One item you must have is jug or two of plain, unscented, regular bleach and an eye-dropper for precise measurement. Adding one part bleach to nine parts water makes a great disinfectant, but more importantly you can add 16 drops of bleach to a gallon of water to kill germs in an emergency. It has other obvious uses for hygiene, and is too cheap to not have handy for such an occasion. Just keep in mind that bleach has a short shelf life, not the first thing you’d want to stockpile. Get more than one water filter, such as the ones made by Sawyer or Berkey.
Regarding the 2L soda bottles, how long do you store them before changing out the water with fresh water? Would you say that the water stored in this way would only be good for cleaning clothes, washing dishes and bathing and not for drinking or cooking? I have pondered doing the same thing but wondered how long the water would stay fresh and free of bacterial growth etc. (aka safe to use).
The next thing that you should be aware of is how to use the food that you have prepped and stored. Get familiar with stored-food preparation and the best way to do this is to use it. Get a couple of food-storage cookbooks, or create your own with a little online research. This way you and your family can become familiar with how to use and eat these types of foods.
There are many schools of thought on what should be stock piled in the event of a disaster or prolonged period of social disruption or societal collapse. It is hard to say with complete authority what “The best” foods are. This will depend on a number of factors, such as storage space, number of people to be fed, availability of water for preparation, availability of a means to cook foods or heat water, and the list goes on. There are however some standards that can guide pretty much anyone in the right direction. Just be certain that whatever you store, it provides enough calories, a dietary proper balance, vitamins, minerals, and fats. Remember, a crisis has a way of creating situations that will increase your caloric requirements, and that will tax your immune system and electrolyte balance.
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.