If an earthquake, winter storm or other disaster ever strikes Mariposa County, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for days, or even weeks. By taking a little time now to store emergency food and water supplies, you can provide for your entire family.
Health Department Emergency Preparedness
Support and Aid for Everyone
The S.A.F.E. Program has been developed to identify our special needs in the event of an emergency or disaster in Mariposa County. To learn more about the program click here
If activity is reduced, healthy people can survive on half their usual food intake for an extended period and without any food for many days. Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely, except for children and pregnant women.
If your water supply is limited, try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and don't stock salty foods, since they will make you thirsty. Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
You don't need to go out and buy unfamiliar foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves. In fact, familiar foods are important. They can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress. Also, canned foods won't require cooking, water or special preparation. Following are recommended short-term and long-term food storage plans.
- Keep food in the driest and coolest spot in the house--a dark area if possible.
- Keep food covered at all times.
- Open food boxes or cans carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use.
- Wrap cookies and crackers in plastic bags, and keep them in tight containers.
- Empty opened packages of sugar, dried fruits and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight cans to protect them from pests.
- Inspect all food containers for signs of spoilage before use.
Short Term Food Supplies
Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supply for two weeks, you should prepare a supply that will last that long. A two-week supply can relieve a great deal of inconvenience and uncertainty until services are restored.
The easiest way to develop a two-week stockpile is to increase the amount of basic foods you normally keep on your shelves. Remember to compensate for the amount you eat from other sources (such as restaurants) during an average two-week period.
You may already have a two-week supply of food on hand. Keeping it fresh is simple. Just rotate your supply once or twice a year.
Special Considerations to Keep in Mind
As you stock food, take into account your family's unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking are best.
Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular attention, as will babies, toddlers and the elderly. Nursing mothers may need liquid formula, in case they are unable to nurse. Canned dietetic foods, juices and soups may be helpful for the ill or elderly.
Make sure you have a can opener and disposable utensils. And don't forget nonperishable foods for your pets.
Fresh safe drinking water tops the list of survival resources. Did you know that fresh drinking water makes up less than 3% of the earth's available water resources? Yet, most Americans take fresh drinking water from the tap for granted. Try living without tap water even for just a few days and you can better understand just how dependent Americans are on fresh drinking water available at our fingertips.
How much water do you use? The average person currently uses over 50 gallons per day — and that does not include water used in dishwashing (another 20 gallons), laundry (another 25 gallons), or lawn and garden care. It is virtually impossible to store enough water in or around the typical urban home to provide long-term household water usage requirements.
How much water do you need? We recommend storing a minimum of one gallon per day per person-approximately thirty gallons - per month for drinking and life maintenance. Water storage is fairly simple - with the exception that it is both space-intensive and weight-intensive.
Depending upon how long you think your water supply may be interrupted, you have several options.
Use water already stored in your house. If water services are interrupted, your hidden water supplies may last a family of four about two weeks. Such sources include your water heater (40-75 gallons) toilet tank (2-3 gallons each, plumbing pipes (3-5 gallons). If you fill up your bathtubs on the eve of the crisis, you will get 15-20 gallons per tub. The longer the crisis is extended the more water needed, therefore, we suggest that you store additional water. After storing an emergency or life-sustaining supply, have one or more water treatment devices or systems so you can turn practically any water you can locate into drinking water. Water outside your house. The next place to find emergency drinking water on your property is within hoses, basins or other liquid containers, or your hot tub or swimming pool.
You may become the neighborhood hero with between 15,000-30,000 gallons of water that can be purified for drinking.
Alternate sources of water. Rain and snow water may be collected in clean buckets and barrels and used without treatment. Additional water sources include rivers, springs, creeks, and some ponds, but they must be treated prior to drinking. Be sure to have these alternative water sources tested before the crisis hits, so you can make sure it can ultimately provide safe drinking water.
Short Term Storage
Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is fairly cool--not above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and not below freezing. To protect boxed foods from pests and extend their shelf life, store the boxes in tightly closed cans or metal containers.
Rotate your food supply. Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker. Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.
Your emergency food supply should be of the highest quality possible. Inspect your reserves periodically to make sure there are no broken seals or dented containers.