Emergency Preparedness Resources – Food

When a disaster occurs, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for days, or even weeks. Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for your family. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Avoid salty foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.
  • Store food items that are familiar, rather than buying special emergency food. Consider any dietary restrictions and preferences you may have.
  • Ideal foods are: Shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), low in salt, and do not require cooking (e.g. canned fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, jam, low-salt crackers, cookies, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, protein or fruit bars, canned soup or meats, canned juices and non-fat dry milk).
  • Mark a rotation date on any food container that does not already have an expiration date on the package.
  • Include baby food and formula or other diet items for infants or seniors.
  • Store the food in airtight, pest-resistant containers in a cool, dark place.
  • Most canned foods can safely be stored for at least 18 months. Low acid foods like meat products, fruits or vegetables will normally last at least 2 years. Use dry products, like boxed cereal, crackers, cookies, dried milk or dried fruit within six months.
  • After a power outage, refrigerated food will stay cold longer if you keep the door closed. Food should generally be consumed within 4 hours. Food in the freezer will normally remain safe for 2 days.
Click here to return to the main page and find out how you and your employees can be prepared for an emergency. You can also learn what to do in response to a specific disaster.