During a power outage, the clock starts ticking on the safety of your perishable foods. If you are aware of an approaching summer storm or hurricane, you can be prepared.
Once the power goes out, be mindful of time and temperature. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Your refrigerator will hold a safe temperature for about four hours. Your freezer, if packed full, will hold food at a safe temperature for about 48 hours with no power — at half full, the time decreases to 24 hours. Food is safe to refreeze if it still has ice crystals or if the freezer did not rise above 40 °F.
If you are able to prepare in advance, make sure you are using appliance thermometers in your fridge and freezer. Have a cooler or two at the ready, filled with ice or several frozen gel packs. Research where dry ice or block ice are available near you.
Helpful resources from the USDA include:
A detailed chart outlining what to do with foods that have been in a refrigerator without power.
An infographic to remind you what to do before, during and after a power outage.