Local 4 Experts prepare you for any kind of disaster

DETROIT - Local 4 Experts Ruth Spencer and Dr. Frank McGeorge have teamed up to do a taste test of emergency food and how to get clean water.

Ruth to the Rescue's survival taste test

Is your family prepared for a disaster? Whether it's a power outage, tornado, or Michigan blizzard, you never know when a crisis could hit. We found several companies offering emergency food kits that could feed your family during a disaster. We wondered what was inside, and how it tasted.

The Cost of Survival

A quick Google search brought up companies like emergencyfoodwarehouse.com and wisefoodstorage.com. The prices range from a few hundred to almost ten thousand dollars. The larger ones include water, water filters, and survival kits.  We focused on a more basic package from Costco.

The Emergency Food Supply we bought claims to have 203 servings to feed 4 people for 72 hours. It included meals like creamy potato soup, rice and broccoli, and a vegetarian meat substitute.

Taste Test

We asked some fellow Local 4 employees who were willing to taste some of those meals. We added water and heated them up.

Meteorologist Paul Gross tried the soup and said, "I mean it's not awful. I don't know that I would serve this to company."

Other folks liked the flavor, which had a hint of onion. Terri Turpin-Amato of the promotions department called it "pretty good."

While assignment editor Corey McIsaac said, "Oh sure, I would totally eat this in an emergency."

The vegetarian meat substitute looked a little less appetizing to our volunteers.

Sale account executive Lauren O'Brien said, "I will pretend I'm on an episode of the Fear Factor and give it a whirl." However, she was pleasantly surprised and added, "Eating it, the texture's not bad actually, I think if it were maybe in a taco shell, maybe with some sauce on it."

McIsaac was less of a fan, she told Ruth to the Rescue, "The meat is definitely more emergency food."

The Costco package cost $57.99. It also includes a water filtration bottle and fire disc for an emergency heat source.

Clean water is No. 1 priority

When preparing for a disaster, large or small, one of the most important considerations is having adequate water and food on hand.

John Snider, the emergency preparedness coordinator for Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, says "You absolutely need water, you can go quite some time without food but you do need about a liter per day per person just to maintain your normal health."

While water may be available, in a serious disaster, if you don't have a way to heat or purify it you will quickly find yourself in trouble.

According to Snider, while there are easy to find devices allowing you to strain and purify water on demand, the best thing is just to store some in your home. He suggests clear plastic juice containers washed out once in the dishwasher. 

Snider recommends heavier plastic, "if you don't get a substantial container if you use something like a milk jug or some cheaper plastic containers you're going to have the plastic leech into the water." He adds, "it's going to make the water taste bad and it could actually be unhealthy for you." Generally everyone should store at least a three day supply of water.  One gallon per person per day is a safe estimate.

Once you have clean water, food is important to prevent hunger and keep your energy up.  The minimum requirement is based partially on your weight and partly on your activity level.  A good rule of thumb as a minimum, "if you're 100 pounds you're going to need about 500 calories of food," Snider says.

Keep in mind, in a disaster, while a balanced diet is helpful it isn't a top priority. "Your body will consume whatever carb you put in and you can go a couple days without hitting your fruits and vegetables and the recommended diet that we all should be eating normally," Snider adds.

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