Floods and Power Outages

If the lights go out or the water comes in, taking important steps will keep food safe.  Food safety is about time, temperature, proper disposal, and cleanup.

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In Case of Flooding


  • Remove and replace all filters on equipment if not designed to be cleaned in place.
  • Flush all water lines (including steam and ice machine water) for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Inspect equipment to ensure it is operational and retains all aspects of its integrity.
  • Clean and sanitize the equipment according to manufacturers' instructions or according to the cleanup recommendations provided in this pamphlet.
  • Use only potable water for cleaning the equipment and establishment.

Damaged Food Products

  • Discard all food and packaging materials that have been submerged in flood waters.
  • Complete proper and safe disposal of condemned food items in a manner consistent with federal, state, and local waste disposal regulations.


In case of Power Outage

When the power is out:

  • Potentially hazardous/time/temperature control for safety (PH/TCS) foods must be held under proper temperature conditions in order to be safe to eat.
  • Discard PH/TCS foods that have been out of proper temperature (above 41 degrees F) for 4 hours or more.
  • Monitor equipment temperatures with properly calibrated thermometers.

When power is restored:

  • Verify that all walk-in refrigerators and freezer are capable of consistently maintaining cold holding temperatures (less than 41F or in a frozen state) before food items are placed in the units.
  • Ensure that the equipment can heat or cool to appropriate processing temperature.
  • Verify that all equipment used for food preparation (e.g. cooking, cooling, and reheating) is functioning and properly calibrated prior to use.
  • Properly clean and sanitize processing equipment before resuming operations after a long power outage.


Clean the establishment according to the standard operating procedures in place for your organization.  Use only potable water.

For food contact surfaces:

1. Wash the soap/detergent and warm water.
2. Rinse with hot water.
3. Sanitize with warm water with bleach solution (1 capful of bleach per gallon of warm water).

For non-food-contact surfaces:

Disinfect- Sanitize with 4 capfuls of bleach for each gallon of warm water.


Prepare Now!

  • Monitor for time-temperature abuse
  • Assess product exposure to flood waters
  • Destroy contaminated and temperature abused products
  • Thoroughly clean food and non-food-contact surfaces

Last updated October 25, 2018