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NC State Extension

Disaster Preparedness

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice storms and other natural disasters can cause power outages or water damage that can put refrigerated, frozen and dry foods at risk. This page provides resources for how to handle food when disaster strikes.

Preparing for a Power Outage

  1. Purchase or locate thermometers. Place a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer; have a tip-sensitive digital thermometer ready to check food temperatures. Foods that can support the growth of pathogens (like cooked vegetables, cooked and raw meats and cut melons, leafy greens and tomatoes) are riskier after being held above 41F for more than 4hrs.
  2. Check stock of refrigerator. Purchase or prepare food items that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on an outdoor grill.
  3. Store or purchase water incase case water systems are impacted resulting in boil water advisories. Use bottled/clean water for everything from brushing teeth, cooking.
  4. Prepare coolers and purchase ice and dry ice. Use dry ice to extend the amount of time food stay below 41F. Freeze containers of water for ice or purchase ice.

Preparing for Winter Storms

Disaster Resources and Information – English

Infosheets- Food



Videos- Food

Recursos e información – español (Resources and Information – Spanish)



For more information on disaster preparedness in North Carolina, visit the NC Disaster Information Center.