Tips for A Power Outage
Keep an appliance thermometer in both the refrigerator and freezer. Make sure the refrigerator temperature is at 40° or below and freezer is at 0° F or below.
Group foods together in both the refrigerator and freezer. This helps food stay cold longer. Keeping a thermometer will make it easy to get an accurate temperature reading during and after any power outages.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer full. A full freezer will maintain a safe temperature twice as long as a half empty freezer. Fill some empty soda bottles or milk jugs with water and freeze in the days ahead of a scheduled power outage. These jugs can be used both in the freezer and also the refrigerator. A full freezer stays cold longer. The frozen foods act as freezer packs helping to keep each other cold. So if your freezer is not full, fill it with freezable items in your fridge (such as cold cuts, cheese, milk, butter) and then fill any extra space with water bottles.
Fill up the small spaces. Buy some drink pouches such as Capri Suns and place them around the food and in the small crevices. They’ll act as small ice packs. You can drink them once the outage is over!
Do the penny trick! Place a penny on a frozen cup of water or on an ice cube in an ice cube tray. If the penny sinks to the bottom during the outage,that means that the food in the freezer thawed out too much and can not be refrozen. It is recommended that you allow it to continue to thaw and cook it at your earliest convenience.
Tape it shut! Grab the duct tape and tape the door shut. Habits and curiosity will cause family members to open and shut the door to check on the food or get something to eat. This lets out the pressurized cold air. Keep it taped shut to avoid this problem.
Eat your perishable food before a planned outage. If you are fortunate enough to know about an outage before it happens, eat what might spoil!
Any meat, fish or eggs that may have been stored at a temperature higher than 40 degrees for a period of two hours or more needs to be thrown out. Other foods may also need to be thrown out. Refer to the USDA chart, “When to Save and When to Throw It Out” for help in deciding what’s safe to keep.
To Help Preserve your Food During a Power Outage
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours.
Protecting Electrical Equipment During a Power Outage
Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. Turn off or disconnect 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. Turn all other light switches off.
Don’t forget about Carbon Monoxide, Be Careful!
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
It’s always good to be prepared in the event that the power goes out. Your emergency kit should include items such as flashlights, flameless candles, matches, canned foods, water, granola bars, etc.
Now what about activities to help pass the time during a power outage? Here are some activity ideas for fun things to do in a power outage. Make it fun for your kids! Some of these are good for daytime fun and others are for the evening power outages when your home is in the dark. Keep coloring books, crayons, play-doh, bubbles, glow sticks, board games, cards, and other fun things to keep your family entertained.
Fun Things To Do In A Power Outage:
Create shadow puppets on the wall using a flashlight
Draw pictures in the dark and then laugh at your creations once the lights come back on
Pack some new books into your activity kit and then have a story time with flashlights
If the power goes out during the day, enjoy the fresh air with some outdoor play
Create pictures or secret messages using glow in the dark paint pens
Play a board game, card game or complete a puzzle (if it’s dark, you’ll have to play by a flashlight)
Write a letter to a friend or family member that lives far away
Pack a portable radio, batteries and glow sticks for a glow in the
dark dance party
Pack some old pictures and scrapbook supplies and create some new pages for your scrapbook
Have a puppet show. No puppets? No problem! Find printable online or DIY ones to make with your family.
Create cards like thank you cards, birthday cards or get well soon cards that you can use later
Have a fun ice cream sundae party – because you don’t want that ice cream to melt in the freezer!
Have a picnic with flashlights, juice boxes and granola bars
Play with Play-Doh
Host a tea party for your family and favorite stuffed animals
Have a silly photo shoot using wigs and old Halloween costumes
Play hide & seek with flashlights
Play with bubbles outside. Find DIY instructions online to make your own bubbles with dish soap!
Don’t forget to repack your kit after each use so that it’s ready again for your next power outage or rainy day!