The Seven Sisters of Urban Survival (Part II)
Again we start with the basic rule of 2 adults for 72 hours. This is because FEMA, the Red Cross and most other emergency responders basically tell you that it the first 72 hours of a disaster you will probably have to take care of yourself.
Years ago this wouldn’t have been a question. Most plain folks had enough dried or canned food on the shelf to easily see them through 72 hours. But with more and more people picking up everything from breakfast to dinner from the drive-through, or being “married to the microwave,” and taking their meals from the freezer and zapping them, there are many who have little on the shelf. This is being added to by those who are now having their meals delivered to them.
So what should you have? There are two general rules here:
1. Eat what you store, store what you eat.
This means to have on your shelf things you actually like and use. For example, while we try to get fresh veggies as we can, we also have our stocks of canned veggies. When we eat of them we replace them so our stock is rotated.
2. Try NOT to introduce your body to any unusual foods unless you have no choice.
This means don’t break out the various freeze-dried or other forms of long storage dehydrated foods unless you must. Note that many such foods are good. I have my favorite brands that I use for the GO bags and such. But I know that these foods might bring on stomach troubles when you really don’t want them. Also, you want to retain as much normalcy as you can in a situation that may be very abnormal. Familiar foods help, unfamiliar foods don’t.
To get started, list what you eat over a 72 hour period and see what you can substitute with non-perishable forms (canned fish, meat, stews, etc.)
Keep in mind that the food in the freezer and refrigerator may be good for a day or more depending on the temperature outside. A trick we use is to put zip lock freezer bags of water in the freezer to act as large “ice packs” They will keep the food in the freezer good longer and when they melt they will add to your water supply.
Another trick is to have a small foam cooler on hand to put the small items such as cold meats and cheese in along with an ice pack to place in the refrigerator.
And a favorite trick for the summer is having bags of ice cubes in the freezer. We use them for our drinks and refill them from the ice trays, which we refill to make more.
If it is 40 degrees or less outside, you can put out ziplock bags of water overnight to go into the freezer and refrigerator the next morning. Don’t risk putting your food outside!!
So what could this all look like?
Breakfast: Breakfast or energy bars. Instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate powdered milk, creamer, dry cereals, instant oatmeal, or possibly energy drinks.
Lunch: Ramen or powdered soups, tuna, or other canned meats with crackers.
Dinner: Various canned meats from beef to chicken, along with salmon, tuna. Dried potato, noodle, and rice mixes, along with other forms of pastas and sauce along with canned ravioli.
And never forget the crackers and PB & J!
You are also going to need a few other things to make it through with your food.
1. Have a manual can opener. You can get the simple old GI style can openers (P-38 or the larger P-51) for a few dollars online or the standard crank style at most discount stores.
2. Have a bag or pack with paper plates, cups and bowls along with utensils and trash bags. This saves cleaning up of dishes.
3. Have a heat source to cook with/on such as Sterno and a folding stove. BUT only use such flame devices after you have checked for gas leaks, gasoline spills, and other fire threats. Better dried or even cold food then to go up in a burst of flame.
Once you feel good with your 72 hour supply you can expand to one week, then onward. You’ll probably find many items come 6 to a pack (such as oatmeal) so as you buy it you actually end up with more like a week’s worth.
Two last points here.
If money is tight for you, use the “Toucan Bill” system, that is don’t try to rush out and buy a case, just add two cans to the bill every time you shop.
We will go over the food you’ll have in your Bug Out, Bounce Back or Go bags when we cover them later.
Richard P. Maida