Storage Locations for Emergency Supplies
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "where should I store my supplies?"
Well, there is no single answer to that question because it depends on your location, what types of emergency supplies you have, how much supplies you have, how your emergency supplies are packed and what your abilities to store emergency and disaster supplies are.
The best we can do is give you some suggestions as to what we think about different locations to store your supplies.
However, a 72 hour Emergency and Disaster Survival Kit should never be hidden away in a rear bedroom, crowded closet, attic or basement. These kits are grab-n-go kits and must be accessible to take and evacuate at a moment's notice or you might be forced to leave your valuable supplies behind!
Basements should be dry and easily accessible to act as storage location for your emergency supplies. Insect and rodent control is a must-have to ensure your supplies will be available for you and the members of your family or group that depend on them and don't get spoiled. Always store supplies on shelves and keep them off the ground. If your house lies in an area that is in danger of flooding, then basements are not an ideal location. In such cases it is safer to store your supplies in an upper level floor of your house such as inside a pantry or closet.
When storing supplies in a garage, keep in mind that most garages are not insulated and depending on where you live in the country, temperatures inside the garage can fluctuate substantially. Extremely high temperatures can cause food spoilage, low temperatures such as freezing can cause containers that contain liquids to burst. Changes in temperature can also cause condensation within plastic packages that can cause products to spoil.
Structural Considerations when storing supplies in a Garage should be earthquake and hurricane safety as well as having multiple access ways. By design, most garages (especially two car garages) feature a large garage door opening which is a major structural weak spot. During an earthquake or high winds, the front portion of the garage can easily be moved sideways, causing the front to collapse. If the main garage door is your only access point, then you might not be able to get to your emergency supplies unless there is a second side entry door.
When storing supplies in a garage, make sure you keep them off the ground and treat your garage frequently against insects and rodents. Check your supplies frequently to ensure they are in good condition. Storing supplies in sturdy containers such as plastic pails or containers with tight lids is always a good idea.
Attics are usually difficult to access for humans but often easy to access for insects and rodents, so we do not find attics to be a good storage location for emergency supplies. Most attics also see substantial temperature changes during the course of the day which can significantly reduce the shelf life of your supplies.
Many parts of the country actually prohibit storage of food outside to keep wildlife away from residential areas and rodent infestations under control. In general, we do not think it is a good idea to keep emergency supplies outdoors where they will be exposed to weather and easy access by animals.
Sheds and Outhouses
Shed and outhouses should only be used if they are clean, dry, do not incur large temperature range changes and are safe against penetration by wildlife, insects and rodents.
In general, you want to keep your supplies as safe as possible to ensure they are available and in good condition when you need them the most.