Incidences of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, violent weather and climate change are causing more frequent natural disasters and emergencies. Data released by the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and by the U.S. Forest Service, all show, since the mid 1990’s, increasing U.S. incidences of violent storms and disasters.
2005 witnessed 28 named Atlantic storms which was the highest amount dating back to at least 1851. The 1,819 U.S tornadoes recorded in 2004 were an all time high. Lastly, the 9 million U.S. acres burned by wildfires in 2006 were the most since at least 1960.
In addition to natural disasters and emergencies, man made calamities always have the potential to strike. Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that stealthy cyber spies have managed to gain internet access to various points of the U.S. electrical grid. No damage has been detected from the cyber spies’ access; however, government and electricity company officials have found rogue software programs, within the electricity grid, that could have been used to disrupt the U.S’ power supply system.
Now, more than ever, it makes sense for individuals and families to be prepared for emergencies and have standing plans and contingencies. One aspect of an emergency plan is having an emergency supply kit on hand and ready for use. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security publishes the following recommendations for an emergency supply kit:
- One gallon of water per person per day, for three days – and remember to include water for pets too,
- It’s important to store at least a three day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water and choose foods your family will eat: ready-to-eat meats, peanut butter, protein or fruit, dry cereal or granola,
- A manual can opener and eating utensils,
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both,
- Flashlight and extra batteries,
- First aid kit,
- Whistle to signal for help,
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place,
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation,
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities,
- Local maps,
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s emergency supply kit is comprehensive and contains many needed items, it is no coincidence or accident that water and non-perishable food is at the top of their emergency supply kit list. Non-perishable, shelf stable food that requires no cooking and little to no water is instrumental in maintaining an adequate and edible emergency food supply. Dried fruits, dried vegetables and jerky made via a food dehydrator, are an excellent source for the non-perishable food recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
A food dehydrator is an excellent tool to create non-perishable, shelf stable food. A food dehydrator removes moisture from food so that bacteria, yeasts and molds cannot grow and spoil the food. Dehydrated food, stored in airtight containers, can last for multiple years. Further, the lower the ambient temperature, in which the dehydrated food is stored, the longer the food’s shelf life. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated that a 10 degree Fahrenheit decline in ambient temperature (about 6 degrees Celsius), can double the shelf life of stored food. Also, because food dehydration removes moisture, the food becomes smaller and lighter in weight and thus easier to store. Lastly, dehydrated food, unlike frozen foods, will not spoil in the event of power failures.
Published 8/2/2009 12:00:00 AM