Disaster Preparedness: Protecting Food During Power Outages

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Hey Everyone,

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and other natural disasters can cause power outages or water damage that can put refrigerated, frozen, and dry foods at risk. This page provides resources for how to handle food when disaster strikes. Please consider the following recommendations.

  1. Purchase or locate thermometers. Place a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer; have a tip-sensitive digital thermometer ready to check food temperatures. Foods that can support the growth of pathogens (like cooked vegetables, cooked and raw meats and cut melons, leafy greens, and tomatoes) are riskier after being held above 41F for more than 4hrs.
  2. Check stock of refrigerator. Purchase or prepare food items that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on an outdoor grill.
  3. Store or purchase water in case water systems are impacted resulting in boil water advisories. Use bottled/clean water for everything from brushing teeth, cooking.
  4. Use dry ice to extend the amount of time food stay below 41F. Freeze containers of water for ice or purchase ice.

Read more at Disaster Preparedness.  Resources on this page are also in Spanish.

Written By

Vince Webb, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionVince Webb, Jr.Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Vince E-mail Vince N.C. Cooperative Extension, Guilford County Center
Posted on Feb 18, 2021
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