Storm Prep 2018: Gathering your supplies

We’re a month away from our annual hurricane season, and about to roll into the May 6-12 National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Whether you stockpile early – which is the best approach – or just want to take a closer look, this makes for a good time to check your food supplies, food preparation items, medicines, and more. And don’t forget the items you’ll need to keep those supplies safe and sound through a storm.

Here are some supplies to keep on hand:

  • Store at least 1 gallon of drinking water per day per person for at least 3 days
  • If you take medications, store 3 gallons of water per person and don’t forget to store water for your pets
  • Water for cleaning and hand washing
  • At least one portable cooler
  • Appliance thermometers: one in each refrigerator and freezer to monitor temperatures
  • Outdoor grill or camping stove with extra propane or charcoal
  • Hand/manual can opener
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil, paper bowls, paper towels, paper goods, and plastic items
  • Large and small plastic bags to dispose used items

For food storage, check off these items:

  • Shelve pantry food out of the way of flood waters
  • Make sure the refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Foods in an unopened refrigerator should be safe for about four hours
    • Foods in an unopened full freezer should hold their temperature for 48 hours
    • Foods in an unopened half-full freezer should hold their temperature for 24 hours
  • Before the emergency, set refrigerator colder than normal
  • Freeze containers of water to help keep food colder in your freezer, refrigerator and in any coolers
  • Freeze food items such as leftovers, milk, fresh meat and poultry prior to storm
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it contains ice crystals on its surface

For food safety, check off these items:

  • NEVER taste food to determine it is safe to eat
  • Sanitize food-contact surfaces with unscented bleach (4 teaspoons per gallon of water) – storing this solution in a labeled spray bottle will help for future use
  • Discard meat, poultry, eggs, and any perishable foods if refrigerator temperature has risen above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more
  • Discard any food that has come in contact with flood water
  • Discard cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers if they have come in contact with flood water
  • If in Doubt, Throw it Out! – Dispose of any questionable items

To prepare drinking water, if necessary:

  • Bring water to rolling boil and hold for at least 1 minute, then add 1/8 teaspoons (approximately 8 drops) of unscented bleach, and let stand for 30 minutes. NOTE: Unscented bleach typically is more potent than scented bleach, though each should be used carefully.
  • If water is still cloudy after boiling and treatment with bleach, add 1/4 teaspoon (about 16 drops) of unscented bleach and let stand for another 30 minutes. Water might have a chlorine odor and taste.
  • WARNING – Only boiling water destroys parasites. Treating with bleach will help control other harmful organisms. BOTH steps are necessary to ensure safe drinking water.

Building a supply kit – U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Food Safety for Consumers Returning Home After a Hurricane and/or Flooding – U.S. Food and Drug Administration
USDA Consumer Alert: Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency – USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
Safe Handling of Food and Water in a Hurricane or Related Disaster – University of Florida IFAS Extension
Preparing and Storing an Emergency Safe Drinking Water Supply – University of Florida IFAS Extension
Food and Water in an Emergency (PDF) – FEMA and the American Red Cross


Posted: May 3, 2018

Category: Disaster Preparation, Work & Life
Tags: Disaster, Hurricane, National Hurricane Preparedness Week, Pgm_FCS, Prep, Preparation, Readiness, Storm, StormPrep, Supplies

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