How to Keep Your Food Safe During a Power Outage
Power outages regularly disrupt the daily lives of people across the world. It can be even more frustrating when these outages were preventable just by protecting utility lines and poles from rodent damage. While many power failures can be solved in a matter of hours, more severe issues have the potential to cause major damage to the way areas of society function. This can be seen most evidently in what it does to the food supply.
When an area is without power for a significant amount of time, whether due to natural disaster, pest problems, or any number of other reasons, food is invariably one of the things that first becomes scarce. Without a reliable way to store food at cold temperatures that keep it safe to eat, malnourished and panic can quickly take hold.
First and foremost, you'll want to establish how long you have before your food begins to spoil. In general, refrigerators will be able to keep food cold while unpowered for a few hours (up to 10 at the most). To help stretch this out for as long as possible, avoid opening the door whenever possible. Freezers can do the same for around a day and up to two days if it's packed full.
The best temporary choice for preserving food that can go bad would be to use a cooler filled with ice. While this may not be a viable strategy depending on how you've lost power, it is the safest replacement for a refrigerator in most circumstances. Try to prioritize things like medication or foods high in nutrition, as coolers generally have less space than a fridge. They will not keep frozen food frozen for long either.
The first foods to spoil will be raw meats, dairy products, raw fish, and eggs. Anything liquid like soups and sauces quickly begin to grow bacteria, given their nutrient-rich, wet environments act almost like cultures for them to propagate. Any of these foods or anything that has come in contact with raw meat juices should be discarded quickly, as they will begin to spoil after only two hours. Anything that reaches a temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit should also be discarded regardless of what it is, canned or preserved food being the exception.
Consuming food stored at unsafe temperatures can cause a slew of food-borne illnesses. It's not worth taking a chance on eating spoiled food, especially during something like a natural disaster, as getting sick without power in the area makes things exponentially worse. To make the best use of your food before it spoils, try to cook and eat as much as possible using a grill or other non-electric heat source.
To help prevent power outages in the future from squirrel and critter damage to electrical lines and poles, contact Critter Guard to get all you need to keep pests from cutting power to your house or area.
- Tags: Tips and Tricks
- Written by John Sims