Natural Disasters and Severe Weather
Food may not be safe to eat during or after an emergency.
During a power outage, store food safely:
- While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Add block ice or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity is expected to be off for more than 4 hours. Wear heavy gloves when handling dry ice.
Identify and throw away food that may not be safe to eat:
- Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.
- Throw away food that has an unusual odor, colour or texture.
- Throw away perishable foods (including raw or cooked meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk) that have been above 4° Celsius for two hours or more.
- Throw away food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda pop bottles), twist caps, flip tops, snap-open, and home canned foods if they have come into contact with floodwater because they cannot be disinfected.
- Throw away canned foods that are bulging, opened or damaged.
- If cans have come in contact with floodwater or storm water, remove the labels, wash the cans and dip them in a solution of 1 TBSP of bleach in 1 litre of water. Re-label the cans with a marker.
For more information on what to do with your food during a power outage, please visit the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture website at:
Food safety after a power outage
Saving food when my power is off
- Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding. Mothers who are breast-feeding should keep warm, eat well, drink plenty of fluids and snuggle babies close to them.
- For formula-fed infants, use ready-to-feed formula if possible.
Preparing powdered or concentrated formula:
- If ready-to-feed formula is not available, use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. Check the bottled water for nitrates and sodium and choose a product with the lowest possible sodium and nitrate content.
- If bottled water is not available, use boiled water. Bring the water to a rolling boil for at least one minute.
- If you do not have bottled or boiled water, you can disinfect the water yourself by one of the following methods:
- Add six drops of newly purchased liquid household bleach (unscented, 4-6% chlorine) per gallon (4.55 Litres) of water. Stir well. Before using, let the water stand overnight, covered with a clean paper towel or a loose lid, in a cooler or refrigerator. This allows the bleach to do its job and then dissipate before you use the water to make formula.
- You may also use water purification tablets from your local pharmacy or outdoor recreation store to treat tap water. Follow the directions on the label. Let the water stand overnight, uncovered, in a cooler or refrigerator. This will allow the purification tablet to do its job and then dissipate before you use the water to make formula.
- Prepare only what your baby will drink in a day and keep it stored at cool temperatures. The safest temperature for bottles of prepared formula is 4°C or less.
- All formula should be fed to your baby at room temperature or not higher than body temperature (37°C/98°F).
- Use a heat source to warm the formula to the required temperature. Some bottle warmers have adapters to use in a car lighter socket.
- Always clean baby bottles and nipples with bottled, boiled or treated water before re-using them.
- Wash your hands before preparing formula and before feeding an infant. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for washing your hands if the water supply is limited