The lake effect winter snowstorm that is currently affecting Buffalo and Western New York has already caused the power to go out in West Seneca. Thankfully, power was restored pretty quickly to those people. As more snow is expected today, Friday, November 18, and Saturday, November 18, 2022, more power outages are a real possibility.

With a driving ban in place for Erie County and many grocery stores closed and out of inventory, it is imperative that you preserve your family's food if your power does go out.

Photo by natsuki on Unsplash
Photo by natsuki on Unsplash

Here's what you need to know to keep your refrigerated food safe for your family.

So you were diligent and did your pre-storm grocery shopping, right? You actually got to the grocery store early and there was still food on the shelves. You feel great because now you and your family have all the essentials and some luxuries for the storm. And lose power. You have a fridge full of food you just spent your hard-earned money on, that might go bad now. Don't panic just yet, here's what the Centers for Disease Control says about food safety during a power outage.

If you experience a short power outage, less than 4 hours, your food in the refrigerator should be ok. The key is not to open the fridge unless you absolutely have to. Your frozen food will last a bit longer. If your freezer is full, the CDC says the food should be good for 48 hours. If it's half full, it will be ok for about 24 hours.

You'll want to keep your refrigerated food at 40 degrees and frozen food at 0 degrees. If your power is still on, but you are worried it might go out during the storm, freeze some gel packs and have a cooler ready. If the power does go out and stays off for longer than 4 hours, you can move perishable items from the fridge into the cooler with the ice packs.

Key Points For Food Safety During Power Outage:

- Food kept in your refrigerator and freezer for less than 4-hours without power is safe
- Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors
- Keep refrigerator temp at 40 degrees, freezer at 0 degrees
- Use a cooler, gel packs, and dry ice to help keep food at safe temps
- Throw out any food that is perishable after 4 hours without power
- Don't taste food to see if it's ok, just throw it away to be safe
- If food has maintained a temperature of 40 degrees or below, it is considered safe

If worse comes to worst, you could put your perishable food in a cooler and bury it in the snow.  I mean, it is cold as #@%&!

Centers for Disease Control
Centers for Disease Control
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