After the Event
NEVER USE CHARCOAL INSIDE YOUR HOUSE OR GARAGE!
The smoke and fumes are deadly.
After the storm, check the listing of Generator Ready Businesses posted to this Web site for grocery stores, home improvement stores and other locations that are most likely to be open quickly after a storm to sell food, ice, water and other essential items.
Power outages can take from a few hours to days to be restored to residential areas. Without power or a cold source, food stored in refrigerators and freezers can become unsafe. Bacteria in food grows rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and if consumed, could make someone sick.
Keep food in covered containers.
Keep cooking and eating utensils clean.
Keep garbage in closed containers and dispose outside.
Keep hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected.
Throw away all food that was touched by flood water – including home-canned food. Throw away any wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers. There is no way to clean them if they came into contact with contaminated flood water. Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
Discard food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more.
Use ready-to-feed formula, if possible, for formula-fed infants. If ready-to-feed formula is not possible, use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. If bottled water is not available, use previously boiled water. Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding.
Thawed food usually can be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.” It can be re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals. To be safe, remember, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
For recipes using shelf-stable foods from your emergency supply kit, check out Recipes for Disaster.
If there has been a fire in your home during a storm or other emergency, follow these food tips:
- Throw away all food that has been near a fire. The heat of the fire, smoke, fumes or chemicals used to fight the fire can damage food. Food in cans or jars may look okay, but heat from a fire creates germs that ruin food.
- One of the most dangerous parts of a fire is sometimes not the fire itself, but poisonous fumes that come from burning items. Throw away any raw food or food in packaging such as cardboard, plastic wrap, screw-top jars, bottles, etc. that were stored outside the refrigerator.
- Food stored in refrigerators or freezers can also become contaminated by fumes. The refrigerator seal isn't airtight and fumes can get inside. Chemicals used to fight the fire contain toxic materials and can contaminate food and cookware.
- You can decontaminate cookware exposed to fire-fighting chemicals by washing in soap and hot water. Then submerge for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon chlorine bleach per quart of water.
Updated May 2017