Hurricane Preparedness Part 2

Hurricane Preparedness Part 2

Cooking and eating habits must change to fit the situation during a power failure.  You may have no heat, no refrigeration, and limited water.  In addition, health risks from contaminated or spoiled foods may increase.  Follow these instructions when preparing food during a power outage.

Conserve Fuel

Choose foods that cook quickly if you have limited heat for cooking.  Prepare casseroles and one-dish meals or serve no-cook foods.

Alternate cooking methods:

  • Fireplace - You can cook on skewers; wrap food in foil and place in the hot coals, cook on a wire grill over the flames; or you can cook over the flames in heavy cookware such as cast iron or heavy aluminum. A Dutch oven is probably the best piece of cookware, because it can be used for baking, boiling, stewing or pan frying.
  • Outdoor Grills - Foods can be cooked on outdoor grills, but use the grills outside. Do not use them in a closed area, not even a garage.
  • Fuel-burning Camp Stoves or Charcoal Burners - Use these cookers outdoors only. Fumes from these can be deadly.

Conserve Water

  • Substitute liquids from canned vegetables for water in cooked dishes. (These liquids should not be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours.)
  • Drain and save juices from canned fruits in refrigerator. Substitute these for water in salads and beverages.

Observe Health Precautions

  • Boil (for at least 10 minutes) water used in food preparation.
  • If you are without refrigeration, open only enough food for one meal.

Cooked vegetables, meat and meat dishes should not be left un-refrigerated for more than two hours, including preparation and serving time.  Do not keep these dishes overnight without refrigeration.

If necessary, substitute canned or powdered milk for fresh milk.  Canned milk keeps safely for no more than two hours after the can is opened.  If you are using canned milk to feed a baby, however, open a fresh can for each bottle.  Use only boiled or disinfected water to mix powdered milk.  Use powdered milk immediately after it is mixed.  If safe water or water-disinfecting materials are not available, use canned or boiled fruit juices instead of water.  Prepare and eat foods in their original containers if possible.  This will help if dishwashing facilities are limited.


How much water do I need?
You should store at least one gallon of water per person per day.  Additionally, in determing adequate quantities, take the following into account: 

  • Individual needs vay, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.
  • Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
  • Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.

How should I store water?
To prepare safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water.  Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it.

If you are preparing your own containers of water It is recommended you purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores to use for water storage. If you choose to use your own containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles - not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them.  Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them.  Cardboard containers also leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids.  Also, do not use glass containers, because they can break and are heavy.

If storing water in plastic soda bottles, follow these steps
Thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.  Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of one teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water.  Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces.  After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.

Filling water containers
Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water.  If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add  anything else to the water to keep it clean.  If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water.  Tightly close the container using the original cap.  Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger.  Place a date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it.  Store in a cool, dark place.  Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.