How often do I need to refresh or rotate my stockpile?
It’s best to check your emergency preparedness stockpile once or twice a year. If you need a reminder, take a lesson from APHA’s Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks campaign. When it’s time to change your clocks for daylight saving time, take a look at your emergency preparedness stockpile. Discard anything that has expired or is leaking or damaged. If you’ve borrowed items from your stockpile, make sure to replenish them. Place the newer items in the back of your stockpile and rotate the older items to the front. You can even use stickers to mark the dates when you added supplies to your stockpile.
Don’t forget to check the batteries in your smoke detectors as well when you change your clocks!
How can I tell if the supplies in my stockpile are still good?
The easiest way to tell if your foods are still usable is expiration dates. Bottled water can go bad eventually, so look for the stamped date on your water containers. Experts recommend rotating your bottled water supply every six months.
Sometimes canned foods don’t have expiration dates or have dates that aren’t legible. So how to tell if the food is still good? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, high-acid canned foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit and pineapple can be stored for a year to 18 months. Low-acid canned foods such as meat, poultry, fish and most vegetables will keep two to five years if stored properly.
Beyond expiration dates, you should physically examine the contents of your stockpile to make sure they are still fresh. Check that none of your boxes or food containers have signs of pests or have been crushed or have opened. On cans, look for rust, bulging, punctures, dents or leaks. Never eat any food if its packaging or contents has come into contact with flood water or has been in a fire. Look for leaks or corrosion on batteries and dispose of them carefully, recycling them if possible.
For more tips on creating your emergency preparedness stockpile, visit www.getreadyforflu.org/clocksstocks