No one wants to get sick, let alone contract a disease that may go untreated due to the lack of available medical facilities or medical personnel.  One of the best ways to avoid sickness is to maintain good hygeine and to properly dispose of human waste.  This is not as easy as it sounds because traditional waste systems may be inoperable due  to the lack of water and or ruptured sewer lines.
Durable packaging: Can it hold up to abuse, floods from storms, etc. For example, the biggest danger during an earthquake is things falling. Since it’s easy to imagine storing supplies like this on the bottom shelf in a garage, consider how it would hold up to stuff falling on top of the container or flood water coming in. Or zombies… those sneaky zombies.
I recommend that the very first step you take when prepping is to evaluate the most likely risks specific to your geographical area and your personal domestic situation.  Most, if not all, city, county and state governments will have emergency management websites that will help you sort through the most likely disasters to occur in your area.  Take advantage of these public resources.
We have a fourteen year old Yorky mix.  Anyone comes around during the day she barks, we praise her.  At night, however, she justs emits a low growl to wake everyone up.  We are sailors out of Alaska.  On this trip I am sure we would have been boarded at least twice in the last four years if not for Mollie.  When we move ashore we will have another small, intelligent dog backed up by a War Dog , or two.  I know one old boy that if he were to give the word, you be dead.  My brother’s dogs will all begin barking on command.  He has a good mix of dogs.

To start, I suggest purchasing a basic 3 month supply of your everyday foods! Then add a little each time you shop. I have a mix of freeze dried, dehydrated, LDS, Thrive Life, 5 gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids. It really depends on the item. I actually eat what I store. Be realistic. I buy boxes of red beans and rice, Zatarians, use a freeze dried beans, It cooks super fast and is nutritious. Same with scalloped potatoes. These are easy to cook comfort meals that are good for emergencies. Add a can of Costco chicken and you have a great meal.
@Loonejack That WAS strange weather, wasn’t it. One storm after the other after the other. No relief for those poor people. Good idea not to live on the east coast. There are some saying that we are overdue for an Ice Age and that it could be here in the next decade or so but does any one REALLY know. It really does come down to speculation. There was a mini ice age in Europe from about the 16th to the 19th centuries. They’re not quite sure about the exact times. There were three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, all separated by intervals of slight warming. Everything goes in cycles, especially the sun, and if we do experience a true ice age then we’ll just have to deal with it. I would think in a situation like that people would come together for mutual survival.
If you live in a hot and humid environment, you have to store the food a little differently. I live in Florida, and I recommend sealing 1 lbs to 5 lbs in mylar bags and storing those in sealed 5 gallon buckets. It creates a double barrier and smaller bag sizes if you have to open them in an emergency. It might seem more expensive, but it is better than losing everything to water or humidity. It also makes great barter material in a shtf situation.
If you managed to get lard and salt, you need to get some cornmeal as well because it is better to keep on hand than flour. Corneal requires fewer ingredients to make bread, and it has a longer shelf life. A few 5lb bags of cornmeal should last until the emergency situation ends. You can make a skillet cake using just lard, salt, and cornmeal and I had the pleasure of eating such food on various occasions during my camping trips.

One major upside of freeze-dried food is its convenience. Since all its water content has been removed—via a process that involves exposing food to subzero temperatures, while removing the resulting water vapor with a vacuum—it’s easier than canned goods to transport on the fly. To “cook” Wise Company’s six-grain Apple Cinnamon Cereal, you just boil three and a half cups of water, dump in the powdery contents of the bag (minus the oxygen absorber), and cover the pot for 12 to 15 minutes.
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