Some experts have drawn a distinction between emergency foods and survival food and yet most individuals and families do not realize a difference. The difference according to some is that an emergency is short-term, whereas a survival situation can extend for days, weeks or even months.
It is not this article’s intent to draw a distinction between the two but merely points out that some may see a difference. Keep in mind an emergency such as an unexpected blizzard can put you into a survival situation that can last for days.
Some of you may want to draw a distinction because it will make a difference in the types of foods you choose. Foods for a short duration would be different from foods you will have to eat for days or weeks.
Emergency foods are foods to get you through an emergency. Imagine you encounter a blizzard while traveling or commuting to work, and you end up stranded for 24 hours. You will need food, emergency food, food than can be eaten wherever you happen to be.
You may have heard of everyday carry items, items that can be placed in a briefcase, purse and satchel or even stored in your vehicle or office. You should have at least a 24-hour supply of emergency food in your everyday carry items. Protein bars, dried meats, MRE’s, trail mix and so on.
Emergency foods should be foods that can be carried, and eaten on the go. Certain emergencies may force you from your home for a short period such as rising rivers or other waterways and as a precaution, the local authorities may have issued an evacuation order.
Canned goods are considered standard emergency foods because a few days’ supply can be easily stored anywhere in the home and would be considered inexpensive. These foods will be heavy and bulky however, so do not expect to be able to carry anymore than two days’ supply for anyone person in a backpack if you have to evacuate.
Meals Ready to Eat MRE’s are another option for emergency foods, and because of the packaging, it is easy to carry a 72-hour supply in any backpack. MRE’s can be stored on the shelf up to seven years and be eaten right from the packaging. Each package is a complete meal, and is truly foods you can eat on the go because they come with eating utensils, snacks and condiments. Have MRE’s in your everyday carry bag, so if a disaster strikes while you are at work or traveling you have enough food for 24 hours, enough food to get you home on.
Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods while they can be used for emergencies are normally considered foods for long-term survival. These foods have an extended shelf life up to 30 years if unopened and each package contains a large number of servings.
Dehydrated as well freeze-dried foods will require water and a heat source to prepare the foods, both of which may be in short supply during an emergency. The foods can be removed from their original packaging and repackaged for traveling. Once again however to prepare the foods along the trail if you evacuate on foot or vehicle will require water and a heat source, it is important that you always keep this in mind.
When choosing emergency foods you want foods that require little to no preparation because you may be dealing with the emergency and simply do not have the time or resources. The foods should be such that if you have children they can open and eat the foods on their own.
Making sure you get enough calories is important. You will be under stress and your physical activity may increase considerably so calorie intake is crucial to maintain energy levels and mental functions.
Snacks food should not be considered emergency foods, but you can however have them on hand but should never be a replacement for meals. Use snacks as comfort foods to calm nerves and to fill in between meals. Avoid snack foods high in sugar or sodium and instead choose hard cheeses, unsalted crackers, nuts and popcorn. It is not so much the snack itself but just the concept of having snacks available can help relieve stress in children and adults.