As projections of Hurricane Irma's path show it coming toward Florida, it's time to check and double check your hurricane food and water supplies.
Keep the following in mind:
Hurricane food prep by the numbers:
- 1 gallon water per person per day (don't forget pets!). Don't forget - Your tap water is still safe to drink, it's only dicy after a power outage. Fill clean pitchers and water bottles now. Also, you can fill freezer bags with water and freeze them ahead of time. Just let them thaw in a water pitcher for clean drinking water.
- 3-7 days worth of food for each person (again - don't forget pets! Cat parents - grab extra kitty litter).
Hurricane food safety by the numbers:
- 4 hours: the amount of time a refrigerator will keep food cold.
- 24 hours: the amount of time a half-full freezer will hold its temperature.
- 48 hours: the amount of time a full freezer will hold its temperature.
- 40 degrees and below: the temperature a freezer item should still be at to be refrozen. If it still has ice crystals, it's also safe.
A few more food safety tips:
- Don't taste a food to determine if it's gone bad. If you're unsure of it, throw it out.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Check out this USDA website for more tips. >>
Food items to store:
- Tough-skinned fruits and vegetables: Citrus, carrots, apples, avocados, etc. Wash and dry them before the storm.
- Protein rich foods: Peanut butter, protein bars, unsalted nuts, trail mix, beans, etc.
- Smoked or dried meats and hard cheeses. (Nonperishable and goes well with a glass of wine!)
- Instant drinks: Shelf-stable milk, instant coffee and tea.
- Comfort foods: Cookies, hard candy, chips, crackers etc.
- Canned items: Meats, fruits (in juice), vegetables, soups, stews and chilis
- Condiments: You're going to need them to spice up those canned vegetables! Snag some hot sauces, mustard, oil, and vinegar.
Gather and clean cooking tools:
A manual can opener, appliance thermometer, pans or sheets that can be used on a grill, oven mitts, matches, cooking tools, grill fuel, moist towelettes, paper towels, gel fuel such as Sterno, a grill light or flashlight designated for cooking, pet food, paper plates and plastic utensils.
Post-storm grilling tips:
- Never use a grill inside a house.
- Make sure your grill is a few feet from your home and far away from awning overhangs, plants, etc. Never leave it unattended - especially around small children or pets.
- Use only approved accelerant fuels for charcoal fires - NOT gasoline.
- Charcoal briquettes need about 48 hours to cool before they're thrown out. Soak the charcoal in water before tossing.