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Are you prepared for an emergency?

Hurricane Ian Batters Florida After Thrashing Cuba NRL_AL092022_IAN_infrared-gray_satelliteWith Hurricane Ian battering Florida after thrashing Cuba, it’s a good reminder to review how prepared we are for emergencies.

During heavy snowstorm when the power went out a few years ago, my food was starting to get boring after five days. I’d eaten all my fresh food and gone through my canned food.

How much food and water should you have on hand for an emergency?

You should have a kit that contains food, water, and supplies for at least three days, recommends the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Store water in food-grade storage containers, or if you want to make your own containers, use two-liter plastic soft drink bottles. Don’t use plastic jugs that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk protein and fruit sugars can’t be adequately be removed so bacteria could grow in those containers.

You’ll need one gallon of water daily for each person for three days.

For food, avoid foods that will make people thirsty. Select salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content. Dry mixes and other staples that don’t require refrigeration or cooking also are good choices. Be sure to include a manual can opener.

For specific planning, determine what kinds of emergencies may occur in your area. In the Pacific Northwest where I live, it could be winter storms, forest fires, landslides, flooding, earthquakes, and tsunamis in some areas.

See FEMA’s “Are You Ready?” booklet for information on getting the basics you’ll need, developing an emergency plan, seeking shelter during different types of hazards, and identifying evacuation routes. The guide has checklists to help you get prepared.



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Donna Freedman

When I interviewed a Red Cross disaster specialist for an article for MSN Money, he offered a tip I'd never heard before: If a major storm (ice, wind, hurricane, whatever) is predicted, boil all the eggs you have. You'll have protein that's already cooked, and if you keep them in the coolest place you have they should keep for a while. And if the storm never materializes? Make a whole bunch of egg salad.

Here's another one from those guys: If you plan to fill the bathtub with water ahead of a bad storm, use duct tape to seal the tub stopper. Otherwise it might slowly seep out.

Here's one from me: If stocking canned vegetables, choose the no-salt kind and save the liquid after heating. In a pinch you can drink it (yum!) but you can also use it to rehydrate dried foods or to mix with canned soup.

In an article for my personal website, "How not to starve in an emergency," I pointed out a few more tips:

"This isn’t only about food, either. Do you tend to wait until the last minute to buy cat litter? Ever found yourself purchasing tampons at a convenience store at 11 p.m.?

"What about the allergy meds that keep your eyes from swelling shut every spring, or the lotion that makes your psoriasis flare-ups a little less painful? Suppose you were running low but kept procrastinating – and then an emergency made it impossible to get more?"

Be prepared -- it's the Boy Scouts marching song.


Hi Donna, thanks for the great tips. You're my kind of gal.

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