Today we have a guest post written by Lee Flynn
3 Dangers To Food Storage And How To Avoid Them
People tend to think that disasters don’t happen very often, or at least only happen to someone else. Of course, to someone else, we’re all someone else. And have you turned on the news recently? Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, wars… do you really think that your little corner of the earth is going to stay safe forever? If you want to survive the disasters that are sure to happen sooner or later, you’re going to need to prepare. In many cases, this means having a well supplied food storage. But stocking up on water and rations is only a part of the equation, because once you’ve got everything you need, you then need to protect it. Here are three dangers to your food storage, and how to overcome them.
Just because something is called non-perishable, doesn’t mean that it will last forever. Canned goods only really have a shelf-life of about five years, at most, and Meals-Ready-to-Eat stay good for only about three years. Instead of relying on food that might spoil and leave you up a creek without a paddle, stick with freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, which last a good deal longer. Storing your food in the right place will also have a big effect on how long it lasts. That means that you should find someplace cool, dry, and dark. Also, make sure that the food is well packed in airtight containers, because exposure to oxygen can speed up the spoiling process.
Insects and other invertebrates are natural born food-storage thieves. They’re small, so they can usually get into any room or building that they want to. And guess what? they’d like nothing better than to burrow into your sack of flour and raise a couple thousand kids. But although you may not be able to keep these pests from getting to your storage room, you should be able to at least keep them out of the food. Store your food in secure plastic, metal, or glass containers, and be sure to clean up any spills as quickly as you can. Rodents such as mice or rats, and even larger mammals like raccoons pose a different threat. They might have a harder time breaking into the building, but with the help of gnawing teeth and dexterous fingers, they’ll have a much easier time getting into the food. Store all your food well off of the ground, and avoid using baited traps, as other pests might be attracted by the smell. Above all, be vigilant. Check your food storage repeatedly for signs of incursion. If you find damaged containers or infested food, discard it immediately, and replace it. Regularly clean out your storage area, and make sure to keep it free from crumbs and moisture that might catch the notice of uninvited animal guests.
No one likes to consider the possibility of having to defend their emergency storage from other human beings, but if a disaster occurs and food and water become scarce, then even the most kind and charitable individual will start fighting for survival. Looting has been known to happen regularly in the wake of disasters, and to a desperate and hungry person, there’s not much difference between robbing a grocery store and robbing a home. The best way to keep looters from taking your storage is to keep it secret. Only eat food at home, and never take it out into public where people might notice and be enticed by it. If possible, keep the area in which your food is stored locked, and keep the key well hidden. Don’t allow any strangers into your home, no matter how sorry you might feel for them, nor how friendly or harmless they may seem. And last but not least, be prepared to defend your food storage with lethal force, if need be. The thought of taking a human life over something like a few cans of stew or a jug of water is repulsive, but without that food, you or your family might starve.
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer, survival enthusiast, and food storage expert.