Do not overlook the importance of food safety when preparing for a hurricane and its aftermath.

When there is a power outage, remember that perishable foods should not be held above 40 degrees for more than two hours. By planning ahead, however, you can save your perishables and have enough food in your home to weather an extended period without electricity.

  • Have one or more coolers on hand, even if they are Styrofoam coolers, to keep items cold.
  • Store plenty of stable foods such as canned goods and powdered or boxed milk, many of which can be eaten cold or on the grill.
  • Use a digital quick-response thermometer to check the internal temperatures of foods to see if they are cooked.

During a power outage:

  • Do not open refrigerators or freezers and tell children to keep doors to those appliances closed. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for at least a couple of hours. A freezer that is half full will hold for up to 24 hours and a full freezer for 48 hours.
  • If it appears a power outage will last for more than two to four hours, pack dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, gravy, stuffing and leftovers in coolers surrounded by ice.
  • If it looks as though the power outage will be prolonged, prepare a cooler with ice for freezer items.