Sunday, February 24, 2019

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Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.
Tag » Natural Disasters

Power Outages

6 Ways to Keep Refrigerated and Frozen Food Safe After a Power Outage

An electrical power outage will affect the safe storage of refrigerated and frozen foods. Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not stored properly refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed. In order to protect these foods from spoilage and save them for your use during the emergency, follow the guidelines listed below:

  1. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep foods cold for 2-4 hours if it is unopened. Full freezers will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door remains closed. These times may vary depending on age of the unit, condition of the seals, temperature setting and amount of food.
  2. Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometer and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at a safe temperature.
  3. Before eating perishable refrigerated foods (milk, cheeses, eggs, meats, fish, or poultry) be sure tocheck their temperature. Foods that are 40º F or below can be eaten and are considered safe. Foods that are above 40º F for more than 2 hours must be discarded. Do Not Eat. Don't trust your sense of smell. Food may be unsafe even if it doesn't smell bad.
  4. Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still 40ºF or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals or is below 40ºF. You have to evaluate each food item separately. Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but the food will remain safe to eat.
  5. If the power is out for longer than 4 hours, use dry ice. 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a ten cubic foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Handle dry ice with care and wear dry heavy gloves to avoid injury.
  6. Follow the golden rule of food safety, "When in Doubt, Throw it Out", for any foods which you are not sure have stayed at a safe temperature or which do not look or smell as they should.

Power Outage

As I'm sitting here the wind is blowing and the wet, heavy snow is swirling around outside, making the potential for power outages a likelihood. Thunderstorms and other inclement weather can also affect power outages.

Here are some tips for how to prepare when power outages are a concern:

In  the President’s plan to reduce gun violence the statistics related to school risk and emergency planning mirror the same needs as those of houses of worship.

“A 2010 survey found that while 84 percent of public schools had a written response plan in the event of a shooting, only 52 percent had drilled their students on the plan in the past year. We must ensure that every school has a high-quality plan in place and that students and staff are prepared to follow it.”

In May of this year DHS will work intentionally to address this sobering statistic for schools and houses of worship.  The Department of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services will be releasing model, high-quality emergency management plans for schools, houses of worship, and institutions of higher education, along with best practices for developing these plans and training students and staff to follow them. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Department of Justice, will assist interested schools, houses of worship, and institutions of higher education in completing their own security assessments.

 With over 60 million people likely affected by Hurricane Sandy due to make landfall hours from now carrying 8 -12 foot water surges and two feet of snow in some areas it will likely paralyze the east coast for several days if not weeks. Over 900 miles of the U.S. east coast and inland as far as the Michigan will be affected. And with one week or more of power outages in the area commonly transacting business that affects the nation, we are all likely to feel the effects even if we do not live on the east coast and have to go to shelters. This has the potential to become the largest storm in the history of the U.S. as 90 mile an hour winds are unsustainable in terms of key infrastructure. For most people today just being without their cell phone alone produces anxiety, much less the frustration which comes from over 8,000 flights which have been cancelled now affecting flights coast to coast. Then, if you factor the frustrations of not being able to get to meetings with the transit systems shut down, you now have a perfect storm in not only the physical arena but the spiritual, emotional and mental one as well.

CEN would agree with much of what FEMA Director Craig Fugate, a well respected first responder with a wealth of experience, said yesterday: “It’s going to really come down to the public heeding those evacuation orders, taking protective measures. If they haven’t gotten ready, they can go to Ready.gov Get information on how to protect them and their families, but also check on your neighbors. This is going to be a big storm. We need to be there for each other.” His reference to “we need to be there for each other” is a striking departure from the traditional FEMA Ready messaging - make your own plan, make your own kit and get informed. The Director is now calling for us to help each other rather than merely thinking of ourselves. 

As Christians we know we need to be there for each other and we need to “be there” spiritually, emotionally, mentally as well as physically. Since the government website, while filled with much good information, cannot help you learn how to be spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically ready to help yourself and others from a biblical worldview, CEN has developed the ReadyChristian training program as a self-study or small group study in order to develop a support response network of family and friends, to prepare and to respond biblically to crisis of all kinds, large or small.

During National Preparedness Month FEMA Deputy Administrator Tim Manning stressed that most emergency management professionals believe that his agency has made significant progress since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, Manning also argued that most Americans are not sufficiently prepared for natural disasters.

While Manning does not support his view with specific data, CEN would share his opinion. CEN recognized that the Church itself did not have a heart problem in wanted to respond and it did not even have a resource problem at the local level, but the Church has a huge “FACILITATION” problem in harnessing its own resources and leveraging them with the Gospel. This is why CEN created the ReadyChristian, ReadyChurch and ReadyCity programs to assist the Christian community in biblical readiness and response for such a time as this.

 “But I cannot afford it!” How often we hear that answer. Yet, many believe mistakenly that they cannot afford to prepare. Having an evacuation communication plan with your family and rinsing out used milk containers then filling them with water is not a matter of cost. It is a matter of attitude followed by action. Picking up one more can of beans and stocking up for a couple of months is not costly since you rotate out the item and will use it anyway! This is why CEN offers ReadyChristian online training FREE so no one is unable to become biblically ready to respond.

Hurricane Isaac ResponseAs ReadyNewOrleans continues to provide CEN with the specifics on critical needs in the area the media has shifted off the story making it more difficult to generate human and material resources. Please visit the Hurricane Isaac response group at www.christianemergencynetwork.org indicating what you may be able to do to assist ReadyNewOrleans.

About 130 schools were still closed today in the Gulf region as survivors were digging themselves out of the flood regions. Emergency Management reports 13,000 homes were damaged and eight deaths occurred. Congressional leaders appear to be insuring that a steady flow of funding for the disaster relief continues, however there still seems to be a concern on the level of disaster funding available as FEMA’s current relief budget stands at $1.4 billion. Often overlooked MS received a visit from FEMA Craig Fugate who assured the community there would be funding available, as a federal disaster declaration had been made. As of September 4 over 4,000 people remain in shelters across the affected region. Meanwhile 90 pollution cases, not unexpected for an incident like this, are being investigated.

Please continue to pray for those affected by the storms and those who are responding. Likewise, take the precautionary steps to ready yourself and your family for times of crisis.