THURSDAY, July 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As Hurricane Arthur
threatens the East Coast of the United States, people are getting
an important reminder about safety preparations they need to make
for hurricane season.
Power outages and flooding are common when a hurricane strikes
and could put your food supplies and drinking water at risk,
according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
That's why the agency recommends keeping emergency supplies of
food and water stored in your home. The recommended amount of water
is one gallon per person per day, or 12 gallons for a family of
four. This should last for three days. You should use store-bought
bottled water and keep it in a dry, dark place.
Your emergency food supplies should take into account the
dietary needs of your family. You should routinely check the
expiration dates of these foods and replace them if necessary.
It's also important to make sure you have a sufficient supply of
prescription medications for any family members who require them
because after a serious storm, it may be some time before
pharmacies can open again, the FDA said.
If you have pets, be sure to have an emergency supply of food,
water and medicine for them.
If the power goes out, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors
closed. Food in an unopened fridge is safe to eat if the power is
out for less than four hours. Food in a freezer is safe for 48
hours if the freezer is full or 24 hours if it is half full.
If the power is still out after four hours, transfer food in the
fridge to a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Throw out any
perishable food that has been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two
or more hours, the FDA said.
If there has been flooding, do not eat any food that is not in a
waterproof container if there is any chance that it came into
contact with floodwater. Inspect canned foods and throw away all
cans that show signs of damage, including swelling, leaks,
punctures, holes or rust.
If possible, give infants only ready-to-eat formula. If only
concentrated or powdered formula is available, prepare the formula
with bottled water or water that has been sterilized. Ensure that
the bottles and nipples are clean.
For drinking water, use bottled water that has not been exposed
to floodwaters. If bottled water is not available, boil water for
one minute. Let the boiled water cool and store it in clean
containers with covers, the FDA said.
If you can't boil water, use household bleach. Add 1/8 teaspoon
(8 drops) of regular, unscented liquid household bleach per gallon
of water. Stir well and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before
you use it.
If the water is cloudy, filter it through a clean cloth or allow
it to settle and draw off the clear water for disinfection.
If your well has been flooded, have it tested and disinfected
after the floodwaters recede, the FDA said.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about