Have my storm prep supplies expired?

You’ve put together your emergency supplies for your family, but (thankfully) it’s been sitting in the closet for a while. Instead of wondering whether that 5-month-old bag of dried cranberries is safe to eat or not, check out this list of storm preparation supplies that lets you know what to keep and what to toss.

Canned food
Keep it — that is, if you restocked your stash this year. Most canned foods have shelf lives of about two years after the processing date. If the expiration date is within the next year, move the food to your family’s regular pantry and eat up! If you overstocked and have enough canned food to last you for decades, consider donating the excess to a local food bank.

Bottled water
Keep it! The FDA considers unopened bottled water to have an indefinite shelf life. Although most bottled waters have expiration dates, those dates usually reflect taste and/or odor preferences. If your water has “expired” and smells or tastes odd to you, use the water to hydrate your plants (not you!).

If the expiration date is still a year away, you can keep them in your kit for next year. If not, re-purpose them! Use the batteries from your storm prep supply for any battery-operated toys or gadgets you’re gifting to the kids for the holidays, and purchase a fresh pack for your prep kit.

Extra medications
Unsure if you should toss expensive prescription meds? Here’s a quick guideline: If they’ve expired or look discolored, have a strong scent, or have turned powdery, it’s best to dispose of them and order more. To safely get rid of unused medicine, follow the directions on the label or take it to a local drug take-back center for proper disposal.

If the emergency clothes in your supply kit are still usable, leave them in for next year, or swap them out for others if you’d like to bring them back into regular rotation. If they no longer fit, donate them to a local charity. Be sure to update your children’s clothes often so your young ones aren’t wearing pants that are three sizes too small in an emergency!

Your home inventory list
If you haven’t looked at your home inventory list in a few years, take it out of your kit and get to work. Add items you’ve purchased since you last updated it, including major appliances and electronics. Snap photos of each new item for extra protection during the insurance claim filing process.

At Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine services the following communities: Bangor Brewer, Old Town, Ellsworth, MDI, Houlton, Waterville, Augusta, and surrounding towns in Central & Down East Maine.

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