Could you survive on what’s in your pantry?

By Kathryn Dunmore, Canadian Red Cross

In case of emergencies, such as power outages, households should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days.

With any emergency, ensure your family has an emergency plan and emergency kit, as well as evacuation plans. Ensuring you have food to sustain you for at least three days is part of your emergency plan and we have tips to help plan for that.

Maintaining safety with food and proper storage during a power outage is important. In terms of refrigeration, a full freezer will keep food frozen for approximately 48 hours (a half full freezer keeps food frozen for approximately 24 hours) and an unopened fridge will keep food cold for four hours, says Health Canada.

It can be beneficial to ensure you have foods that don’t require refrigeration to rely on during emergencies. Make a plan to use shelf-stable foods during a power outage.
When it comes to pantry foods, do you have what it takes to survive for several days?

Before power outage:

  • Have shelf-stable foods that don’t require refrigeration
  • Have ready to use baby formula and pet food if needed
  • Have a handheld can opener
  • Have battery-powered or wind-up flashlight in a handy spot
  • Have an alternate source of heat
  • Check emergency supplies’ expiration dates

During power outage:

  • Don’t open fridge or freezer
  • If you use candles, don’t leave them unattended
  • Unplug electronics in case of power surge
  • Keep lights on, one inside and one outside, so you will know when power returns (as will any crews working outside)
  • Use a generator safely
  • Eat foods from your pantry to avoid refrigerated foods from spoiling
 Pantry Food Ideas:
  1. Tuna on crackers or wrap – buy some with flavouring or herbs already added to the cans
  2. Avocado on bread – it may not be toasted but it will keep you nourished
  3. Banana wraps – wrap a banana in a soft tortilla shell with some peanut butter, add raisins to taste
  4. Bean salad – pull out those canned beans and add some vinegar, maybe a dash of sugar, to make yourself a medley salad full of protein
  5. Chicken tacos – use canned chicken and add some canned corn, avocado and tomatoes for added zest
  6. No-bake treats – use peanut butter to make protein balls with little more than a bowl and spoon, get the kids involved for family snacking.
So, does your pantry have what it takes to keep you and your loved ones sustained in times of no electricity? Take a look now while you still have electricity.

Learn more about what to do before, during and after power outages.

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