Do you and your family have insurance against a potential disaster? No, not casualty insurance that covers you and your loved ones if you sustain a financial loss—do you have survivability insurance in the event you’re caught up in a widespread natural disaster or attack?
Today, more people than ever are concerned about what might be hiding just around the corner. Climate change is driving extremes in weather and it seems hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes are becoming more pronounced and more devastating.
Experts like geophysicists, NASA, and intelligence services are adding their voice to the maelstrom of catastrophe that the U.S. and Western world in general may face in coming years: a cooling sun accompanied by colder, longer winters; a more violent sun over the next couple of years that could knock out part—or all—of the electric infrastructure; or devastating volcanic eruptions and tsunamis causing widespread devastation in certain regions that are totally unprepared.
A large terrorist incident or military adventurism on the part of nuclear North Korea cannot be discounted either.
For those that believe they can count on neighborhood emergency services, the local or federal government, or private organizations like the Red Cross, look no farther than the response that followed Katrina, the firestorms of western and central Texas, the massive flooding of the Midwest, or the Japanese response to the triple punch of a mega-quake, tsunami, and three simultaneous nuclear reactor emergencies.
In all cases the response was slow, inefficient, and mostly ineffectual.
The hard truth is: during times of massive, extended emergencies, people must fend for themselves.
During the aftermath of a large disaster, one of the first things that will collapse into short supply is food. Planning now before any potential disaster hits could make the difference between an uncomfortable period of time or one that’s life-threatening.
Having cans of food on hand with shelf lives of up to two and three years is a good idea. And if you choose carefully, some soups are literally meals. Water is a given as well as dried and dehydrated foods.
Quite a number of companies have started up in the past several years that offer foods that can be stored for a decade or more. A quick check on the Internet will lead you to most of them.
But some foods you probably use every day can also be stored forever. Here are the top six:
Distilled white vinegar
Not just for cooking, distilled white vinegar can be used as a mild disinfectant, to deodorize and for cleaning.
Hardtack and pemmican
Both can keep for decades. Armies carried them and soldiers ate hardtack as an emergency provision during the Civil War.
One of the ultimate survival foods, edible honey has been found in sealed jars buried in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back thousands of years. Better than its almost infinite shelf life, honey is crammed with micro-nutrients and crucial enzymes.
Over years honey may crystallize, but it can be warmed an—if necessary—adding a bit of water will bring it back to its original viscosity.
A world staple, and for good reason: rice is nutritious, filling and keeps indefinitely.
The strains with the longest stability are: arborio, basmati, jasmine, white, and wild.
Although very nutritious, brown rice does not store a long time. It has more oil in the germ and spoils. It can also develop mold or fungus.
When storing rice make sure its kept absolutely dry.
Unopened, soy sauce will last virtually forever. It works well as a seasoning for many meals.
Something few may think of, yet cornstarch can be invaluable in times of food shortages. Added to soups and stews it can help stretch out supplies.
It must be stored in a cool, dry area.
Other staples that store indefinitely include sugar and salt, dried pasta, beans, and wheat.
Building up an emergency stock of food does not take long. It can be as simple as adding a few of the items you plan to put into long term emergency storage on your weekly grocery list.