Be aware of food and water safety this hurricane season
During the hurricane season, residents must be prepared for different things. The Office of Disaster Management in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health would like to bring forth the following tips regarding food and water safety during a hurricane.
Make sure you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine if the food is safe. Make sure the freezer is at or below 0 degrees F and the refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees F.
Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out. If your normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will supply drinking water.
Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately. This helps keep them at a safe temperature longer. Group food together in the freezer. This helps the food stay cold longer. Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased. Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding. Make sure to have a supply of bottled water stored where it will be as safe as possible from flooding.
When the power goes out keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it’s important that the food is thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure that any food borne bacteria that may be present is destroyed.
Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source before eating. For infants, if possible, use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. When using concentrated or powered formulas, prepare with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated.
The hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.