Brenda Anderson

Brenda Anderson

If an emergency or disaster situation happened right now, would you have enough food and water stored to last you and your family at least three days?

Next week, May 5-11, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, so now is the time to prepare an emergency food and water kit if you do not already have one. And if you already have one put together, now is the time to check through it to rotate and replenish supplies.

It is important to prepare for all types of emergencies by putting together a kit that contains enough food and water to last you and your family at least three days. And, since our area is prone to hurricanes, you may want to consider storing as much as seven days’ worth of supplies in case utility services are disrupted for more than a few days.

Did you know that a human in relatively good health can live for several weeks without food, but only a few days without fluids? Hydration is necessary for survival, so start preparing your kit by gathering all of the water you will need.

We all know from experience that water is the first thing to disappear from store shelves during emergencies, so it is important to get it well beforehand. Your emergency kit should contain at least one gallon of water per person per day, and up to two gallons per person per day during hot weather. This amount of water should cover all fluid intake needs, as well as water needed for basic hygiene.

To calculate exactly how much water you will need, 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 one gallon per day for three days. However, if you want your kit to include enough water to supply each member with two gallons per day for seven days, you would need to have 56 gallons stored (for a family of four).

When it comes to emergency food supplies, choose items that do not need refrigeration or preparation, because utilities may be off for an unknown period of time. Ideal foods to include in your kit will be canned fruit, dried meat, canned milk, peanut butter, smoked meats, dried fruit, crackers, canned juices, protein bars, canned vegetables and granola bars.

Remember to include a manual can opener and disposable utensils, plates, paper towels, and sanitizer wipes, because you will not want to use your water resources to wash dishes.

Once you have your food and water supplies together, store everything in an airtight container in a cool, dry place off the floor to keep moisture and insects out. Remember to check your emergency supplies every three to six months and replace any expired items, including water.

If you would like more information about preparing for disasters, 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.

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