Recent thunderstorms have produced scattered power outages across Will County. Here are helpful tips you can use if your power goes out.
- If the power is out for less than two hours, the food in your freezer and refrigerator is typically considered to be safe to eat.
- A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours; a full freezer will hold food safely for up to 48 hours.
- Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible.
- Keep a couple of coolers handy to store foods in case of a lengthy power outage.
- Every kitchen should have more than one food thermometer on hand at all times. After a power outage, discard any food with a temperature of above 40 degrees F.
- Perishable foods should never be held above 40 degrees F for more than two hours.
- Once power returns, check food temperatures. Food in the freezer that still has ice crystals can typically be refrozen.
- Always keep dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs refrigerated at 40 degrees F or lower. Products found with temperatures above 40 degrees F after a power outage should be discarded.
- Frozen foods should be kept at least 0 degrees F.
- Keep an appliance thermometer in your freezer and refrigerator at all times.
- Never taste food to determine its safety.
PREPARING FOR A POWER OUTAGE
- Plan ahead and know where dry ice, or block ice can be purchased. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for 48 hours.
- Because of the fire risk, never use candles during a power outage.
- Always turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
- Do not use a generator inside a home or garage. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the generator.
- Never connect a generator to your home’s electrical system.
- Assemble essential supplies in advance, including: flashlight; extra batteries; portable radio; at least one gallon of water for each household member; food that does not spoil.
- If you use medication requiring refrigeration, remember that most of these products can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours. When in doubt, check with a physician or pharmacist.
- Always keep your car’s gas tank at least half full, because gas stations require electricity to power pumps.
For more information about programs and services available through the Will County Health Department, at www.willcountyhealth.org