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Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency

Posted by emprep.com on 4/7/2017 to Preparedness Tips

Did you know that a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power from high winds, snow, or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food? Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep food safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40 ºF and frozen food at or below
0 ºF.  This may be difficult when the power is out. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-full) if the door remains closed. Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for 2 days.

Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased. Having items on hand that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on the outdoor grill. Shelf-stable food, boxed or canned milk, water, and canned goods should be part of a planned emergency food supply. Make sure you have ready-to-use baby formula for infants and pet food. Remember to use these items and replace them from time to time. Be sure to keep a hand-held can opener for an emergency.

Consider what you can do ahead of time to store your food safely in an emergency. If you live in a location that could be affected by a flood, plan your food storage on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water. Coolers are a great help for keeping food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours-have a couple on hand along with frozen gel packs. When your freezer is not full, keep items close together-this helps the food stay cold longer.

Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometers and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at safe temperatures. Keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. When the power is out, an appliance thermometer will always indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer no matter how long the power has been out. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 ºF or below; the freezer, 0 ºF or lower. If you’re not sure a particular food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.

Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized. Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.

At www.EmPrep.com we have expanded our line of emergency food. We now have several brands of shelf stable dehydrated food that is easy to store, easy to carry and easy to make. During and after a disaster having enough food and water is essential. Having food that is nutritious is also key to you survival.  Emergency food supplements your normal household supplies and is available to take with you if you must evacuate.

 

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Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency

Did you know that a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power from high winds, snow, or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food? Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep food safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

 Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40 ºF and frozen food at or below
0 ºF.  This may be difficult when the power is out. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-full) if the door remains closed. Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for 2 days.

Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased. Having items on hand that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on the outdoor grill. Shelf-stable food, boxed or canned milk, water, and canned goods should be part of a planned emergency food supply. Make sure you have ready-to-use baby formula for infants and pet food. Remember to use these items and replace them from time to time. Be sure to keep a hand-held can opener for an emergency.

Consider what you can do ahead of time to store your food safely in an emergency. If you live in a location that could be affected by a flood, plan your food storage on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water. Coolers are a great help for keeping food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours-have a couple on hand along with frozen gel packs. When your freezer is not full, keep items close together-this helps the food stay cold longer.

Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometers and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at safe temperatures. Keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. When the power is out, an appliance thermometer will always indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer no matter how long the power has been out. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 ºF or below; the freezer, 0 ºF or lower. If you’re not sure a particular food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.

Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized. Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.

At www.EmPrep.com we have expanded our line of emergency food. We now have several brands of shelf stable dehydrated food that is easy to store, easy to carry and easy to make. During and after a disaster having enough food and water is essential. Having food that is nutritious is also key to you survival.  Emergency food supplements your normal household supplies and is available to take with you if you must evacuate.

Knowing Your Hazards at Home, Inspection and Remedies

Posted by http://www.emprep.com on 4/8/2017 to Preparedness Tipscopy_Empty_Shelves_in_a_Supermarket

Inspecting for Possible Home Hazards

An important step in earthquake preparedness is to inspect your home and its surroundings for possible hazards and then take action to lessen those hazards. Remember: anything can move, fall, or break during an earthquake or its aftershocks.

The following is a basic checklist to help you identify and correct possible home hazards.

Rooms in the Home

Look for the following hazards in each room:

  • Windows and other glass that might shatter
  • Unanchored bookcases, cabinets, refrigerators, water heaters, and other furniture that might topple
  • Heating units, fireplaces, chimneys, and stoves that could move or fall
  • Areas that could be blocked by falling debris

Securing Appliances

  • Secure your large appliances with flexible cable, braided wire, or metal strapping.
  • Install flexible gas and water connections on all gas appliances. This will significantly reduce your chances of having a major fire after an earthquake.
  • Brace and support air conditioners, particularly those on rooftops.

The typical water heater weighs about 450 pounds when full. In an earthquake, the floor on which it is standing tends to move out from under the heater, often causing it to topple. The movement can also break the gas, electric, and water-line connectors, posing fire or electric shock hazards, and can shatter the glass lining within the water heater.

Here are two suggestions on how to secure your water heater:

  • Wrap at least a 1 /2-inch wide metal strap around the top of the water heater and attach it to wall studs with 3-inch lag screws. Attach another strap about 2/3 of the way down from the top of the water heater. OR…
  • Wrap steel plumber’s tape around the entire water heater at least twice. Then secure the tape to two different wall studs with 3-inch lag screws.

Securing Items in the Bathroom

Replace glass bottles from your medicine cabinet and around the bathtub with plastic containers.

Hanging and Overhead Items

  • Inspect and anchor overhead light fixtures, such as chandeliers.
  • Move heavy mirrors and pictures hanging above beds, chairs, and other places where you sit or sleep. Otherwise, anchor these items with wire through eyescrews bolted into wall studs. Or place screws on both sides, top, and bottom of the frame and screw these into the studs.
  • Determine whether the full swing of your hanging lamps or plants will strike a window. If so, move them.
  • Secure hanging objects by closing the opening of the hook.
  • Replace heavy ceramic or glass hanging planters with light-weight plastic or wicker baskets.

Shelves, Cabinets, and Furniture

  • Identify top-heavy, free-standing furniture, such as bookcases and china cabinets, that could topple in an earthquake.
  • Secure your furniture by using:

“L” brackets, corner brackets, or aluminum molding to attach tall or top-heavy             furniture to the wall

eye-bolts to secure items located a short distance from the wall

  • Attach a wooden or metal guardrail on open shelves to keep items from sliding or falling off. Fishing line can also be used as a less-visible means of securing an item.
  • Place heavy or large objects on lower shelves.
  • Use Velcro®-type fastenings to secure some items to their shelves.
  • Secure your cabinet doors by installing sliding bolts or childproof latches.

Hazardous Materials

Identify poisons, solvents, or toxic materials in breakable containers and move these containers to a safe, well-ventilated storage area. Keep them away from your water storage and out of reach of children and pets.

Inspecting and Securing Your Home’s Structure

Examine the structural safety of your house. If your house is of conventional wood construction, it will probably be relatively resistant to earthquake damage, particularly if it is a single-story structure.

For information on structural safety standards and qualified contractors in your area, contact your city or county government office on community development or building code enforcement.

The following suggestions will take an investment of time and money but will add stability to your home. If you want to do the work yourself, many hardware or home-improvement stores will assist you with information and instructions.

Foundation

Check to see if your house or garage is securely fastened to the foundation. (If your house was built before 1950, it probably does not have bolts securing the wood structure to the concrete foundation.) If your house is not secured to the foundation, take the following steps:

  • Using a hammer drill and carbide bit, drill a hole through the sill plate into the foundation. Holes should be approximately 6 feet apart.
  • Drop a 1/2- x 7-inch expansion bolt into each hole and finish by tightening the nut and washer.

Beams, Posts, Joists, and Plates

Strengthen the areas of connection between beams, posts, joists, and plates using the following hardware:

  • “T” and “L” straps
  • Mending plates
  • Joist hangers
  • Twin post caps
  • Nails and lag screws

Pay particular attention to exposed framing in garages, basements, porches, and patio covers.

Roof and Chimney

  • Check your chimney or roof for loose tiles and bricks that could fall in an earthquake. Repair loose tiles or bricks, as needed.
  • Protect yourself from falling chimney bricks that might penetrate the roof, by reinforcing the ceiling immediately surrounding the chimney with 3/4-inch plywood nailed to ceiling joists.

Learning to Shut Off Utilities

  • Know where and how to shut off utilities at the main switches or valves. Check with your local utility companies for instructions.
  • Teach all family members how and when to shut off utilities.

Gas

  • An automatic valve (Earthquake Command System) is commercially available that will turn the gas off for you in the event of an earthquake.
  • After an earthquake, DO NOT USE matches, lighters, or appliances, and do not operate light switches until you are sure there are no gas leaks. Sparks from electrical switches could ignite gas, causing an explosion.
  • If you smell the odor of gas, or if you notice a large consumption of gas being registered on the gas meter, shut off the gas immediately. First, find the main shut-off valve, located on a pipe next to the gas meter. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the valve to the off position.

Electricity

After a major disaster, shut off the electricity. Sparks from electrical switches could pose a shock or fire hazard. Carefully turn off the electricity at the main electrical breaker in your home.

Water

Water may be turned off at either of two locations:

  • At the main meter, which controls the water flow to the entire property; or
  • At the water main leading into the home. (Shutting off the water here retains the water supply in your water heater, which may be useful in an emergency.)

Attach a valve wrench to the water line. (This tool can be purchased at most hardware stores.) Also, label the water mains for quick identification.