Information concerning food safety and precautions to take during electrical power outage

June 17, 2016

Contact: George Jones, 381-2622

(Richmond, VA) – The Richmond City Health District advises residents to take precautions regarding their refrigerated and frozen foods as well as their medications and medical supplies during a power outage.

If your electrical power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.  The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4-hours if it is unopened.  A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-full) if the door remains closed.

Frozen foods should be kept well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerated foods should be kept below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.  If at any point the food in your refrigerator was above 40ºF for 2-hours or more, it is not safe to eat and you must discard it.

If you have medicines such as insulin that require refrigeration you should call your pharmacy to talk about what options are available.  According to product labels from U.S. insulin manufacturers, it is recommended that insulin be stored in a refrigerator at approximately 36º to 46º F. Insulin products contained in vials or cartridges supplied by manufacturers may be left unrefrigerated at a temperature between 59ºF and 86ºF for up to 28 days.  Check with your pharmacist to be sure.

Always plan for emergencies; if you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have enough on hand to last at least a week.  This includes oxygen.  If you use oxygen, please contact your regular supplier and request to have extra bottles delivered to you.  Don’t rely upon emergency responders as a primary resource to assist you with these types of supplies.

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