Tips on Food and Water Safety During Power Outages and Floods

Tips on Food and Water Safety During Power Outages and Floods

Here are some tips on the proper food safety precautions to take before, during, and after a power outage. Emergencies can happen, especially with extreme weather conditions. When they do, the best strategy is to already have a plan in place. This includes knowing the proper food safety precautions to take before, during, and after a power outage — and being prepared to safely handle food and water in the event that flooding occurs.

Prepare Yourself Before Power Emergencies

  1. Make sure you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer.
  2. Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers in case the power goes out. If your normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will also supply drinking water.
  3. Group food together in the freezer. This helps the food stay cold longer.
  4. Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.
  5. Purchase or make ice cubes in advance, and freeze gel packs ahead of time. Store all of these in the freezer for future use in the refrigerator or in coolers.
  6. Check out local sources to know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased, in case it should be needed.
  7. Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  8. Make sure to have a supply of bottled water stored where it will be as safe as possible from flooding. If your bottled water has an odor, do not drink or use it. Instead, dispose of it, or if applicable, call your bottled water provider to make arrangements to get a replacement.

During an emergency, if you use food or beverage containers to hold non-food substances like gasoline, dispose of them after use and do not recycle them.

Download Full FOOD FACTS guide from the U.S. FDA

FOOD FACTs: Food and Water Safety During Power Outages and Floods PDF