Getting ready for Sandy: Food and animal preparedness

Image courtesy of NOAA

The East Coast is bracing for the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, a massive storm that has prompted states of emergency to be declared in several states.

Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall Monday night between New Jersey and Delaware, but its effects will be felt almost 500 miles from Sandy’s center, according to the New York Times.

In addition to flooding, storm surge and heavy winds, Sandy is expected to create blizzard conditions on its western side over the Appalachians, according to

Many areas have ordered mandatory evacuations, while others, such as New York City, have shut down subways, trains and bus systems.

In preparation for Sandy, the USDA is urging people to make sure they have several days of safe food and water as power outages and flooding are expected.

Food safety

Here are some tips from the USDA (the full document, A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes, can be viewed or downloaded here).

  • Keep thermometers in freezers and refrigerators to ensure the appliances are keeping food at a safe temperature in case of a power outage. Refrigerators should be 40°F or cooler and freezers should be 0°F or cooler.
  • Freeze refrigerated food items such as milk and meat, which will help them maintain a safe temperature. Freeze water as well to help keep food cold.
  • Store nonrefrigerated food on high shelves to keep it out of the way of flood waters.
  • Keep coolers nearby to keep refrigerated food cold if needed.
  • Keep freezer and fridge doors closed until needed – this will help maintain the temperature of the appliances.
  • Don’t taste food to see if it’s safe to eat. If you’re not sure, don’t eat it.
  • Don’t eat food that was touched by flood waters.

Animal safety

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has tips for ensuring the safety of horses and livestock during the hurricane and for dealing with crop insurance.

  • Move livestock and poultry to buildings on high ground that are securely battened.
  • If evacuating horses, make sure to take all health records, immunization histories, an emergency kit and hay and water to last 48 hours.
  • Secure and cover all water, food and medical supplies for horses, livestock and poultry.
  • Board glass windows.
  • Have extra batteries, flashlights and candles and top off fuel tanks.

For a full list as well as crop insurance resources and horse evacuation resources from the MDA, click here.


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