How To Keep Food Safe During A Power Outage

Armen Hareyan's picture

What to do when your freezer fails:

When electricty is off, a fully stocked freezer will keep frozen two days if the door remains closed. A half-full freezer can keep foods frozen one day. What can you do if electric service will not be reconnected within one or two days?

* Keep the freezer door closed.

* If your friends have electricity, divide your frozen foods among their freezers.

* Seek freezer space in a store, church, school or commercial meat locker or freezer that has electrical service.


* Know where you can buy dry and block ice. Dry ice freezes everything it touches; 25 pounds of it will keep a 10-cubic foot freezer below freezing for three to four days. When using dry ice, though, be sure to take several precautions. Never touch dry ice with bare hands! Also, do not stick your head into a freezer that contains dry ice. It gives off carbon dioxide, which replaces oxygen, so leave the door open a short time before examining your food.

* If food is still "cold to the touch," it may be cooked and eaten immediately, or refrozen.

What to do when your refrigerator fails:

When power goes off in the refrigerator, you can normally expect food inside to stay cold for four to six hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. Here are some things you can do to keep it cool when the power is off for prolonged periods of time:

* Add block ice to the refrigerator if the electricity is off longer than four to six hours.

* High protein foods (dairy products, meat, fish, poultry) should be consumed as soon as possible if power is not restored immediately. They cannot be stored safely at room temperature.

* Fruits and vegetables can be kept at room temperature until there are obvious signs of spoilage (mold, slime, wilt). In fact, with good ventilation, vegetables will last longer at room temperature. Remove them from the refrigerator if electrical service may not resume soon.