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Power Outages: Food Supply Preparation

Preparing Food for an Emergency

If your electrical power is cut off, food in your refrigerator and freezer will spoil. It is wise to have some canned or packaged foods on hand that require minimal water, preparation, and cooking.

If you know that power may be out for a few days, plan ahead:

  • Use the perishable food in the refrigerator and freezer first.
  • Make extra ice.
  • Purchase freezer packs or fill clean plastic containers with water and keep them frozen for emergencies.
  • Buy a cooler.
  • Freeze water in plastic containers. Do not fill containers to the top before freezing, because the water will expand as it becomes ice.
  • Know in advance where you can buy dry and block ice. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice should keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer cold for three to four days.

For more information about what to do in the event of a power outage, see the power outage page.

Storing Food for Emergencies

  • Buy foods that can be eaten with little or no cooking.
  • Keep food in the driest and coolest spot in your home.
  • Close food boxes and cans tightly after use.
  • Wrap bread, cookies, or crackers in plastic bags or keep them in tightly closed containers.
  • Use plastic containers when storing food and buy emergency food in cans.
  • Keep clean plastic containers on hand to store one gallon of water for each person per day.
  • Have a special section of the food cupboard set aside for emergency food, so that it is easier to manage, and can be packed quickly if there is a need to evacuate.
  • Rotate food every six months.

Develop an Emergency Food Preparation Kit that Includes:

  • Disposable plates, forks, spoons, and knives
  • Disposable hot and cold cups
  • Paper napkins or towels
  • Manual can opener
  • Trash bags
  • Sterno heater, hibachi, or camp stove with five-day fuel supply
  • Matches in waterproof container
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Other utensils, i.e. cutting knives
  • Plastic sandwich or freezer bags for food storage