For week three of our June Preparedness Challenges, we'll gather a cooler, ice packs and appliance thermometers in case of a power outage which can happen any time of the year. So plan ahead.
After a power outage, a refrigerator can only keep your food safe for up to 4 hours. What would you want to save? Dairy? Meat?
You could transfer some items into your freezer, then keep the door closed. A freezer can keep food cold up to 24 hours if half full and 48 hours if very full. Beyond this time your food is no longer safe to eat. Does your medication need refrigeration? Keep a lunch kit with a cold pack frozen at all times just in case.
1. Have a Cooler and Ice Packs
Another alternative to transferring items to the freezer is to put perishable items in a cooler with ice packs. Place ice packs in the bottom, then food, then more ice packs on top. You could drive to the store for ice, but I’d avoid it in a disaster. Frozen water bottles can be inexpensive ice blocks. Make sure they are not completely full to allow for expansion when frozen. Store your cooler in a specific location where family members can find it if they need to pack it during a power outage.
2. Buy a Few Appliance Thermometers
Keep a fridge/freezer appliance thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer to know with a quick glance the temperature in there. It’s recommended that our refrigerators be kept at 40 degrees or below and the freezer should be at 0 degrees. It’s so important to keep the doors to these appliances closed during a power outage.
Good thing we have non-perishable foods in our pantry, because that's what we should eat first in a long-term power outage. For more power outage safety tips, see FoodSafety.gov and FDA.gov.
Best wishes on this week's preparedness challenge. You CAN do it!
The Food Storage Organizer