Food Safety During Disaster or Emergency

Natural disasters and events like floods, storms, power cuts and earthquakes can affect your access to clean water and power. This can make it harder to keep your food safe for eating.

During a natural disaster, a number of things may occur that put your food safety at risk:

  • fridges, freezers, and ovens may break down, and food could spoil more quickly
  • water supplies could get cut off or get polluted
  • sewerage systems could get disrupted.

This puts you at risk of getting foodborne illness. Read more about food safety and foodborne illness.

How can I avoid getting sick from food during emergencies?

Follow these steps for storage and the order to eat foods in

  • Eat foods that will expire soon first, eg, eat bread and meat first because they spoil more quickly than non-perishable food.
  • Eat canned foods last.
  • Open the fridge and freezer as little as possible to help keep it cooler for longer.
  • Don’t eat vegetables or fruits that have been lying in floodwater.
  • Cover all food with plastic wrap, or store in waterproof containers.
  • Leave bottles, drink cans and water containers in the fridge (if it’s working) to keep things cold.
  • Throw out bad or rotting food before it spoils other food.

Focus on hygiene when preparing and cooking food

It’s harder to keep everything clean when preparing and cooking food in an emergency situation. You may need to think more about how to do it  than you usually would. Follow these tips for safe preparation and cooking of food:

  • Always wash and dry your hands before preparing food – if water is in short supply keep some in a bowl with disinfectant.
  • Ensure all kitchen utensils are clean before use.
  • Cook food thoroughly.
  • Cover all food with plastic wrap or store in waterproof containers.
  • Rubbish containing food scraps must be protected from flies and rats by wrapping the scraps or putting them in a sealed container.

Make sure water is clean

Boil or purify water before using it in food preparation. This helps to avoid spreading viruses and bacteria between food. Once boiled, cover and store food in a clean container and place in the fridge (if it’s working) or in some other cool place. Re-boil the water if it is not used within 24 hours.

If you do not have power to boil water then add purifying tablets or bleach to ensure its safety. Add 5 drops of household bleach per litre of water (or half a teaspoon for 10 litres) and leave for 30 minutes. Don’t use bleaches that contain added scent or perfume, surfactants or other additives – they can make you sick.

You can get more training from RCL Safety Centre thru https:

At RCL Safety Centre this training is also available in different Nigerian languages like PIDGIN,YORUBA,HAUSA AND IGBO

Our company (RCL Safety Centre) is an indigenous company dedicated to Health, Safety and Environment Training and Services.

We are technical partners of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) as well as approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, and corporate members of ISPON (Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria) with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.

For more information visit our website:

Email: or

Contact us on: 08099700070, 09057666623 or 08164363532

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *