Preparing a household for emergencies

Even though the weather didn't get the memo to wait until National Preparedness Month in September, it's never too late to start preparing for the next emergency.

Even though the weather didn’t get the memo to wait until National Preparedness Month in September, it’s never too late to start preparing for the next emergency.

The Pacific Northwest is under threat of disaster from many different (albeit rare) events, such as earthquakes, storms that knock out power, volcanic eruptions and floods, not to mention wildfires and the random, and extremely uncommon, tornado.

With power out around the area from this weekend’s storm, and officials estimating that some will continue to be without power until late Tuesday, keeping food and water on hand may become difficult.

the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests households have enough non-perishable food and water on hand for no less than 72 hours (or 3 days worth) of food and water for each family member, however some experts suggest no less than one week’s worth of supplies for each person.


Humans can survive weeks, even months, without food, but can only survive only days (between three and 10 days, on average) without water.

FEMA suggests that households keep one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. This means having 12 gallons of water on hand for the average four-person family to endure their 72-hour minimum recommended timeframe. This doesn’t include water for pets or people who may require more, such as small children, nursing mothers and the sick or injured.

Water can be stored in a cool, dark place and, if needed, can be re-cleaned with 16 drops of plain chlorine bleach (without scents or additives) per gallon of water or water purification tablets.

For more information on emergency water supplies, please visit


FEMA suggests canned foods with high liquid content, non-salty foods (as they will make you thirsty and drink more of the limited water supply), and foods that are ready to eat. Food supplies may include canned meats, fruits or vegetables (don’t forget the can opener), granola or nut bars, jerky, dried fruits and more.

While an unopened fridge will keep food cold for around four hours if kept closed, picking up some dry ice or normal ice bags can help keep freezer and fridge items cold for a longer period of time.

For the ultimate in emergency food supplies, think about stocking up on MREs, or ‘Meals-Ready-to-Eat’, used primarily by military and emergency response teams. MREs include freeze-dried or non-perishable breakfasts, lunches and dinners that include a heating device. Meals can include chow mien, Chili, Pork and rice, pasta in marinara sauce, beef ravioli and more. Usually, MREs come with a snack, such as crackers, a side or dessert and the eating utensils needed.

Please visit FEMA for other food suggestions.


Supplies often forgotten may include formula or diapers for infants, vitamins, extra medications or a first aid kit, can openers, pet food and extra water for your furry friend, extra clothing and much more. Please visit FEMAs website for a full list of recommended emergency supplies kit.

During September, citizens can be part of FEMAs ‘America’s PrepareAthon!‘ grassroots campaign to increase emergency preparedness in the US. Please visit for more information about America’s PrepareAthon.

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