Dallas, TX sees it’s fair share of powerful rainstorms each year, and one recent storm knocked out power to many parts of Northeast Dallas.
Kerrie W. lost power at her home during the storm that killed one person and injured at least 5 others.
Over 200,000 people in Dallas County were without power for at least 24 hours.
According to Kerrie, “It’s just terrible, I was driving around and saw power lines that were cracked and bent. I have a feeling that they will have to rebuild all of them.”
The power company estimated that some customers could be without power for several days, and they requested assistance from companies in Houston, Alabama and Mississippi.
One of Kerrie’s biggest concerns was that most of the food she had stocked in her refrigerator would go bad.
Kerrie told local media, “I’m curious about typical stuff, like frozen hamburger meat, chicken and almond milk,” she said. “I would hate to have to throw all of that food out.”
Now, the problem is, there are many variables that come into play when deciding what food to throw away after a power outage.
For instance, the duration, how full the refrigerator is, the outside temperature, and how often the refrigerator was opened are all factors that come into play when trying to save your food.
However, if your power has been out for an extended amount of time, chances are you may have to throw away up to 80% of your food.
The reason for your fridge is to slow down the growth of bacteria that can cause illness.
This bacteria typically grows between 40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so an ideal temperature for your refrigerator should be below 40 degrees.
After a prolonged power outage, the best thing to do is to examine your food since you should be able to tell if the food has not kept well based on discoloration and bad smells.
Since your refrigerator or freezer could literally be stocked with hundreds of dollars worth of food, I want to share with you a few ways to keep things cold until power is restored.
Blankets. The first thing you should do when the power goes out is to cover your refrigerator or freezer with blankets.
Now, I don’t just mean one blanket or a sheet, but you want thick, heavy, blankets.
Drape them over the refrigerator for additional insulation.
With that being said, once the power comes back on, or you get a generator hooked up, you need to immediately remove the blankets so you aren’t blocking any of the vents on the refrigerator.
Generator. The thing to remember when powering your refrigerator with a generator is that you don’t need to run it constantly to keep your food cold.
You can save fuel and simply run the generator when the temperature starts to go up.
In addition, you don’t need some super duper 500 horsepower generator. A 2,000 watt generator is plenty to power a refrigerator or freezer.
Thermometer. During a power outage, one of the mains reasons your refrigerator or freezer will lose its coldness is by opening the appliance to check the temperature.
For this reason, you want to make sure your refrigerator or freezer is equipped with a thermometer, with a reader outside the appliance.
These can be purchased at Home Depot for around $20.
This is extremely helpful during a longer-term power outage so you can tell when to fire up the generator, which I would do when your refrigerator gets around 30 degrees.
Next time the power goes out, remember that you have limited time before your refrigerated food reaches unsafe temperatures, so it’s important to be prepared.
The tips mentioned above can go a long way is preserving your food so you will have plenty to eat when the power is restored.
The last thing you want to have to do is go to the grocery store in the aftermath of a storm and stand in line with a million other people.