I was reminded that September is National Preparedness Month in the USA. I had noticed articles about it but I wasn't sure I could post anything here since it is still hard to do research. (My eye is slowly getting better, though!)
However, I have written over 220 Pantry Lifestyle posts alone, not including any Stocking Up posts I did before that. So I looked through my archives and tweaked this post from last September that has info I would write if I did so today.
I know so many people who still feel that leading of God to stay prepared for emergency situations, or at least have a deep pantry as food insurance, so I truly believe it is still important. We live in uncertain times and it is not a lack of faith to be prepared.
Whether you keep extra shelves of food items you use on a regular basis, deepen your pantry by home canning, or purchase long term storage food that has a twenty-five year shelf life... it is smart to deepen the pantry and have some basic emergency supplies on hand.
Here is the original post, tweaked for 2018:
I've been asked what is the difference between a regular pantry and an emergency pantry. Well, in a lot of ways they overlap. The regular pantry is the heart of the kitchen as it is where the food is stocked up (especially on sale) that you need for your everyday food preparations.
It may also hold extras of other basics you need such as coffee filters, paper towels, etc. I have a very basic (and not very deep) pantry for meals, a baking pantry in the yellow vintage cabinet, and I have had a cold & flu pantry set aside in a Rubbermaid style container.
I consider extra paper products, dish washing soap, liquid hand soap (I wash my hands a lot when cooking it seems), disposable plates, kitty food, and such... all a part of the pantry. Some families would include items like disposable diapers, hygiene supplies, etc..
The basis for my pantry is what I need to have on hand to prepare meals, do some baking, and take care of the house. It is mostly the same all year but there are some seasonal items.
An emergency pantry is what I have on hand given circumstances when it won't be possible to go to the store... from a possible snowstorm to TEOTWAWKI (which no one can really prepare for).
Part of my regular pantry would be utilized in such an emergency. All of it if there is power or an alternative way to cook. Some things I keep on hand for emergencies assume there is no way to cook other than building a fire outside or on the grill. Since I live in the country, that is an option. Hopefully not in January.
Items I have on hand for an emergency situation would have little need in normal times unless I choose to use them. For instance, I have oil lamps that are essential in an emergency but just nice to have in the darker months of the year. I have a NOAA weather radio that can be used as a... radio.
I have a very good Berky water filter that we did use when we didn't have a built in under the sink filter. It was purchased in the 1990s so when I had a little extra money last year, I used it to replace the old filters. I could have done a whole lot of things with the money but having the new filters gives us a practically new water filter to use... just in case.
It is a good idea to keep a duffel bag stocked with items that are easy to grab and take with you in case of emergency. This bag would also hold copies of important papers and legal documents.
Where you live will also make a difference as to your emergency pantry. Where I live, chances are high that any emergency would require staying home. If you live near a fault line or in an area that has seen floods or wildfires before, you need to add very well prepared bug out bags for each of your family and pets.
Your age and circumstances make a difference, too. There are only two of us at home now (well, three if you count the one with fur) so both pantries are different than they once were. We always make sure there is extra kibble or we would be in trouble. ;)
For an emergency pantry, I'm trying to collect Mountain House pouches again to have on hand since they have a long shelf life and are easy to use. But their prices have increased a lot. All emergency type food costs have increased. I guess I can't be surprised when it seems like the world has gone crazy.
Honestly, entire books are written about the subject of an emergency pantry but I think that answers the question. Regular pantry... regular life. Emergency pantry... what you are in an emergency situation such as bad weather in your area or when transportation is shut down even when the emergency is not local.
We can't prepare for everything. Most of us have neither the space nor the finances to do so. But it is far better to have some rice and beans put in a Tupperware style container than nothing at all. So often we do nothing because we cannot do everything. That is human nature. Not smart but still human.
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Mountain House six pack of pouches as those shown... here. Although the cost has gone up significantly in single packages (at least it had when I originally wrote this), I did some research and found by buying a box of one type of item at a time, the price is still what it used to be.
It isn't as fun as buying one pouch of a few different breakfasts or dinners to try but the way to go on a budget. Their products also come in a #10 can, which works well if you have a larger family. These products are used by backpackers, mountain climbers, etc. so there are a lot of comments on Amazon by those who use them regularly.
Having a way to purify water is important and Big Berky has long been considered the granddaddy of the water filters. It was a pricey purchase back when my husband was still working in the 1990s but it got a lot of use and two new filters practically make it new again. Info... here. There are good smaller filters that I have not tried. This is the kind of product you can use daily if your tap or well water needs filtering.
For 2018, I will add this link to the National Preparedness Month website, it has a lot of good information and further links to research... here.
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Image: USA Today