Natural disasters are unpredictable and when something terrible happens, you can only hope that you have planned well enough to account for the necessities, like important paperwork. When evacuating your home for any number of reasons, or riding out a snowstorm in the winter, it's important to plan for a power outage depending on weather reports. This isn't so easy to do, but one life hack from a friendly Facebook user makes it a bit easier.
While there are countless tips for handling the house, the family, and the pet (check out Wide Open Pets for more helpful information!) during major weather events, the one cup tip is one we rely on the most in the kitchen. Posted to Facebook in 2016 from North Carolina resident Sheila Pulanco Russell, this simple trick involves a frozen cup of water and a quarter.
For those of you that are evacuating from the coast, I just heard a great tip. It's called the one cup tip. You put a...
Posted by Sheila Pulanco Russell on Wednesday, October 5, 2016
The main gist of the great idea is that while you're gone, you have no real way of telling if the power goes out at home. Using this trick, you'll know if your refrigerator and freezer lost power because the water will have re-frozen at a lower point. The way the water behaves points to the way your food behaves.
If the quarter is at the bottom of the cup and there's no more frozen water, it's a safe bet that everything that could spoil in your refrigerator and everything that could thaw in your freezer should be thrown away entirely to prevent foodborne illnesses. One power outage can decimate your food and water supply, and this allows you to monitor your freezer's contents even after the natural disaster has passed. Enduring a storm, then getting a bout of food poisoning from spoiled perishable food doesn't sound like too good of a time.
This brilliantly simple trick only takes about an hour to do, so place a cup of water in the freezer as you're going about your closing tasks, and pop a quarter on before you're out the door. The best part about this trick is that it's functional for the entire time you're gone, signaling safety or not.
When it comes to preparedness, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) shares that the best way to keep food safe in the fridge and freezer is to keep it closed until the power returns.
"The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened," the FDA suggests (as reported by Good Morning America). "A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed."
So if your power goes out during storm season think of food safety before grabbing that tub of ice cream to snack on. And as always, keep an emergency kit nearby with everything you need for a power outage.