Food and Water Safety During Hurricanes, Power Outages and
can happen. When they do, the best strategy is to already have a plan in place.
This includes knowing the proper food and water safety precautions to take when
you lose power or flooding occurs.
Follow these tips from the FDA
to help you stay safe and well during an
Food Safety Advice:
- If the
power is out for LESS THAN 2 HOURS, the food in your refrigerator and
freezer will be safe to eat. While the power is out keep the refrigerator and
freezer doors closed as much as possible. This will help to keep the food
colder for longer.
- If the power is out for MORE THAN 2
HOURS , follow the guidelines below:
- For the Freezer section: A freezer that
is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold
food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
- For the Refrigerated section: Pack
milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers
into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for
- Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs
or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more. A full list of
foods can be found on the USDA website. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/keeping-food-safe-during-an-emergency/CT_Index
- IF IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!
- Fight cross-contamination, which is the transfer of harmful
bacteria to food from other foods, cutting boards or utensils. Never place any
type of food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Cooking can be more difficult during a power outage. Remember to
thoroughly cook foods to avoid food borne illness:
- If you have one, use a meat thermometer to ensure that food
reaches a safe internal temperature. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165F,
Ground Meat (such as burgers) to 155F and fish to 145F.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled
and cooled or disinfected. Hand washing is critical in emergencies to prevent
sure you have an adequate supply of safe drinking water. If you don’t have
bottled water, you
should boil water to make
it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that
may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths, or
allow it to settle and then draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the
water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
- For more
information on emergency supplies, refer to the CDC Emergency response website http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters/