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How can I store and prepare food safely in an emergency?

If a natural or man-made disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for some time. Nevertheless, if you have access to food, it's important to look out for potential food hazards:

  • Avoid canned goods that have become swollen, dented or corroded.
  • Keep your hands clean. It's one of the best ways to keep from getting sick. If soap and running water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gels or wipes to clean hands.
  • Inspect all food for signs of spoilage before use. Throw out perishable foods, such as meat and poultry, that have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • If there's a power outage, eat food in the refrigerator first, the freezer next and finally from your stored supplies.
  • If you heat food in its can, be sure to open it and remove the label before heating.

When cooking during an emergency, make sure to use grills or camp stoves outdoors to avoid smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Use them more than 20 feet away from your home. Never leave open flames unattended.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.