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Emergency Preparedness Essentials
 

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Managing Food When Power Isn't Available

We take electrical power for granted. But during an emergency or disaster there is a high likelihood that power won't be available. The following guidelines will help you better manage your food supply when the electricity goes out.

Be Prepared:
  • Have a thermometer for your fridge.
  • Know where to get dry ice.
  • Keep at least a few day’s worth of food that you can have without having to cook or cool.
When you have no Power:
  • Try to keep the freezer and fridge doors closed as much as you can.
  • If the fridge is unopened, the food will stay cold for about 4 hours.
  • For proper storage, keep refrigerators at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the Power is Back on:
  • Check the fridge and freezer temperatures..
  • If there was an appliance thermometer in the freezer, when the power comes back on check the temperature. If the thermometer is under 40° F the food may be frozen and is safe. If it wasn’t kept in the freezer, check the food package to see if it is safe. You cannot rely on odor or appearance. If the food still contains ice crystals or is below the temperature, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
  • Refrigerated food should be safe to eat as long as the door was closed as much as possible and the power wasn’t out for more than 4 hours.
  • Throw away any perishable food (like poultry, meat, fish, eggs, or leftovers) that has been over 40° F for two hours or longer.
How to Use Dry Ice:
  • Usually, you shouldn’t keep the dry ice in the freezer. The freezer may shut off if the freezer was functioning normally because the dry ice will make it too cold. However, if you have no power for a long period of time, dry ice is going to be the best way to keep things cold.
  • You can use twenty-five pounds of dried ice for a 10-cubic foot freezer for about 3-4 days below freezing.
  • Make sure the dry ice doesn’t come in direct contact with the food.
  • Wear heavy gloves and use care when you handle dry ice.
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