Get prepared during National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Brenda Anderson

This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, so it is the ideal time to prepare an emergency food and water kit. If you already have a kit prepared, now is the time to check it in order to replace and replenish supplies.

It is important to prepare for all types of 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 utility services are disrupted for longer than three days.

Humans can live for up to three weeks without food (depending on their health), 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.

Your emergency kit should contain 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 intake 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 want 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 a family of four).

When it comes to food supplies for your emergency kit, choose items that do not need refrigeration or preparation, since electricity may be off for an unknown period of time during disasters.

Ideal foods to include in your kit are: peanut butter, smoked or dried meats, canned or dried fruit, 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 in a cool, dry place to keep moisture and insects out. Check your emergency supplies every three to six months and replace items as needed.

For more disaster preparation information, go to texashelp.tamu.edu.

Resource: "Feeding Your Family When Disaster Strikes" curriculum from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans program.

Brenda Anderson is a Victoria County extension assistant.