BLOG: Keeping Food Safe In Case of Power Outage

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The latest round of winter weather has some in the area seeing power outages. In case this happens to your family, the Arkansas Health Department reminds you how to keep your food and water safe in case of an outage.

Here are their tips:

When the Power Goes Out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • Refrigerators should be kept at 40° F or below for proper food storage.

 Once the Power is Restored:

  • Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer.
  • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
  • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40° F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40° F for two hours or more.


Water may not be safe to drink or cook with; however, unless told otherwise by local officials it should be safe for bathing, cleaning, etc.

  • Listen to and follow public announcements. Local authorities will tell you if tap water is safe to drink or to use for cooking or bathing. If the water is not safe to use, follow local instructions to use bottled water or to boil or disinfect water for cooking, cleaning, or bathing. Boil water notices known to the Department of Health are listed on its website:
  • If a boil order is issued for your area, water used for drinking or food preparation must be boiled briskly for one (1) minute prior to use.
  • All ice water should be discarded, and only boiled or disinfected water used to make ice.
  • Use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking or preparing food, washing dishes, cleaning, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, making ice, and bathing until your water supply is tested and found safe. If your water supply is limited, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for washing your hands.If you use bottled water, be sure it came from a safe source. If you do not know that the water came from a safe source, you should boil or treat it before you use it.

1 Comment

  • Larry M Wall

    I’m not exactly from around here but it seems to me the more resourceful person would be keen to the car sitting out in the cold driveway. Freezer items can go into a box, refrigerated items in a cooler. Place them all out doors and let the weather keep your stuff cold.

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