Saturday, October 27, 2012

Emergency Preparedness and Food Allergies

Pin It So, Hurricane Sandy is headed straight for our area and it has me thinking . . . are we prepared?  Preparing for emergencies is one thing, but when one or more family members have food allergies, preparing requires a bit more forethought.  The nice thing is that, with the exception of tornadoes, for weather-related emergencies we usually have ample warning and time to grab a few things at the grocery store.  First off, think about what kind of emergency are you preparing for?  Do you anticipate being without electricity or is there the potential that your family would have to evacuate?  Please know that I am not a disaster preparedness expert, so my list is not a complete one.  Its just meant to get you thinking about what you might need to do to prepare in case of an emergency.  Here's what I've come up with.

1. The Usual Stuff:  Create an emergency kit that can be used in the event that you are without electricity for more than a few hours.  When we built our kit, we purchased an emergency hand crank radio/flashlight combo.  This one also has a cell phone charger which could be really helpful should the power be out for an extended about of time. (BTW, be sure your cell phones are fully charged before an expected storm reaches you.) Be sure to have a simple first aid kit that includes enough items for your family size.  And of course you'll need a nice supply of flash lights and batteries.  We try to have at least one flashlight per family member - children feel much better knowing they can carry their own flashlight around a darkened house.  We love our battery-operated lantern because you can set it on a table and feel like you've got light in the room.  Its also great cause it lets you sit around the lantern and play family board games that don't get played nearly enough.  If you live where its cold, you'll want to collect some cozy blankets.

2. The Special Stuff:
FOOD:  Once you've gathered some basics, you'll want to think specifically about your family.  What will you eat and drink if the power is out?  Realistically, most Americans would be just fine to live a day or two at home with the food they have on hand, but its nice to think ahead and be sure your family will be taken care of.  If you are without power for more than a day, you may need to start eating from your fridge to avoid throwing out spoiled food (unless you've got a generator keeping your fridge cold).  Stock-up on non-perishables that will be easy and safe for your family to eat.  Try to choose items that your family will eat anyway, so that if an expected storm ends up passing by without causing much trouble, you won't have wasted money on food items you'll never use.  Here's my short list of food items I've stock up on for this coming storm.  
- Gluten-free crackers 
 - Peanut butter 
 - Gluten-free granola bars 
 - Gluten-free bread (I bought a loaf since I wasn't sure I'd have time to bake homemade bread
 - Corn chips and salsa 
- Fruit and Veggies - Think apples, grapes and carrot sticks which require no preparation. 
 - Cook some chicken:  I thought I'd bake a few chicken breasts and stash them in the fridge.  We can cut them in strips and make a cold chicken strip salad for dinner - no electricity needed.  
- Canned goods such as baked beans and tuna 
- A gallon of water - We have city water and don't anticipate loosing access to water, but it just seemed like the sensible thing to do (though one gallon of water isn't going to get a family of 5 very far - ha!). 
- Almond milk - the kind in the box is shelf stable.  I got a few because even my non-allergic   family can drink this. 
 - Gluten-Free Cookies - Since this storm is about a day away, I still have time to bake a batch of cookies.  I'm betting that will bring a smile to my kids' faces when I pull out the cookies during that family game time I'm hoping for.  You could also buy some store-bought cookies like Kinnikinnick sandwich cookies (yummy!). 
MEDICATION:  If you have family members who require medication, be sure you have enough of a supply on hand.
If you anticipate the need to evacuate, you'll need to bring along allergy-friendly foods.  Most of the things on the above list would be great to pack in a go-bag if you think you'll need to leave your home due to a storm.
This is by no means a complete list, but hopefully it will get you started on preparing in case you loose power or have to evacuate due to weather-related emergencies.  What other ideas do you have?  Please share them so we can all help each other to be prepared.

Here are a few more articles to help you think about preparing for emergencies:  Kids With Food Allergies Emergency PreparednessFEMA's Are You Ready Guide, and American Red Cross Plan.

Keep Safe!

This post is being shared at Better Mom MondayMelt in Your Mouth MondayGluten Free MondayMonday ManiaInspire Me MondayThis Week's CravingsSlightly Indulgent TuesdayFat TuesdayTraditional TuesdaysAllergy Free WednesdayHealth 2day WednesdayGluten Free WednesdayWhat's Cooking WednesdayCast Party WednesdayReal Food WednesdayFresh Foods LinkupWheat Free WednesdayFull Plate ThursdayDelightfully Inspiring ThursdayFrugal Food ThursdayGluten Free FridayFoodtastic FridayFoodie FridayFood on Friday


  1. I chose to make a lot of pasta and refrigerate it. Since the weather is supposed to be chilly during this storm event, I thought being able to make tinfoil noodle casseroles might be a warm food. (Put noodles, some type of sauce (spaghetti sauce/condensed soup) and a meat (pepperoni, ham, chicken) in tinfoil wraps and heat over fire or grill. Note for something to check for emergencies: propane for the grill.

  2. Great article! Living near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it's really important for us to be prepared for hurricanes. Eliminating wheat from my family's diet has definitely changes the things we'd like to have on hand. I'd love for you to share this post on my new blog hop, {Wheat-Free Wednesday}. Hope to see you there! :)

  3. Great ideas! We live in the center of the country, landlocked, yet we can have blizzards that knock out power and keep us housebound. The nice thing about that is we can keep things cold and don't have to worry about a fridge. And we can use camping equipment like our portable Coleman stove to prepare food.

    It's a good idea to think all of this through, especially with the allergy eating special needs. Thanks for linking this to Food on Fridays!

  4. This is a great list of preparedness! I hope you are all safe!

  5. I don't know how your area came through the storm, but our thoughts and prayers are with you and hope that you and your family are safe. Let us hear from you when you can.
    Thanks for sharing such a great post with Full Plate Thursday and we look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Miz Helen

    1. Thanks for your concern. We actually made it through the storm with very little damage, unlike many others just a bit farther east. Didn't end up needing the provisions we set aside, but that's just fine!

  6. one other thing i would add to that list: bourbon. it can sterilize things, fuel a camping stove and if all goes to hell - at least you can get drunk. ;)

    hope you are faring well!!

    thank you for sharing with the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! I looks forward to seeing you again this week with more wonderful seasonal & fresh/real food posts. xo, kristy.

  7. Hi Paige! Thanks for sharing at {Wheat-Free Wednesday} last week. Your post has been pinned to my Pinterest board and shared on my FB page. I hope you'll share again this week. The list goes live tonight:

  8. What a super important post! I updated and added to our "kit" this time around. They thought we'd lose power here in Ohio so I thought I better get supplies! With food allergies you certainly have to think alot different when it comes to being prepared! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) We had 101 awesome recipes! What a great resource we are creating!! Cindy from

    The winner of the Domata prize pack will be announced Thursday at the party!

  9. Great tips! Emergency Preparedness & food allergies is something that has had me stumped and is something that I am currently working on and thinking about.

  10. Bags of Rice cakes (also great for peanut butter) and a variety of fruit cups are good to add too. Lots of cereal and bars. I went through katrina prior to gluten free and all we could eat for weeks was mre's and whatever tents gave out! No power w boil water warnings...yeah. some stores closed for weeks... Now I'm gluten free and I tend to over prepare since then.


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