The other day on social media, I shared a photo of some soup I was buying to help beef up my emergency food supply in the face of the coronavirus pandemic that is currently shutting down cities and travel (in China, Italy, etc.). I ended up deleting the post on Facebook (it still lives on IG) because there was sooo much arguing in the comments, including plenty of “stop panicking,” and one person even said I’m being an “alarmist.”
I had to stop and think … what about 8 whole cans of soup says I am panicking? So, I thought we could take the discussion over here on the blog where there is a lot more room for explanation and understanding.
Just for the record, I don’t think the world is about to shut down or there’s going to be a food shortage. But quite a few people out there are dealing with self-mandated quarantines (i.e. not allowed to go anywhere!) after inadvertently coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
So it’s not a bad idea to BE PREPARED with some supplies (as directed by our government, see below) in case you are quarantined and can’t leave your house for a couple weeks. Some commenters in Colorado said they were told to stock up just like a snowstorm was coming. I thought that was good advice!
This is the current recommendation from the U.S. government…
Before a Pandemic
- Store a two week supply of water and food.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
According to the Department of Homeland Security
Why This Is on My Mind
I started my social media post off by sharing that I was supposed to fly to California this week, but the trip was canceled because the large natural foods expo I was a part of (along with 85,000 other attendees) was no longer happening—on two days notice! I was planning on bringing my younger daughter on this trip and, because she has asthma (an underlying health condition), I had been almost obsessively researching all the latest coronavirus developments so that I could make an educated decision on if it was a good idea for her to still go.
I literally changed my mind every hour (I thought, we wouldn’t cancel our trip because of the flu, and many more people have that, but wait … the way this is being handled by the authorities seems a lot different than the flu!) until it was no longer up to me and the show was postponed.
If we had not been in this situation I would not have spent nearly that amount of time researching the virus and what may be to come. And when I started to read about people in Washington state who’d been walking around for weeks with the virus and it could not be traced to any international travel (i.e. was community spread), it became clear this could quite possibly get a lot bigger than some might think.
This personal impact in the face of COVID-19 gave me pause. I’ve never lived through a pandemic where I’ve been personally impacted like this, so it’s hard to say what’s to come. We do have a little bit of an emergency food supply for hurricanes, ice storms (welcome to NC), and such, but I thought maybe I should check our stash and add a few more things.
What’s in My Emergency Food Supply
As one commenter pointed out … when you eat mostly fresh, real food you don’t have a lot of canned soups and other non-perishable prepared foods on hand. I routinely make and freeze homemade soups, so canned soups aren’t something we buy on a regular basis.
I bought what’s pictured here, which is honestly for a “worst-case scenario” where I couldn’t cook or purchase ingredients weekly like we usually do:
I already had the following “just in case” soups on hand (that we have yet to use in an emergency!). Yep, we still like things clean and organic even in a situation like this:
We also have an extra freezer, and I have no reason to believe we won’t have power in a pandemic, so I feel comforted by our decent stash of frozen meats (and those homemade soups that I mentioned)! If we were in a different type of emergency situation where we might lose power (because of a storm) we do have a small generator that I made my husband buy a while back. Losing all the food in our freezer would be a BIG loss!
Lastly, we have a decent amount of dry goods (rice, beans, pasta, quinoa, etc.), and I am in the process of refilling the jars so everything is fairly full and stocked. These are items we’ll use no matter what:
In the event of needing any of this emergency food supply after a storm where power and other resources are affected, we do have a camping stove, a gas grill, and a wood-burning fireplace (and an outdoor fire pit) that we could use for alternate cooking methods.
I stocked up on a few extras for this particular (possible) medical emergency:
- Conventional wipes and sanitizers
While handwashing is always best, when you’re out and about that’s not always possible. We normally go with the all-natural stuff in this department, but I have been told that the hardcore stuff is all that’s proven to kill the virus that causes COVID-19 right now. And especially when I thought my daughter and I might be traveling, I wanted to be prepared. I still use and love natural sanitizers for all other occasions (i.e. normal life) and am honestly ready to return the conventional stuff unused to the store when all of this is over, LOL!
- Regular household items (toilet paper, soap, etc.)
I figured if I came down with a fever I would clearly not be out shopping and spreading my germs, so again, I just thought this was a good time to do a normal restock of household items. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a refill of all the items we normally use!
Again, all of this has simply encouraged me to take stock and in the process, I realized we only had one good thermometer (that’s probably 10+ years old, what if it breaks or dies?). And our one bottle of Ibuprofen expired in 2015, LOL. I guess we don’t take meds that often, and I felt bad offering one to a friend who was recently over and needed one. I figure now is as good a time as any to replace and restock those items!
- Jugs of water
We will also buy some jugs of water because the Department of Homeland security said it’s a good idea (although, I am honestly not sure why). We can always save it for the next possible ice storm if we don’t use it!
So, that just about sums up what I’ve done to prepare in the event of some kind of emergency (medical or weather-related). I certainly hope we don’t get stuck at home for any length of time, for any reason, and need all these things, but it does feel good knowing we are prepared just in case!
What are you doing to prepare (if anything!)?