Many residents of Humboldt County in Northern California remember the incredible power of the 1964 flood. Some lost everything, leaving their homes with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing. The town of Pepperwood, California, was completely washed away and never rebuilt. On December 21, the Eel River near the town of Fernbridge, California, was at a flood stage level of 22.4 feet. The following day it hit record height of 29.1 feet. On December 24, Christmas Eve, the water level was still high at 23.1 feet. Many residents left their homes in boats, either their own or those of rescue crews. According to one report, there were 24 deaths and over $239 million dollars in damages. No one was prepared for the speed and force of this flood.
One resident remembers entering a supermarket and seeing the shelves empty. The thought of not having any food had a major influence on his life. In a panic people had purchased as much food as possible leaving little to no food for others. He learned early in life the importance of food storage.
Most people who recognize the importance of being prepared start by developing a plan which will lead to self-sufficiency. They start by purchasing or assembling a 72 hour kit for each member of the family. Next, they begin to build their food storage, starting with the basics like grains and legumes. Then they expand their storage by adding a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and even meats.
One of the best ways to evaluate how well your food storage would serve you in an emergency is to use it. By incorporating your food storage into daily meals, you will become more familiar with how to use it and will gain more confidence. Some people have cooked meals using food storage for an entire day, weekend, or longer.
You will learn a lot about your food storage by using it for any amount of time. You may learn how easy it is to use your wheat and legumes. You may realize what you need to add to make your food storage easier to use during an emergency. You may find you need to store more milk, dehydrated eggs, yeast or baking soda. Or you may find that you need more variety in your storage and will want to store more freeze dried foods such as vegetables, fruits, and meats.
In addition, you will find out which recipes, foods, and cooking techniques work best. You will also find out which food items your family prefers or dislikes. It has been said that the most important tool to have in an emergency is knowledge.
Please remember the importance of variety in your food storage plan. It is recommended to store food from all food groups. Don‚Äôt forget desserts, snacks, and other " comfort foods". They are called "comfort foods" because they are able to bring comfort and normalcy even during an emergency. Be sure to plan accordingly for family members who have special diet needs or allergy restrictions.