scene. So, you do have some time to wait after the storm passes.

Broken Man 1999
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Spirit Rider
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Spirit Rider » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:21 pm

There is a big difference between prepping for natural disasters (weeks) and the zombie apocalypse / nuclear winter.

The former can easily be be accomplished with canned/dry goods with rotations within their normal shelf life. No real need to buy specialized "prepper" supplies, with maybe the exception of water and specialized supplies (powdered milk, etc...). If you are only keeping four (4) weeks of supplies, rotation is not usually a challenge.

I'm not really a prepper, but probably have 1-2 months of canned/dry goods. I do this probably as more of a cost saving measure (stock up on sales) than any protection against disaster. I do keep a dozen three (3) liter bottles of water as a nod to preparedness and rotate through one a month. The other things are just stuff I eat every week so rotation is relatively easy. Although there was that case of the canned beets episode. Lesson don't buy full cases of things you don't normally eat, no matter how good the deal.

Rupert
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Rupert » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:28 pm

I agree with others that prepping like a camper, as opposed to a paranoid prepper, is the way to go. Each year before hurricane season, I make sure to stock up on batteries, envelopes of tuna, and powdered milk. Aside from that, I don't buy anything special and just plan to use up whatever is in my pantry when disaster strikes. I always have on hand a couple of jars of peanut butter and Nutella, cans of soup and vegetables, bread, crackers and pasta. I have envelopes of camping food should my family need to hike out of town (but, really, aside from the poor folks in the urban core of New Orleans following Katrina, when has that ever happened?). I have a good quality water filter for camping so have no need to stockpile water (I always have a bottle of bleach on hand too, which can be used for water treatment in a pinch). I've ridden out a lot of hurricanes in my life, including Katrina, and the only time I've ever lost water following one was when I was a kid in a rural area and we were on well water. In the city, I've lost hot water, of course, but not water. Nevertheless, when there's a storm looming, I put duct tape over the drain in my bathtub and fill it with water -- just in case. That would get used for bathing and flushing toilets if necessary. I fill up all the containers in my kitchen that will hold water with tap water. Some of those I freeze and use to keep my perishables cold for a couple of days after the power goes out. I guess if you're in an earthquake-prone area it would make sense to store some water. As a prior poster said, always eat whatever is in your freezer and refrigerator before touching the stuff in your pantry.

Edited to add: +1 to the guy above who recommended Indian-flavored camping ready meals. Curry powder disguises a multitude of culinary sins.
Last edited by Rupert on Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HongKonger
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by HongKonger » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:03 pm

I'm not a prepper either but I keep 6-8 months worth of food and household supplies on hand and emergency supplies specific to various combinations of loss of water/gas/electricity. Some people are bug out, but I am bug in. Prepper sites are too wild for me so I gleaned info from 'pantry management'' and homesteading sites which tend to be more practical than concrete bunker and guns 'n'' ammo style.

VinhoVerde
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by VinhoVerde » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:37 pm

A good online store for emergency food for long term storage is Emergency Essentials.Depending on the type of food you order it will last for 5-25 years unopened and stored at cool room temperature.
VinhoVerde

crake
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by crake » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:40 pm

I'll put in another vote for just eat what is in your pantry.

There is probably enough food in my pantry to sustain my wife and I for about 4-6 weeks without even trying to stock pile food. We always have 5-10 pounds of flour, 5-10 boxes of pasta, 5-10 pounds of rice, and another 5-10 pounds of mixed grains (oats, quinoa, cous cous, etc). In addition we always have on hand various varieties of canned/dried beans, canned vegetables, coconut milk, nut butters, etc. I buy olive oil in bulk and right now have 6 liters or approximately 50,000 calories worth of energy in that alone.

Add up the calories in your pantry, divide by 2000 times the number of people you are feeding, and that will about equal how long you can go without a grocery store trip.

I am also a backpacker so having some basic camping supplies around the house puts my mind a bit more at ease. If I were to make a suggestion for things to buy in case of emergency my recommendation would be a water filter and a camp stove along with some fuel.

I don't really see the point in trying to stock pile months/years worth of food. I don't anticipate the system ever breaking down that bad in my lifetime and if it did I doubt having a couple dozen MRE's in my basement will have any major impact on my personal outcome.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by UpperNwGuy » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:58 pm

I do not keep emergency food supplies, and I never have done so.

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dm200
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by dm200 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:05 pm

Recently, I stumbled onto a three day supply of the military MRE (Meals ready to eat). Looks like these can be stored for a long, long time. Not my "optimum" plan for eating, but sure beats nothing.

3feetpete
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by 3feetpete » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:14 pm

I have about 3 months of freeze dried food for two that is supposed to be good for 25 years. I bought online for $700 or so. BJ's offers some occasionally and I think Costco does as well. It takes only a few drops of bleach to disinfect a gallon of water so a bottle of chlorox would go a long way.

For people with more time than money there is a cheaper way to go than freeze dried. Walmart.com and other places sell mylar storage bags that can be sealed by an iron. Put in dried beans and rice bought in bulk and add oxygen absorbers that Walmart also sells and you have a fairly cheap and nutritious meal that should last several years.

antiqueman
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by antiqueman » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:26 pm

I notice that some who have posted indicate they use the emergency food sometimes to add to soup , stews, etc they are cooking.

Once the vacuum pack Is broken on some of these canned vegetables , does the remaining product stay "fresh". If you break the vacuum seal on a can of vegetables will the can keep it preserved for another 5 years once the vacuum pack is broken?

livesoft
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:47 pm

I don't think anything that was vacuum-sealed will remain fresh once the seal is broken. The air is humid enough that water molecules and bacteria and mold will get in and then the bacteria and mold will grow however slowly.

Just pretend you are a bacteria cell or a mold spore and see what you can do.
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theplayer11
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by theplayer11 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:05 pm

will just do some fishing ..or shoot a rabbit

mouses
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by mouses » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:11 pm

Rupert wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:28 pm
I have envelopes of camping food should my family need to hike out of town (but, really, aside from the poor folks in the urban core of New Orleans following Katrina, when has that ever happened?).
Puerto Rico. There are areas still in big trouble there, although you'd never know it from the news media. However this has lasted so long that any emergency preparations, I'm sure, have long since run out.

jebmke
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by jebmke » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:39 pm

theplayer11 wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:05 pm
will just do some fishing ..or shoot a rabbit
There are normally plenty of geese around here - even after the migrators fly back to Canada. I could probably club one with a 2-iron. That club isn't good for anything anyway. Never could hit a 2-iron straight.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

DesertDiva
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by DesertDiva » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:45 pm

Like other posters, I ordered a kit from Costco. Fast, free delivery and 2% cash back with my executive membership.

https://www.costco.com/emergency-kits-supplies.html

GCD
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by GCD » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:08 pm

antiqueman wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:26 pm
I notice that some who have posted indicate they use the emergency food sometimes to add to soup , stews, etc they are cooking.

Once the vacuum pack Is broken on some of these canned vegetables , does the remaining product stay "fresh". If you break the vacuum seal on a can of vegetables will the can keep it preserved for another 5 years once the vacuum pack is broken?
No it won't stay fresh. But all of the freeze dried stuff I have seen comes in a variety of packaging. Some of it is single or dual serving stuff. If it's one of those big #10 cans it isn't going to stay fresh any longer than an open box of cereal.

whomever
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by whomever » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:13 pm

Once the vacuum pack Is broken on some of these canned vegetables , does the remaining product stay "fresh". If you break the vacuum seal on a can of vegetables will the can keep it preserved for another 5 years once the vacuum pack is broken?
We backpack a lot, and buy freeze dried peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken, etc and make out own 'stew'. We buy the #10 cans, take out what we need for a trip, then reseal with the supplied plastic lids. I haven't kept close track, but I think we've taken a few years to use some of the #10 cans, and haven't had any spoilage problems. We store them in a fairly cool basement in a dry climate; humidity and high temps wouldn't be your friend, methinks.

Dried milk doesn't seem to last more than a few months once you open the packet (this is the ordinary 1 qt packs from the supermarket). I'd expect you'd want to use a #10 can of that within a few months.

cheapedy
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by cheapedy » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:21 pm

DONUTS!!!
I remember hearing an expert on this subject a couple years ago. He said your basic flour, sugar and oil, are the best things to keep for emergencies. Dirt cheap, easy to store in bulk, easy to prepare, high calorie. Seriously, he mentioned that you could even feed the whole neighborhood very quickly and cheaply with very little fuel. His other expert tip was filling up every possible container with water at the onset of an emergency, ie, bathtubs, sinks, even garbage bags in dresser drawers!

Cruise
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Cruise » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:00 am

OP here. Thanks to everyone for their recommendations!

The previous post about donuts made me think of Twinkies, which I had heard had an very long shelf life. Unfortunately, according to Snopes, this is a myth:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/forever-twinkies/

BusterMcTaco
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by BusterMcTaco » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:29 am

I just figured if FEMA will take more than a day or two, I'll eat the neighbors. Is that not a rational plan?

McDougal
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by McDougal » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:31 am

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:58 pm
I do not keep emergency food supplies, and I never have done so.
This is me as well. Plus I have neighbors who do, and they have generators. And they love me! :D
/I know, we'll see how much they love me - I saw that twilight zone episode.

Rupert
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Re: Storing Sustenance for Disasters

Post by Rupert » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:23 am

mouses wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:11 pm
Rupert wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:28 pm
I have envelopes of camping food should my family need to hike out of town (but, really, aside from the poor folks in the urban core of New Orleans following Katrina, when has that ever happened?).
Puerto Rico. There are areas still in big trouble there, although you'd never know it from the news media. However this has lasted so long that any emergency preparations, I'm sure, have long since run out.
Well, yes, if you live on an island that has poor infrastructure, is bankrupt, whose government has been corrupt for a long time and is on the outs with the political regime in charge of all the resources, different rules apply. Very unfortunately for Puerto Rico, hurricane season is here again.

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