Wow, have I bitten off more than I expected with this "prepping" thing! I knew of course it existed, but I had no idea of its breadth. My plans were to bring some of this to your attention with my short posts, and I still will, but know that if you want more info, there are websites everywhere that can advise you in intricate detail if you want to actually prepare further. Here are just the highlights:
Immediately following a massive power failure (see my previous two posts for some background) your primary concern should be having enough food and water to outlast the emergency. The experts advise having enough food on hand for you and your family for at least two weeks, and preferably three or four weeks. Eat your refrigerated foods ASAP as they will ruin within a half day or so, depending on the ambient temperature outside.
They say a 200 lb male will need somewhere between 2700-3400 calories per day, perhaps more if he's very active. A 140 lb female will need between1900-2400, and more if she's very active. Or you could take the opportunity to lose some weight. *wink* You should also allow 1-2 gallons of water per person per day.
It seems to me people living in rural areas would have an advantage here. They can have large gardens to provide veggies for canning, and chickens to provide eggs and such. Fishing is always an option, too. But even they would have trouble processing a hog or a cow as they would have no freezers to keep the meat in. They might could smoke it or salt cure it, but those are almost lost arts today. The vast majority of us living in cities have even fewer options.
More appealing to the palate (mine at least) are freeze dried foods, the kind you take on backpacking trips. They're available at outdoor shops like REI, have a long shelf life, and are easy to store, but can become VERY pricey.
Most of us would probably opt for simple canned goods. They can be purchased in case lots from Costco and Sams, or any grocery store. The variety is almost endless, and can include canned vegetables, soups, meats, and fish. Other non-perishables like peanut butter, nuts, crackers, etc. should also be included.
Canned goods have a limited shelf life (preferably stored at around 65 degrees), so be sure and keep an eye on their expiration dates. Regardless of your preferred style of emergency food, and I'm now thinking a variety of all the above might be the best choice, keep in mind the caloric content you will need.
Don't forget to have an old fashioned can opener on hand, and collect in advance all the small packets of condiments, Tabasco, etc that you can. They can make an otherwise 'meh' meal actually tasty.
And also don't forget to have adequate food for your pets, too. Changing their diet abruptly to your human food can cause them serious problems. Don't!
Storage is an issue, particularly with water. At, say 1.5 gallons per person per day, and a family of 3, for three weeks, that would be 94 gallons! A couple of cases of bottled water won't cut it. All these options need space, like a dedicated closet. I've advocated "living small" for some time now, but in this case it just might just come back to bite me.
Regarding water, experts say at the first sign of something amiss you should fill up your bathtub and any storage bottles you can find for future use. Also, your water heater can be drained for potable water in a pinch. No water treatment is needed (so they say) if you are storing chlorinated water from a public water supply, but if it isn't chlorinated, you should add a few drops of bleach per gallon of water. (Look online for instructions.)
Now think of this moral issue: What would you do if you were all settled in, enjoying plenty to eat, but you knew your neighbors next door, including their children, were hungry? Would you share? I would. If you agree, you might plan ahead and put away some extra for others, too.
That's enough for now. More some other time.