Be Prepared: Make sure you have an emergency supply of food and water

Hopefully none of us will experience a devastating weather event, but would you be ready if a natural disaster or other emergency situation happened? Most of us have experienced power outages from a storm. These outages usually don’t last longer than a few hours. But would you be prepared if you had to go without water and electricity for a few days?


September is National Preparedness Month and we are encouraged to take time this month to prepare our homes and families for unexpected emergencies.


According to, you should have an emergency supply kit with at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable foods for each person in your household. (Water and food are just two components of the kit – click here to find out what else you’ll need.)


 When money is tight, it may be difficult to stock up on food and water to store for a later date. The tips can help creating your household’s supply kit more manageable.

1. Take your time. Instead of purchasing all the foods at once, buy one or two items to set aside each month throughout the year.  Use a marker to write the expiration date on the label.  This will make it easier to rotate your stock and maintain an unexpired supply of food.

2. Cash on hand.  Set aside a few dollars each month to have some cash on-hand during the power outage.  ATMs do not work without electricity and just a few dollars might come in handy to purchase ice or other items.

3. Search for sales. Take advantage of sales and coupons to stretch your money. Stock up on non-perishable items when there’s a great deal. You can use some of the items now, and save some for your emergency stash.

4. Use your EBT card. You can purchase most food and beverage items using your FNS/SNAP benefits.


 When selecting food for your kit, pick foods from all the food groups. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Fruit: canned peaches and pineapple, applesauce, raisins, and canned juices
  • Vegetables: canned green beans, corn, peas, and tomato/vegetable juice
  • Meat/Protein: canned meats, such as chicken, tuna and salmon; canned beans, peanut butter, and nuts
  • Bread/Grain: dry cereal, crackers, granola bars
  • Dairy: dried milk or non-perishable pasteurized milk products


To learn about other resources that can help you prepare for a disaster visit North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Disaster Information Center at