For reporting an outage and guidance, call the Tompkins
County Health Department at 274-6688
- If you think you might lose power, turn the freezer and
refrigerator thermostats to the coldest settings. If you have
already lost power, use these tips to keep food cold and safe
- Keep the freezer closed; foods will usually stay frozen
at least a day or two depending on the quality of the insulation
in the freezer.
- Open the freezer door only to take out food, to move it
to a cooler or to add dry ice.
- Use emergency measures; add insulation, cover the freezer
with blankets. This will help to keep foods cold for a longer
period of time. Do not cover the air vent openings. If alternate
working mechanical refrigeration is available, use it. Use
dry ice if it is available.
- Use caution if food has thawed; if a frozen, potentially
hazardous food is thawed and still at or below 45°F, the
food may be cooked and used immediately.
- Meat and poultry products should not be used if the temperature
of the meats is above 45°F for more than 2 hours. Properly
discard these products.
- Do not refreeze the following: frozen dinners, vegetables,
fish, shellfish and ice cream.
Dry Ice: If it seems likely that your freezer
will not be on for several days, dry ice may help keep frozen
food safe. If a flood or power outage is predicted, and you
want to use dry ice, find a source in advance. Follow these
guidelines for using and handling dry ice:
- Wear gloves when handling dry ice. Do not touch it with
your bare hands because dry ice causes severe frostbite and
- Allow 2 ½ pounds of ice per cubic foot of freezer
space. More will be needed for an upright freezer (ice should
be placed on each shelf).
- Place boards or heavy cardboard on top of packages. Place
dry ice on top of boards. In an upright freezer, place dry
ice on each shelf.
- Cover the freezer with blankets or some other covering.
Do not lock the freezer or cover the air vent openings (the
gas given off by dry ice could cause an air-tight container
- The carbon dioxide given off by dry ice can cause suffocation
if inhaled in large amounts. Open windows or doors for ventilation,
and use care when opening the freezer or storage compartment.
Content Updated: 8/14/2007