Smart people prepare in advance and don’t wait until an emergency strikes to gather in necessary supplies. These same well-prepped and responsible citizens maintain their emergency disaster supplies so all items are in-date and working, if and when they are needed.
Many items in your kitchen, bathroom, and first aid medicine cabinets have a specific shelf life – after this date, the efficacy of the herb, cleanser, medicine or other formulation deteriorates or becomes weaker. In a lot of items, like a sealed box of crackers, this is not a serious concern, but other items, like a fire extinguisher, must be kept properly charged so it can be there at the ready when a fire has to be put out.
Check Expiration Dates
Medicines, from prescriptions you’ve stockpiled to over-the-counter pain relievers, have use-by dates that you should check, so you can rotate your stock and don’t end up with out-of-date medicine that is useless or dangerous in an emergency situation.
Borrowing from Stockpiled Emergency Supplies
If you occasionally raid your emergency supplies for “just this once” needed item instead of running to the store – and then don’t replace the supply stock — you may be setting yourself up for problems if, and when, an emergency hits and all you have are picked-through supplies. The rule in my house is if you “borrow” it, replace it within three days so it is not forgotten. It’ll be much easier to drop by the store on Saturday, than try to get there in the middle of a flood or winter snowstorm.
Pray for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
Supplies we keep on hand are only good if kept up to date and usable. Just because you buy a quality product and add it to your stash of prep supplies does not mean the quality will remain until you need it. Some chemicals change over time, sticky stuff loses it’s ability to hold, antiseptics separate and weaken. About every six months, supplies need to be physically inspected and, likely, some things will have to be pulled out and replaced. The key is to pull them before they are worthless and use them up and replace them with new products. It’s a win-win situation with using perfectly good, just aging, products that are being replaced with new ones.
- Check expiration dates
- Check containers for signs of spoilage or leaking liquids
- Check adhesive quality on bandages and sticky tapes
- Look for items missing – “borrowed” supplies
Don’t Let Your Emergency Supplies Be the Weakest Link!
Keeping emergency supplies up-to-date can mean the difference between capable competence and just not having what you need during a time of stress when an emergency of disastrous proportions strikes. You want to be working at 100% when disaster strikes, so don’t let your emergency prep supplies be a weak link in your chain of preparedness.
Have you inspected your emergency disaster kit supplies lately?