Lessons Learned PG&E Outage: Food Safety

Extra ice extends shelf life of refrigerated or frozen food | photo and post by Flo Hoylman

As soon as the October 10-11 power outage was announced, Emergency Services Chair Flo Hoylman began polling neighbors for their experiences coping with the blackout. Many tips involved keeping food safe:

  • Buy a block of ice or use some empty plastic or glass bottles to make ice to keep the freezer and refrigerator cold. Large mouth containers are easy to fill but should be small enough to fit anywhere.
  • Fill the extra space in your freezer with plastic bottles filled with water; this helps keep the contents frozen longer.
  • Use a medium size ice chest to store things that you use cold on a daily basis like milk, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, or medications. That way you do not need to open your refrigerator at all.
  • Stop buying perishable grocery items following the first shut-off notice.
  • Use up thawing food, host a dock potluck.
  • A gas stove can be lit with a match and doesn’t need electricity.
  • Start preparing your dinner well before sundown. Eating by battery or candlelight is nice.
  • We’ll look into sealable bags that could be submerged in the Bay for a few days until their contents are needed.

With more outages likely, we’ll be running some tips each week in the Floating Times, so check back frequently.