October 24, 2021

Preparing for Emergencies During Winter Weather

Much of the U.S. is facing severe winter weather this weekend. A snowstorm in the Northeast and record-breaking cold in the Midwest could cause power outages. To keep your food safe, follow these tips.

Winter StormKeep an appliance thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer. In case of a power outage, you can tell if the appliance an keep food safe. Freezers should be at 0°F and refrigerators at 40°F or lower. Freeze containers or water ahead of time to use to keep the fridge and freezer cold.

But don’t put food out in the snow to freeze. Outside temperatures can vary too much, and animals might get to the food and eat it or contaminate it. Instead, use the cold temps to make ice. Fill buckets, empty milk containers, and cans with water and let them freeze. Use this ice to keep the fridge and freezer cold.

Keep fridge and freezer doors closed as much as you can to maintain the temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safe for four hours unopened. A full freezer will hold a safe temperature for about 48 hours.

When the power is restored, check the food. Use a temperature to check the freezer. If it reads 40°F or below, the food is safe to refreeze. If the food has ice crystals, it is safe to refreeze. If not, toss it.


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