How to Properly Stock and Rotate Supplies

Rations: How to Ensure You Have Enough Stocked Food

Disaster can strike at any time, usually when you least expect it. Here’s how to make sure you have enough stocked food to ride out any catastrophe. Whether you plan on riding it out in style with meals fit for a king, or making do with a modest budget, take the time to get everything in place.

How Much Is Enough?

Of course everyone wants to be prepared, should the worst ever happen. But how much food do you really need? Everyone seems to have their own opinion, this writer included. Many people say you need at least a three-day supply, while others firmly believe in stocking up with nothing less than a week's supply. Still there are those who scoff at anything under a month and some who won’t think twice about keeping a year’s worth of food ready at hand.

The truth is that the answer is complicated. Unfortunately there is no quick fix and no simple answer. Lucky for you, you’re taking the time to figure things out at your leisure, before the proverbial dirty diaper hits the fan. Here are some questions you need to consider in order to find what works best for you. When in doubt, play it safe and store a little more.

What Disaster Do You Anticipate?

Storing food for a thunderstorm and the accompanying electrical outage won’t require much in the way of rations since things usually get fixed within 48 hours. On the other hand, severe winter weather complete with power loss and travel disruptions can last up to a week or more; therefore more food will need to be stockpiled. Riots, nuclear plant malfunctions, and terrorism brings us further up the scale in terms of scope and impact of disaster, so you might want to keep enough food on hand for at least a month.

What’s Your Budget?

If you’re not planning to store more than a few days of food, or you have deep pockets, money won’t be an issue. Otherwise, a budget is not a luxury--it’s a necessity. Your plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if you can’t execute. But don’t think you have to get everything done at once. While it might be nice to have a whole year's supply of food on hand, your budget may tell you a different story.

Keep this in mind when you start shopping and keep things balanced. There’s no sense having 180 servings of assorted breakfasts and nothing else. Make sure that whatever you buy results in a complete emergency supply for a specific time period.

How Many People Will You Feed?

The number of people you plan on feeding during a crisis will directly impact the quantity of food you purchase. Obviously you’ll want to feed your immediate family, but what about other people that aren’t as prepared? Are you going to turn away friends, neighbors, or distant relatives?

Spoiled food is useless, so you need to have a plan in place to properly store and rotate your supplies so they can be used when needed. Some things will last for years and other stuff for just a few weeks, but nothing lasts forever. Always place new stock in the back so the oldest items can be accessed first. Numbering food packages consecutively is another option, allowing you to eat the lower numbered packages first. Check your stock every couple of months to verify nothing has spoiled.

Ensuring you have enough food stocked for any disaster isn’t rocket science. A little bit of careful thought and diligent planning ahead of time will help you to deal with the stress, should adversity strike.

Stephen Jeske is an avid outdoor enthusiast with a passion for coffee. He frequently writes on a variety of topics including personal security, privacy issues, and the importance of Intelius removal.

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