Are you prepared if disaster strikes?
If a disaster happened tomorrow, would you have enough food and water on hand to last you and your family at least three days?
Hurricane season begins June 1, and this week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. If you don't already have one, now is the time to get a food and water kit ready. And if you do have one prepared, now is the time to check through it to replace and replenish supplies.
It is important to prepare for emergencies by assembling a kit that contains enough food and water to last you and your family at least three days. Since we are in a hurricane-prone area, you may want to consider having up to seven days worth of food and water in case electricity and water services are disrupted for longer than three days.
Humans can live for several weeks without food, but without enough fluids, death can occur within days. Hydration is necessary for survival, so start preparing your kit by gathering the water you will need.
Since water can become scarce during emergencies, it is important to get it beforehand. Individuals need at least 1 gallon of water per person per day and up to 2 gallons per person per day in hot weather.
This amount of water should cover all fluid needs as well as water needed for basic hygiene. Start by counting the number of people in your household. Multiply that number by three to get the least number of gallons you will need in your kit. For example, if you are preparing a kit for a family of four, you will need to have at least 12 gallons of water in your kit.
That is enough for each family member to have 1 gallon per day for three days. However, if you wanted your kit to include enough water to supply each member with 2 gallons per day for seven days, you would need to have 56 gallons stored.
For food supplies for your kit, choose items that do not need refrigeration or preparation, as electricity may be off for an unknown period of time during disasters.
Some ideas for foods to include in your kit are: peanut butter, smoked or dried meats, dried or canned fruits, crackers, canned juices, protein or granola bars, canned vegetables and canned or powdered milk.
Remember to include a manual can opener and disposable utensils, plates, paper towels and sanitizer wipes since you will not want to use your water resources to wash dishes.
Once you have your food supplies together, store them in an airtight container off of the floor and in a cool, dry place to keep moisture and insects out. Rotate supplies every three to six months or as needed.
If you need more information about preparing for disasters, go to texashelp.tamu.edu.
Resource: "Feeding Your Family When Disaster Strikes" curricula from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans program
Brenda Anderson is a Victoria County extension assistant.