How to Protect Your Food When Experiencing a Blackout

Woman with candle at home because of power cut

How to Protect Your Food When Experiencing a Blackout

Experiencing a blackout can be a scary and frustrating experience. Not only will you be without your lights, but you will also have to worry about the safety of your food. A blackout can happen at any time, leaving you without power for extended periods. This article will explain some tips and strategies on what to do before during and after a blackout to ensure your food is safe to enjoy.

How To Prepare Your Home for a Blackout

There are many steps you can take to prepare for a blackout and ensure your food is protected. Firstly, make sure every room in your home has a flashlight that is easy to find in the dark. You may also consider other sources of light such as motion-power flashlights or light sticks.

Oil lamps and candles are other options, but caution should be exercised if there is a possibility of a gas leak. Have the emergency number of your utility company handy so that you can contact them and get an estimation of when your power will be restored.

If you have medications that need to be kept cold, have an ice chest ready during times when blackouts are more common. During the summer months, strong storms can easily knock out power to hundreds of homes at a time. If you lose your water during a blackout, have enough water on hand for cooking and drinking. This water needs to be potable. Non-potable water can be used for other purposes such as flushing toilets.

What to Consider When a Blackout Occurs

The moment a blackout occurs you definitely need to be observant and look out the window or outside to see if streetlights and other homes are experiencing the same thing. Either way you will need to contact your local power company to report the conditions you are facing and get them to come check your power line voltage. Other than this you can also check your fuse box, deepening on its location, and maybe make sure your circuits are not the issue. There are even more specific things you can do when a blackout happens though. 

During blackouts, an outdoor gas grill can be a convenient cooking option. Ensure the gas tank is full or has an ample supply of charcoal or wood. Additionally, keep essential supplies like a household first aid kit and a disaster preparedness backpack kit easily accessible.

If you have a backup generator, be sure you follow the instructions and precautions closely to ensure no accidents happen. Never run a gas-powered generator in your home or garage because the fumes can make you sick or be fatal. If your generator only has enough power for a few appliances, your refrigerator should be a top priority to keep your food from spoiling. Items in your refrigerator can last up to four hours, while your freezer can last up to 48 hours when it is full.

Develop a comprehensive household disaster plan to safeguard your family’s well-being and follow it diligently during emergencies. By taking these measures, you can protect your household and stay safe during power outages.

Having an emergency radio during a blackout is crucial for staying informed and connected. When power is out, traditional communication methods may fail, making it difficult to receive updates or emergency instructions. An emergency radio, powered by batteries or hand-crank, allows you to access important news, weather updates, and emergency alerts, ensuring you can make informed decisions and take necessary actions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

How To Protect Your Food When Experiencing a Blackout

When faced with a sudden blackout, ensuring the safety of your food becomes a top priority. Without electricity, the perishable items stored in your refrigerator and freezer are vulnerable to spoilage, posing a potential risk of foodborne illnesses. To safeguard your food during this challenging time, it’s crucial to take proactive measures.

Like stated earlier, one of the first things you should do is keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain the temperatures inside. If you have blocks of ice or ice packs available, add them to your refrigerator to help keep your perishable items cooler for longer. To minimize waste, consider eating or cooking your perishable foods first. Non-perishable food products such as granola bars, canned goods, and dry snacks will last longer and can be consumed during blackouts.

What To Do if the Blackout Is Prolonged

Being prepared for a short blackout is vastly different than preparing for a prolonged blackout. To stay safe, it is important to follow some basic rules. Firstly, do not leave your appliances plugged in. When your power goes off, unplug everything. When the power comes back on, it can create a power surge that will damage or ruin some of your appliances. If you are able, consider investing in surge protectors to keep your appliances safe from power surges caused by blackouts and lightning strikes.

During a longer blackout, it is crucial to limit your water consumption and use. Not all homes lose water when their electricity is out, but you should be prepared for it just in case. Water should be saved for drinking over other uses.

If you think your blackout will be prolonged, you will also need to ration your food. Like stated, eat your perishable foods first and save the non-perishables for the rest of the outage. You never know how long an outage will be or when you might be able to purchase more food. If your local grocery stores were also without electricity, they may not have food available.

A blackout can be a stressful situation, especially if you don’t know how long it will last. Families should work together to have a plan in place for getting through an extended time without electricity. Investing in a solar system can be a godsend and ensures your family will not go without food or power during bad weather or power grid failures. If you run out of food and water during an extended blackout, relocate to a friend or family member’s house, a hotel, or a local shelter.

Written by Taylor McKnight, Author for Osmose

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