Safe handling of food and water every day is important to prevent the spread of illnesses. In an emergency the safe handling of food and water becomes even more important to keep people healthy in a situation that is more stressful than a person’s daily life. Situations such as flooding, tornado damage, power outages, and other emergency situations increase the potential for contamination.

The time to prepare for emergencies is before they happen. There are many things to consider when preparing your family for the possible emergency situations that you could encounter. You can start by making a list the different types of emergencies you might have to deal with in the area where you live. Next make a list of the essential items you need every day such as food, water, personal or family medication. How will you make sure that you have the essentials if the power goes out? What about if your house becomes flooded? What do you need to take with you if you have to evacuate? To get more information on planning for an emergency check out the Ready in 3 website.

Food safety during these events should be a very important part of your planning. There are fact sheets such as: Food Safety during Power Outages, and Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety-Severe Storms that have good information for helping you plan. Another source of food safety information in emergencies is the FDA’s Consumer Information website. You can also contact your Local Public Health Agency for planning advice.