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The material contained in these pages are the author's opinions, and do not reflect that of any other person or entity.  You are advised to seek expert opinion if you have questions or concerns about your specific emergency preparedness situation.

Food Overview
You'd have to be a fool to not have food on hand with a storm approaching!  You should keep enough food and supplies on hand to last at least 72 hours.  And even after 72 hours, if you're looking for someone else to come to your rescue, expect to be eating an MRE (the military version of a TV dinner, only worse)!  If you really want to prepare for the storm, have at least one week of food and water on hand for your family.

As the Navy has discovered, food is a great morale booster.  That's why the men and women on submarines get the best food in the armed services.  So buy high-quality food for your emergency supply, and rotate it periodically.  A good meal while everything else around you is discouraging can go a long way toward lifting your spirits.  Be sure to take into consideration special dietary requirements, such as lactose intolerance or for diabetics.  And like all of your hurricane supplies, test the food to ensure you like it before being stuck with it in an emergency!

Be sure to stock foods that don’t require refrigeration.  Even if you have a generator, if the generator fails, you'll soon be stuck with a refrigerator full of unusable food.   Be cautious of refrigerated or frozen food that have thawed or become warm.  Be especially wary of foods containing mayonnaise and eggs.

You should store your food in watertight containers, and up as high as possible. Don’t eat foods—including canned foods—that have come in contact with flood waters.  You can never be sure if you've gotten the food containers completely clean of bacteria.

Don’t forget to have at least one manual can opener available!  Also, by using paper plates and plastic utensils you won't have to waste water washing them.

If you have an electric stove, consider buying a Coleman camp stove as a backup (for outdoor use only--they produce carbon monoxide).  As an alternative, stock up on charcoal and lighter fluid for your grill.

For drinking water, I recommend individual bottles of water, such as the Ozarka 1/2 liter bottles.  Just mark the owner's name each bottle with a Sharpie as you remove it from the cooler and drink from the bottle.  This helps reduce waste from throwing out half-consumed glasses of water.  Also, about a day before the hurricane is schedule to arrive, put as many bottles in the freezer as you can safely fit.  They will freeze (but not burst), and can then be moved to an ice chest where they can substitute for expensive bags of ice.   Remember that an average person needs about a gallon of water a day for drinking and food preparation.  Don't forget to stock enough water for your pets!  At the beginning of hurricane season, I recommend obtaining at least one week's worth of drinking water for the entire family.  Remember that there are 3.79 liters per gallon, so you'll need about eight 1/2 liter bottles of water per average person per day.  That may seem like a lot, but if the power's off and there's no air conditioning, you'll be sweating heavily and will need to replace the liquids in your body or risk becoming dehydrated.  

Food Checklist



Canned fruit  
Canned juice concentrates  
Canned soup  
Coffee Consider also a camper coffee pot that can be used on the grill
Dried fruits  
Evaporated milk  
Fresh fruit  
Gatorade or other sports drink  
Hard candy  
Hot Sauce  
Instant coffee  
Instant tea  
Jiffy Pop popcorn  
Mayonnaise Get the little individual packs like they use in restaurants so they don't have to be refrigerated.  Discard unused portion if unable to refrigerate!
Packaged sliced meats  
Pancake mix (that requires water, not milk)  
Peanut butter  
Peanuts, cashews, almonds  
Pinto beans  
Pork and beans  
Potato chips Great with sandwiches
Powdered milk  
Power bars or other food bars  
Ritz crackers  
Soft drinks  
Spaghetti sauce  
Water (Drinking) See note in introduction above for how much to stock
Wheat thins   

Useful Links

Hurricane Preparation and Food Safety Tips

Government Food Safety Information

Shelf Reliance Emergency Food


Owner: Haskell L. Moore
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written permission from the author. Copyright © 2008 - 2013.
Email me at: HurricaneHaskell@gmail.com