No one wants to be unprepared for a natural disaster or emergency. But most people don’t bother to stockpile supplies because they don’t know how to get started. Begin with the basic essentials like water, food and first aid supplies. Most people stockpile for a few days, but once you do that, expand your stockpile to a week, and then two weeks – and so on. It is far better to have too many supplies than not enough.
1. Start with a Plan
How much do you need to store? How many days or months of supplies do you need? The answer depends on the kind of emergency that’s most likely to happen in your area. That will determine your best plan to stockpile supplies.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends a basic emergency supply kit with enough food and water for every family member for 72 hours. That includes:
- One gallon of water for each person per day.
- Enough canned or nonperishable food to feed everyone for three days.
- A flashlight and batteries
- A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- Basic first-aid supplies
2. Make Water a Priority
The goal is to have one gallon of water per day for each person in your family. In fact, if you have to choose, stockpile water rather than food. Both are essential, but people can only live three days without water, while they can survive three weeks without food. You can save commercially-bottled water or store tap water in your own bottles. Either way, be sure to follow these safety recommendations:
- If you use tap water, replace it every six months.
- If you use commercial water, check the expiration dates and replace it regularly.
- Store a bottle of unscented liquid chlorine bleach with your water supply for sanitizing and disinfecting water. Don’t use scented bleach or types with color-safe or cleaning additives. Look for a bleach label that says the product is safe for disinfecting water.
3. Buy in Bulk
You can save a lot of time and money by buying in bulk to stockpile supplies. Here are some foods that are nutritional and give you the most food value for the buck:
- Peanut butter
- Whole wheat crackers
- Nuts and trail mix
- Power bars and granola bars
- Dried fruit
- Canned meat such as tuna, salmon, chicken and turkey
- Cans of vegetables such as beans, carrots and peas
- Canned soups and chili
- Sports drinks
- Sugar, salt and pepper
- Powdered milk
4. Save Seeds for Sprouting
Seeds, beans and nuts for sprouting are a healthy addition to your stockpile. You can sprout fresh greens in a Mason jar. Be careful, since sprouts can become contaminated with dangerous bacteria such as E. coli, so learn how to safely make and consume sprouts.
5. In the Case of an Expected Event
Is the news bad? If you know an emergency event is heading your way or could happen, go out and gather the following:
- Winter squash
- Unripe avocado
- Sweet potatoes and yams
- Unripe tomatoes
- Dry salami, which lasts up to six weeks without refrigeration
6. Stockpile Supplies of Dried Foods
Dried foods tend to take up less space than canned and some last longer, too. Cans and granola bars are good for a short while, but stockpiling for weeks or months means you need to include:
- Starchy Foods: Flour, rice, sugar, cornmeal, popcorn, pasta, dried potato flakes and oatmeal
- High Protein Foods: Powdered milk and eggs, beans, lentils, canned fish and meat, nuts, seeds, dry and powdered cheese and boxed tofu
- Nutrition-Dense Foods: Canned pumpkin and tomatoes, dried fruit and dried vegetable soup mix
- Flavorings: Chocolate, cooking oils, salsa, jam, seasonings, spices, yeast and salt
- Beverages: Tea, coffee and powdered beverage mixes
7. Rotate Your Stockpile Supplies
To make sure your stored food is safe to eat when you need it, pay attention to the shelf life. Rotate foods near the end of their shelf life by using them in your meals and adding fresh foods to the stockpile. When you properly store it, stockpile supplies can last a long time. Check the packaging for expiration dates and revolve your foods.
Be prepared by learning how to stockpile supplies and manage them. You’ll have more peace of mind knowing your family is safe in any event.