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Tips for Handling Food Following a Disaster

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If any type of unexpected emergency strikes your community, you may not have access to fresh food, water or electricity for days, maybe weeks. This web page is a portal site that will provide you with useful information so you can be prepared when an emergency strikes, and know how to keep your food and water safe during and after an emergency. Remember, preparation is the key!

On this web page, we’re providing information by type of emergency, i.e., hurricane, flood, fire; and general tips for food and water safety in an emergency.

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Food Safety
  • FEMA: Build a Kit – Food Suggested emergency food supplies, cooking and managing food without power, and food safety and sanitation during emergencies.
  • Guidelines for what to throw out and what to keep in the refrigerator and freezer during power outages.
  • USDA: Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency. Guidance on preparing for an emergency; removing odors from refrigerators and freezers; and keeping food safety during storms, floods, fires and power outages.
  • USDA: Consumers Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes. Guidance on salvaging all-metal cans and retort pouches; cleaning and sanitizing pots, pans, utensils and counters.
  • USDA: FNS Office of Food Safety provides food safety education and training for school food service professionals and child nutrition program operators. Resource links include USDA Foods Program Disaster Manual, designed to help distributing agencies prepare themselves to respond to a disaster using USDA Foods.
Water Safety
  • FEMA: Build a Kit – Water Tips for storing water in preparation for an emergency.
  • FEMA: Managing Water Guidance on safe and unsafe sources of water and water treatment methods.
Hurricanes and Floods
  • USDA: Consumer's Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes (English and Spanish)
  • FDA: Consumer's Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes (English, Spanish, and French)
Page updated: October 10, 2023