Preparing for a Disaster or Emergency – Food and Water

First, make it easy on yourself. Start with the basics. The following steps can help you and your family prepare in the event of a disaster or emergency.


Prepare an Emergency Food Supply

Keep foods that:

  • Have a long storage life,

  • Require little or no cooking, water, or refrigeration, in case the lights go out,

  • Meet the needs of babies or others on special diets,

  • Meet pets’ supplies, and

  • Stay away from salty or spicy foods, as these foods increase the need for drinking water, could be in short supply.

How To Store Emergency Food

  • A disaster can easily disrupt the food supply at any moment, so have at least a 3-day to 1 week supply of food on hand.

  • When storing food, it is not necessary to buy dehydrated or other types of emergency food but it is helpful.  I, myself, dehydrate my own foods like apples, herbs, mushrooms, ginger, peppers, etc. Canned foods and dry mixes will remain fresh for about 2 years if stored properly.

  • Certain storage conditions can enhance the shelf life of canned or dried foods so store it in a location that is cool, dry, and dark. The best temperature is 40 to 60°F. Keep foods away from stoves or refrigerator exhausts. The heat will cause the foods to spoil quickly.

  • Keep food away from petroleum products, such as gasoline, oil, paints, and solvents because some food products will absorb the smell.

  • Protect food from rodents and insects. Items stored in boxes or in paper cartons can be eaten by the rodents and insects. It’s best to put the food in airtight containers.

  • Date all food and use or replace it before loss of freshness.

Preparing Food

Preparing food after a disaster or emergency may be difficult due to damage to your home, loss of electricity, gas, and water. Here is a short list of items to help you prepare meals:

  • Cooking utensils,

  • Knives, forks, and spoons,

  • Paper plates, cups, and towels,

  • A manual can and bottle-opener,

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil,

  • Storage containers

  • Gas or charcoal grill; camp stove, and

  • Fuel for cooking, such as charcoal. (CAUTION: Never burn charcoal indoors. The fumes are deadly when concentrated indoors.)

Prepare an Emergency Water Supply

  • Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pets. You should consider storing more water for hot climates, for pregnant women, and for people who are sick. Also remember, caffeinated drinks and alcohol will dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.

    Store at least a 3-day to 2-week supply of water for each person and each pet. You can never have enough water.

  • Observe the expiration date for store-bought water; replace other stored water every six months. (Personally, use your own discretion on this.  Honestly, if it were me, I would purify the water and drink it before pouring it down the drain.) Also, remember to NOT store bottled water near heat because the chemicals will leach into the water.

  • Store a bottle of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach to disinfect your water and to use for general cleaning and sanitizing.  Go to the How to: DIY – Purify Water page for more information.

Water Containers (Cleaning and Storage)

It is recommended to use food-grade water storage containers when storing water. See food-grade plastic symbols below.

Before filling the container, use these steps to clean and sanitize it:

  1. Wash the storage container with dish washing soap and water and rinse with clean water.

  2. Sanitize the container by adding 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach in one quart of water.

  3. Cover the container and shake it well so that the sanitizing bleach solution touches all inside surfaces of the container.

  4. Wait at least 30 seconds and pour the sanitizing solution out of the container.

  5. Let the empty sanitized container air-dry before using it.

Avoid using the following containers to store water:

  • Containers that cannot be sealed tightly,

  • Containers that can break, such as glass bottles,

  • Containers that have been used for any toxic solid or liquid chemicals (includes old bleach containers), cardboard bottles, non-food grade plastic or jugs, and containers used for milk or fruit juices.

For proper water storage,

  • Label container as “drinking water” and include storage date.

  • Replace stored water that is not commercially bottled every six months. (You know how I feel about this, Purify it!)

  • Keep stored water in a place dark place with temperature 40-60 degrees.

  • Do not store water containers in direct sunlight.

  • Do not store water containers in areas where toxic substances such as gasoline or pesticides are present.


There are several types of plastics – some being safer than others. Plastic products are marked with a number enclosed by the recycling symbol, which is found on the bottom of the product. This symbol is used to identify the plastic and recycle ability of the product.


Image result for fda food grade plastic symbols

  • Symbols 1 – Use Caution

  • Symbols 3, 6 & 7 – Steer clear and avoid

  • Symbols 2, 4 & 5 – Safest choice

Remember, this is not rocket science. After reading this post, go into your kitchen and pick a couple of canned food and a water. Place them in a closet, under your bed, where ever you choose. Just find a good spot for it. If you pace yourself while preparing and do a little at a time, you will not be overwhelmed. This post should give you a good start and you will have somethings set aside just in case something does happen.  Congratulations! You are preparing.



To Prepare = Peace of Mind

Find Your Peace


2 thoughts on “Preparing for a Disaster or Emergency – Food and Water

  1. Liberation Gardener

    This is great. I am so glad you are exploring these issues. Would like to hear more about your garden. I am a firm believer that African Americans should grow more of their own food and become more self sufficient, disaster or not. Thanks.

    1. AfrovivalistAfrovivalist Post author

      Good Morning, I’m so glad you like the post. I am planning to show video of my existing garden. It is small and overgrown due to the fact that I went a little bit too far on planting. So, I am going to try something new and relocate the plants. Yes, I too, believe that everyone should start a garden because the food that we are offered in the stores are no longer good for us due to GMO’s and other chemicals. My goal is to educate others on preparing and preserving food. In addition to preparing for a future disaster. Please spread the word among your friends and subscribe. I have some interest stuff coming up. If there is anything that you want to see posted, please let me know and I will do my best to post your requests.

      Have a GREAT day, stay productive and be prepared.


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