As a resident of South Mississippi, I think it is officially time to stock my swine flu/tornado/hurricane/foreign invasion pantry. How do I do this without filling it with a bunch of processed crap, but still manage to stock away flavorful and nutritious staples?Every section of the country can be subject to a regional disaster. Based on the history of FEMA (Andrew and Katrina in particular) it will be AT LEAST 3 days before the .gov can provide you with water, let alone anything else.
I am always surprised - living in Florida - that when a hurricane warning is issued people descend en masse on the grocery store to buy canned goods and bottled water. (Not to mention the Big Box stores to buy plywood for windows.) Hurricane season starts very soon.
1. Canned goods last a long time - buy them at the beginning of the season. And you don't have to limit yourself to canned goods. As this article mentions, rice and beans keep a long time. Couscous and Bulgar wheat do too.
2. I have two, five-gallon Jerry cans for potable water. (I also have 40 gallons of water in the boats tanks but that is another story.) Tap water won't kill you if you have to drink it in an emergency.
And don't limit yourself to canned goods available only at your local store. They aren't your best bets. There are companies that cater to the Amish (or supplied by the Amish) that can meat. You can find these via the web - search for canned meat. They have much higher quality than I can find locally. The problem is finding small enough portions - some of the cans will feed a large family. The quality is high enough, I don't mind cooking with when I have to rotate stocks. I use Werling and Sons, because they will sell me portions I like, and food I like.
You can find canned bread in the baked bean section of you store. (Swear to God.)
You probably have 40 gallons of potable water in your water heater. Getting to it might be a problem.
For lighting/cooking etc. make sure you have gas/charcoal/whatever for you grill. Do you have camping supplies? Also check out this link for other goodies along these lines. (Will your house be habitable?)
Consider that you may have to drive, or walk, out of the disaster zone. (Have you seen the photos of highways during an evacuation? Is there a better way?) Backpack. Good shoes.
So are you ready?