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Your emergency preparedness stockpile: What you need to know

Emergencies — such as tornadoes, floods, storms, earthquakes or even disease outbreaks — can happen unexpectedly. You may be without electricity, refrigeration, clean tap water or phone service for days or weeks. In some cases, such as during a disease outbreak, you may be asked to stay home to keep safe. That’s why having an emergency preparedness stockpile is important.

What should I put in my emergency preparedness stockpile?

All Americans should have at least a three-day supply of food and water stored in their homes, with at least one gallon of water per person per day. If you have the space, experts recommend a week’s supply of food and water. Choose foods that don’t require refrigeration and are not high in salt. Your stockpile should also contain flashlights, a manual can opener, a radio, batteries and copies of important documents. Depending on your family’s needs, you may also need medical supplies, pet food, contact lens solution or diapers.

If it’s too expensive for you to buy everything for your stockpile at once, pick up one or two items every time you go to the grocery store. Stock up on canned vegetables or batteries when there is a sale. Bulk “club” stores can also help you save money on your supplies, especially if you split a case with a friend, co-worker or neighbor, who can serve as your “preparedness buddy.”

Once you’ve assembled your stockpile, put it where you won’t be tempted to “borrow” from it the next time you run out of batteries or need beans for a recipe. Remember: Your stockpile is for emergencies!

How do I store my emergency preparedness stockpile?

Get Ready Stockpiling Tip

It’s best to store your stockpile somewhere that is easy to access during an emergency. A cool, dark place is ideal. Be sure not to store your food close to any solvents or cleaners that can leak or transfer fumes, or in an area of the house that is at risk for flooding.

When it’s time to change your clocks for daylight saving time, check your emergency preparedness stockpile. Replace anything that is expired or missing.

Keep your supplies together in a box or plastic bin that can be kept tightly closed to protect contents from humidity or pests. It’s also handy to keep all your supplies together in case you have to evacuate quickly, such as during a hurricane. In a pinch, a laundry basket can make an easy storage container.

If you live in an apartment or small home and are short on space, be creative. Compact wrapping paper bins can be used to store canned food. Risers can make more space under the bed. Many people also have unused space behind or under the sofa. Have a dishwasher but don’t use it? Make the most of the empty space by storing your supplies there!

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