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food and water

Handling food and water in an emergency

It’s important to handle food and water safely for the health and protection of you and your family. If you lose electric service, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Each time the door is opened, heat enters and speeds the thawing process.

Food will stay frozen between 36 and 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer with the door closed. If the freezer is only half full, the food will generally keep for 24 hours. A freezer full of meat usually stays frozen longer than a freezer full of baked goods. During the winter, you can keep food fresh for a longer period by storing it in a cold place outside your home, such as an unheated garage or tool shed.

If you find it necessary to heat or cook food, use your fireplace, an outdoor grill, or a can of Sterno® placed in a proper holder on a fireproof surface. Propane-burning camp stoves should only be used with proper ventilation, and charcoal must be burned only outdoors.

Water service to many homes is supplied by electric pumps that pump the water directly out of the ground or, in the case of large apartment buildings, pump it to a tank on the roof. If your water service depends on electrical equipment, take the precaution of filling spare containers with water for cooking and washing.


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