2022 Hurricane Preparation Guide

2022-05-18 Hurricane Guide

Hurricane Preparation

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Page 39 of 47

Page 40 STAFF REPORT During a hurricane emergency, leave the refrigerator and freezer plugged in and turn them up to the coldest setting, as they can maintain food-preserving temperatures for up to two days after power has been lost. Open the refrigerator and freezer only when necessary to maintain food preserving temperatures for as long as possible. Use dry ice in the freezer if it is available. After placing the dry ice into the freezer, cover the freezer with blankets, quilts or some other insulated covering. Be sure the covering does not obstruct any air ventilation openings, as the power may go off unexpectedly and ventilation in the freezer will be needed. It will also help to put crumpled newspapers between the freezer and the covering. Avoid contacting the dry ice with skin. Use paper or gloves when handling the dry ice to avoid a severe burn. If the freezer stops working, the food in the freezer will stay frozen depending on: • The amount of food in the freezer. A full freezer will stay cold many hours longer than a freezer only one-quarter full. • The type of food in the freezer. A freezer full of meat will not warm up as fast as a freezer full of baked food. • The temperature of the food. The colder the food, the longer it will stay frozen. • The quality of the freezer. A well-insulated freezer will keep food frozen much longer than one with little insulation. • The size of the freezer. The larger the freezer, the longer the food will stay frozen. The following steps should be taken in the event the freezer stops working: Estimate how long the power will be off to determine how long the food will stay frozen. With the freezer closed, the food in a fully loaded freezer will usually stay frozen two days. If the food is in a freezer with less than half a load, it will probably not stay frozen for more than a day. If the food is stored in the freezer at home, refreeze the food quickly by turning the temperature control on the freezer to the coldest setting once it is operating again. Clean the freezer before refilling it. Place the warmer packages against the refrigerated surface, if possible, but stack them so air can circulate around them. After the food is well-frozen, turn the temperature control to its usual setting. If the freezer is too full, move some of the colder packages to the refrigerator, and return them to the freezer gradually. THAWING AND REFREEZING Foods that have been frozen and thawed require the same care as foods that have never been frozen. Use refrozen food as soon as possible. Partial thawing and refreezing does reduce the quality of foods, particularly fruits, vegetables and prepared foods. Red meats are affected less than many other foods by partial thawing and refreezing. Food that has thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or if it is still cold — about 40°F — and has been at this temperature no longer than one or two days after thawing. Thawed fruits can be refrozen if they still taste and smell good. Fruits usually ferment when they start to spoil. A small amount of fermentation will not make fruits dangerous to eat; however, it may spoil their flavor. Care should be taken in determining whether thawed meat and poultry should be refrozen. Meats and poultry become unsafe to eat when they start to spoil. Therefore, each package of food should be examined before determining whether it should be refrozen. If the color or odor of the thawed food is poor or questionable, dispose of it, as it may be dangerous to eat. If refreezing the thawed food is not possible, canning it may be the only practical solution for saving most, if not all, of it. Freezers and food during a storm SHUTTERSTOCK A packed freezer will stay cool longer after a power outage. Also, consider filling empty, plastic bottles with water and freezing them. That also will help keep a freezer cool. STAFF REPORT After a storm, don't risk losing your health to contaminated or spoiled food. The following foods are safe if you wash and sanitize their con- tainers before use. Also wash, sanitize and peel fruit or vegetables be- fore eating or cooking. FOOD TO USE • Food in undamaged tin or aluminum cans. Be sure to wash and sanitize the food con- tainer before opening the can. • Potatoes • Citrus fruit • Apples and other fruit. Do not eat raw varieties. FOOD TO DISCARD Do not attempt to save the following foods if there is any chance they have come in con- tact with floodwater or other contamination: • Opened containers and packages. • Unopened jars and bottles with paper seals, such as those containing mayonnaise or salad dressing. • Containers of spices, seasonings and flavorings. • Flour, sugar and coffee in canisters. • Paper, cloth, fiber or cardboard boxes, even if the contents seem to be dry. This includes salt, cereals, pasta products, rice and any "sealed" pack- ages of crackers or cookies within a larger paper box. • Dented, bulging or leaking tin cans. Cans that have been tossed about and are found far from their usual storage spot. Seams on these cans may have been weakened or their seals broken, causing contamination or spoilage. • Jam or jelly sealed with paraffin. • Containers with non-sealed, fitted lids, such as cocoa or bak- ing powder. • Commercially bottled carbonated beverages, if the cap is crusted with silt. • Foil or cellophane packaged foods. • All fresh vegetables and fruit that do not have a peel, shell or coating that can be re- moved before use, such as leafy vegetables. Also, fruit with dam- age at the stem end that would allow water to contact the inside. • Fresh meat, fish and poultry that has been in contact with flood waters. • Home-canned foods, even if the jar seems tightly sealed. What to eat and what to trash after a storm PHOTO PROVIDED Don't eat food from dented, bulging or leaking tin cans. Seams on these cans may have been weakened or their seals broken, causing con- tamination or spoilage.

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