Pre-Storm To Do List


When a storm is coming:

  • Check/re-stock your emergency food and water supply; make sure supply is not out of date.

Keep on hand a few days worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling, which depend on electricity.

  • When shopping, be sure to pick up a gallon or two of plain, unscented chlorine bleach

This can be used as disinfectant for sanitizing containers for holding water, cans of food that may come into contact with flood waters, and even to disinfect water if needed.

  • If you do not have them already, purchase thermometers for your refrigerator(s), freezer(s) and a digital food thermometer.  Make sure you have a hand powered can opener.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer temperature down (don’t forget to turn it up later)…normal temperatures for the freezer is 0 °F or below and the refrigerator is at 40 °F or below.  Turn them down a few degrees.
  • Make sure you have refrigerator and freezer thermometers in place (so that you know what temperature your food storage area reaches during an outage).
  • If your freezer is not full, fill the spaces with containers filled with water.  You can use this ice to keep foods in the freeze or in the refrigerator or coolers cold when the power is out.  If you use clean, food and freezer grade containers, you can then use the water as it melts.  A full freezer will keep foods colder longer.  Bags of ice would work, but they are likely to melt faster.
  • Group food together in the freezer—this helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Find out where to buy block and/or dry ice—and read up on how to use dry ice safely.
  • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately-this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
  • Make a plan for using/sharing perishables first during an outage.
  • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Make sure you have enough water on hand for drinking (highest priority), cooking (making coffee, tea, instant cereal, etc.), pets, handwashing, cleaning, and flushing toilets (this does not have to be drinkable water).
  • Have a gas or charcoal grill? Purchase enough fuel for several days and don’t forget the matches.

Do you want to read more about this?

Information from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Information from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

American Red Cross:  Prepare your Home and Family

Amercian Red Cross - Tools and Resources for disasters