Power outages and food safety
Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they last a long time. If a power outage is 2 hours or less, don’t be concerned about losing your perishable foods. For prolonged power outages, though, there are steps you can take to minimize food loss and to keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible.
Energy Conservation Recommendations
- Turn off lights and computers when not in use.
- Wash clothes in cold water if possible; wash only full loads and clean the dryer’s lint trap after each use.
- When using a dishwasher, wash full loads and use the light cycle. If possible, use the rinse only cycle and turn off the high temperature rinse option. When the regular wash cycle is done, just open the dishwasher door to allow the dishes to air dry.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lights.
To help preserve your food during a power outage, keep supplies in your home (as per suggested hurricane supplies list):
- One or more coolers—Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work well.
- Ice—Surrounding your food with ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period of time during a prolonged blackout.
- A digital quick-response thermometer— With these thermometers you can quickly check the internal temperatures of food to ensure they are cold enough to use safely.
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit with these supplies in case of a prolonged or widespread power outage.
Electrical Equipment During a Blackout:
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.