Experts say power outages can spoil food within hours

Experts say power outages can spoil food within hours
Published: Jul. 19, 2016 at 8:16 PM EDT|Updated: Jan. 10, 2017 at 3:42 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Amongst the chaos of last Monday night's storm that ripped through Midtown Columbus, power outages left some in the dark for hours.

Outages were still affecting some in the Midtown area on Tuesday, causing residents to go without AC and lights. Add on another outage headache, your fridge loosing power, and people have a lot on their plates to clean up.

For those who went without power for about a day, chances are their food has gone bad.

According to the federal food safety organization, fridges will loose their cool temperature about four hours after power loss, and that's if it remains closed.
Food in the freezer has about 48 hours if the freezer is full, about 24 if it is half full. Experts recommend tossing any food such as meat, eggs, or leftovers that has been above 40 degrees for two hours or more.

You can check for ice crystals in frozen food. If it's partially thawed but still contains ice crystals then it is most likely safe to eat. To keep items cooler for longer, keep the doors closed and pack food in your freezer closer together to create an igloo effect.

Another danger to keep in mind following power outages are down lines in the Midtown area. These lines were sparking Monday night by those living and working nearby.

Columbus officials say that power lines can be live and electric, but telephone and cable lines can also be energized. Experts say you have to always treat any fallen lines like they are dangerous. Even if it was a bright sunny day for you on Monday, you could come across a down line out and about, or in the future.

Experts at Georgia Power say never drive over a downed line or low hanging line. If you do you'll want to stay in your car and call 911. If the car catches on fire it's important to get out in a very specific way.

You'll need to make a clear jump out of the car, with both feet landing on the ground. In doing this, you'll need to be sure your feet do not touch the ground at the same time any part of you is still touching your car. Then you'll need to shuffle away, keeping both feet on the ground. This is due to possible electric currents charging your car and the ground around you.

You also don't want to do any experiments to see if the line is live, like trying to poke it or throw things at it. Just avoid the area and call 911 to report it. If your pets are used to wandering around your neighborhood, you'll want to keep them inside after a storm so they don't come across any down lines either.

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