Last week, my family and I weathered a severe ice storm that may have required us to move to a shelter or hotel. We live in the northeast, where we have suffered severe winter weather storms, single digit or negative temperatures as well as wide-spread power outages. During the storm, our electricity went out, and it quickly started to get very cold in our house.
We began calling hotels in the area. All the local hotels were completely booked due to wide spread power outages in our county. The temperature was in the single digits and I knew we could not spend the entire night in our house without electricity to heat our home.
It was at this point that going to a local shelter became a real possibility. Then I realized we would have to pack food for both my daughters and myself. My daughters are allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds. I have Celiac Disease and must follow a gluten free diet. It is doubtful that a shelter would be able to provide special food for the three of us. I started to feel overwhelmed! What would the girls and I eat if we had to go to a shelter?
Every family that has a member with food allergies should have a Food Allergy Emergency Food and Supply Kit. If you live in an area that may require a fast evacuation, then this emergency kit should be packed and ready to grab and go.
What should a Food Allergy Emergency Food and Supply Kit contain? I started thinking of all the items that I would need to keep my family and I warm, fed and safe during a power outage.
Listed below are my recommended items for a Food Allergy Emergency Food and Supply Kit.****
Inhaler for asthma
Wipes for washing hands, faces or contaminated surfaces
Any medication taken on a daily basis - both OTC and prescriptions
First Aid Kit
Other basic medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, cough syrup, cough drops, etc.
Non perishable foods (this will vary depending on what food your family member is allergic to)
Grains - bread, crackers, cereal, granola, granola bars, cereal bars, pre-made muffins, bagels
Produce - canned or jarred olives, jarred pickles, canned fruit, applesauce, canned vegetables
Treats/Snacks - chips, pretzels, cookies, fruit snacks, candy
Juice boxes or juice pouches
Rice milk or soy milk drink boxes.
Food storage bags
Other Helpful Items (not related to food allergies but necessary for emergencies)
Manual can opener
Flashlights, camping lanterns, candles, lighters
Change of clothing for each family member
Medical benefits card
Written doctor names and phone numbers
Written contact information for family members
Car cell phone charger
Activity books, pencils, paper, crayons, puzzles, travel size games
Glassses, cases and cleaners
Cash and credit cards
Photo ID card
Sleeping bags and pillows
Wood (if you have a fireplace)
Full tank of gas in your car
Lucky for us, our electricity was restored quickly and we did not need to relocate to a shelter. Should we be in this situation in the future, I will be much more prepared thanks to my Food Allergy Emergency Food and Supply Kit.
What additional items would you include in your Food Allergy Emergency Food and Supply Kit?
****Please note, I am not a disaster emergency expert. I compiled the above Food Allergy Emergency Food and Supply Kit based on my own experience with food allergies and natural disasters as well as consulting the references listed below. While some of the items listed in the Food Allergy Emergency Food and Supply Kit are basic items that everyone would want in their kit, other items will vary according to what food allergies your family has.
Kids With Food Allergies, retrieved on 2/13/14 from http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=171&title=food_allergy_disaster_emergency_plan_preparedness
American Red Cross, retrieved on 2/13/14 from http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240199_A4497.pdf