Steve Shenk

Recently, many of Utah’s and Colorado’s residents have been facing the very real threat of losing their homes to wildfires. The dry conditions coupled with steady winds have burned numerous acres and caused a lot of worry and heartache. A number of these wildfires have ventured into vacation and residential areas necessitating emergency evacuations.

Situations like this make us pause and think how prepared–or underprepared–we are. The thought of a knock on the door from an official issuing an evacuation order and the reality of having only a few moments to leave our homes would send a wave of panic over anyone. And the scary thing is that situations like this play out on a regular basis. Simply replace wildfires with hurricanes, floods, or blizzards and you get the idea.

Power outages are another example of how your day-to-day routine could be turned upside down in an instant. The recent heat wave in the East has left many without power. While in some instances, power is restored within a few hours, there are many times where entire neighborhoods are without power for days and even weeks.

The truth of the matter is that it is impossible to live in an area that is 100% immune from disasters.

Given that a natural or man-made disaster can turn your world upside down, the real question becomes:
Are you ready? Would you and your family be able to survive for two weeks? Two days? One day? While it is possible to survive for a short period without food, one has to ask, “Who would want to?”
Imagine being evacuated from your home and constantly wondering whether your home and belongings will be there once you return. That alone is a big worry occupying your mind. Now imagine you are placed in an evacuation center (nearest high school or community center) and add to the mix the how/when/what/where of trying to eat. Having to worry about food is another stressor to an already stressful situation. A stressor that a little forethought and planning can easily take away.

Imagine how even the worst situation might seem if you were able to quickly grab and go with a supply of food to take care of the basic and essential needs of your family.

So how do you go about taking care of your family’s food needs in the event of a disaster?

First you need to calculate how much you need per person for X amount of days. There are numerous resources to help accomplish this, but at the least, you will want to be sure that everyone has at a minimum one-balanced meal per day.

One thing to consider that gets glossed over too often is building your emergency food supply with something that actually tastes good. As was already discussed, any type of disaster will be a very stressful and worrisome time. A meal that is actually enjoyable to eat can be a real morale booster.
You will want foods that require no refrigeration or special preparation. In this case, dehydrated foods fit the bill very well. Dehydration is an excellent way to keep and preserve food. By removing the moisture, dehydration makes it so the microbes that spoil food are unable to thrive and the enzymes that lead to food deteriorating are inactivated.
Remember, a food emergency is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. If you have already begun preparing for a disaster, I applaud your diligence and commitment and encourage you in your efforts. If you have not, I challenge you to start today so when the knock comes on your door, you will be ready.

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