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Start New Year with Fresh Emergency Supplies
Missouri Ag Connection - 01/03/2018

This is the time of year when winter storms could confine the family at home.

That is why David Burton, a community development specialist University of Missouri Extension, says now is a great time to check on and update your emergency supply kit.

"Once you have an emergency kit together, re-check it at least once a year and update the food, water and other things. Making sure these things are in your family's kit will make everyone better prepared for those emergencies that can occur anytime," said Burton.

For starters, every kit needs water, food, a first aid kit, tools and supplies, clothing and bedding and special items.

"Plan to store lightweight foods that need no preparation or refrigeration. When buying items for the kit, make sure there are enough items for at least a three day supply and that you get items that family members enjoy," said Burton.

Recommended foods to include are ready-to-eat canned meats, soups, fruits, and vegetables; high-energy foods, such as peanut butter, crackers, nuts, health food bars and trail mix; comfort foods, such as hard candy or other sweets; dried foods, such as raisins, apricots, jerky, potato flakes, powdered milk; and prepackaged beverages.

Most of these food items should be replaced yearly, although powdered milk, dried fruit, crackers and potato flakes generally last only six months. Some foods maybe stored indefinitely, such as vegetable oils, baking powder, instant coffee, tea or cocoa, salt, white rice, dried pasta, and noncarbonated soft drinks.

"It would be helpful to date each food item with a marker and always pay attention to the expiration date, or sell-by date," said Burton.

When storing water for use with the kit, Burton recommends using a food-safe plastic container.

"Milk jugs are not recommended because they tend to leak and the caps do not seal well," said Burton.

It is a good idea to set aside at least a three day supply of water per person (allow about one gallon of water per person, per day). It is not necessary to treat the water before storing if it is treated commercially by a water treatment facility.

"Stored water needs to be replaced every six months. If you use bottled water, replace it at least once a year," said Burton.

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