|Preparing your pantry|
When a hurricane is approaching, it is important to think not only about how to survive the hurricane, but to be prepared for the potential aftermath.
Things like electricity shortages or water shortages as well as road damage that might prevent you from getting to a place to purchase supplies can all be factors of concern after the passage of a hurricane. Even a tropical storm or a minimal hurricane can knock out power for days.
You may have a roof over your head, but not the electricity to cook dinner or run the refrigerator. That’s when shelf-stable food comes in handy.
We all know the basics of having a water supply and canned foods, but what other factors should be considered and how much?
First, let’s look at the list of items you should not be buying. Do not buy snacks like salty chips, crackers and nuts. Aside from not having any nutritional value, these will only make you thirsty. Peanut butter, although protein rich, is also salty, so take it in minimal amounts, or if you think you cannot control yourself, keep this off your list. Candy is also undesirable because aside from causing you to be thirsty, it also has a high level of sodium.
With regard to liquids, do not stock up on sodas and alcohol. Alcohol is obviously not a good idea since you need to be alert and fully conscious in a hurricane situation. Instead of sodas, buy vegetable and fruit juices as an alternative. They are a much healthier substitute. However, if you have infants in your home, monitor their intake of fruit juices because too much of this can cause sicknesses like diarrhea. Also, do not binge on sports drinks — drink them in moderation.
Water should be kept in ample supply. A good general rule of thumb is a gallon per person per day, and enough for seven days. Or if you buy the bottles, that’s eight 16-ounce bottles per person or 56 bottles for seven days.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.
Other important factors to consider are getting the most out of each item. Be sure the foods you choose are good sources of protein, high energy foods and dried fruits. Breakfast cereals are also a great source of whole grains and vitamins. They can be eaten with or without powdered or dry milk, so they offer flexibility and variety in your food choices. Canned tuna and chicken are great sources of protein, along with some small condiment size packets of mayonnaise, they can make a simple quick high protein meal.
Food and drink are not the only must haves to keep in the cupboard. Supplies such as garbage bags, paper towels, wipes, fuel (charcoal, lighter fluid, matches) or a full propane tank for the grill should also be kept on hand. Also, don’t forget the manual can opener, plastic wrap or storage containers.
Another group of key items to have in supply are paper plates, napkins and paper or plastic cups; plastic forks, knives and spoons; and a couple of serving spoons, forks and knives for food preparation and serving.
Storm Shelters (Pets are not permitted)