Saturday, September 8, 2007

Expired Preparedness Kits

Go ahead, look in that closet with your emergency preparedness food/water. When was the last time you changed it. If you happen to notice the bottles of water are from Food Lion, and your local store has been a Bloom for quite some time now... probably time to change it out.

How often do you turn over the items in your kit? And how often SHOULD you be?

For those with pets, you should do the same for their kits. And those with elderly or neighbors that need assistance, you might check on their kits as well.

In the event of a disaster, the entire neighborhood can only depend on those couple of families that stock their entire basement with supplies from Costco/BJs/Sams club (you probably know who those neighbors are). Not to mention, those families might not be so quick to share what they have.


  1. Folks,
    A "Terry's rule of thumb" for checking on your disaster supplies-check them every time the time changes. Set your clocks back an hour, replace the batteries in your smoke detector and check on your disaster supply storage.Another nice thing is that you can donate rotated but still usable foods to your local food bank,

    Here's some other "terry tips" for you; you might find these useful.
    If your'e storing disaster preps, the operative words here are "COOL" and "DRY". Store your preps in a cool place; if your'e storing in a basement make sure your basement is not humid.humidity can easily destroy bags of rice; bags of beans you may have stored and the like.Dry pet foods are particularly succeptible to moisture damage if left in their original packaging. (A tip for you-use shrink wrap to seal a pet food bag,this prevents moisture from getting, it maintains it's shape, which is perfect for stacking in tight spaces) Water, if bottled and unopened can be rotated out every two to three years or so. (Terry tip-do not store water in plastic gallon milk jugs.These containers are designed to be bio degradeable and your stored water will taste like milk.Yuk!)
    If you store water purification tablets in addition to bottled water supplies(and you should!) pay close attention to the expiration dates on the bottle AND ensure that any unopened bottles still have tablets in them (instead of a pile of "dust" at the bottom of the bottle which happens when moisture gets into the bottles).If the water purification tablets are no longer in tablet form throw them out.Oh, big thing here-buy foods for your prep storage that you ACTUALLY LIKE TO EAT.
    If you buy the military MRE's(meals-ready to eat, also known by some as "meals-rejected by everyone") for prep storage they store best in temps of 60 degrees or less but do not freeze them! (IE a cool but dry basement)-these things can last up to 10 years or more if stored properly.They actually maintain their nutritional value past that; but small issues like palatability (whether you can stomach eating them or not) come into play.
    Datrex survival rations can last 5 years in cool dry environments. Items like bags of rice, beans and the like are best stored in airtight containers.Properly stored these foodstuffs can last 7 years or more. Go to big lots, buy some rubbermaid containers and put your bags of rice and beans in those. If you want to ensure that those items will stay moisture free in that container;buy some silica gel dessicant bags (available online and at camping stores)and place one in each container.Replace them every 6 months to ensure the rice or beans stay viable.
    By the way,Jack Ledgerwood sent us a good link for buying prep supplies, it's . They sell food supplies for disaster prep storage and I've bought from them; nice folks to deal with.
    Things like cans of coffee (buy the plastic cans-they won't rust) can be stored as is; run a band of duct tape around the lids to ensure they don't come off.If your'e storing metal cans of food; inspect them regularly. If the cans swell up, throw them away.
    Medications stored need to be checked religiously every 6 months; a super idea is to keep copies of current prescriptions with these same meds.This is particularly important with the elderly;(the elderly are sometimes on one med for a month, and possibly another med the next).In a disaster you might need to prove you actually take the med you're trying to get; a pharmacist who doesn't know you is unlikely to refill a prescription just because you shoved a bottle across their counter.
    Remember to keep some cash in your preparedness items. If there's no power then there's no ATM's...Banking will be disrupted to say the least. Keep small bills in your prep bags; a disaster is not the time to figure out someone can't break a 20 for you. Keep ones and fives in your bags.
    A good post Andrew, and hopefully these ideas will help those checking and making disaster preparations. Remember, we are CERT's. In a large disaster we'll be counted on by our friends and neighbors to help. Smart preparations on the part of CERT's mean our jobs will be less difficult in those times of disaster.
    CERT 14

  2. Another Suggestion. At the end of November each year, the Boy Scouts have a Scouting for Food drive. Why not empty all of the food items from your EP supplies and donate them to the Scouting for Food drive. That way your supplies are always fresh and none of the supplies go waisted. Most of my supplies are canned goods simply because they taste better than the "lemony" and 'soapy' stuff Terry tested!


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