Food Safety in hurricane emergencies (or the frequent WAPA outages)
Here is the info from a 2012 hurricane supplement in the Avis:
Make sure you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer.
Check to ensure that the freezer temp is at or below 0 degrees F and the refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees F.
If unopened, the refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
A full freezer will keep the temperature for approx. 48 hrs (24 if it is half full) for approx 48 hours if the door remains closed.
If at any point the food was above 40 degrees for 2 hours or more - discard it.
If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40 degrees F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
In the fridge, discard any perishable food that has been above 40 degrees F for two hours or more.
So like I said, if a fridge was toward the end of a defrost cycle when the power goes out, it will be warmer than the optimum temps indicated at the beginning of this post.
I keep a few 'Nordic ice' packs that I got from a restaurant seafood delivery frozen in the freezer. I usually just use them in my cooler for the beach or food shopping. But when the current is off I consolidate the most perishable, or most expensive or my most favorite foods into one of the drawers in the frig with a frozen ice pack. I replace it after a day with another one that is still frozen in the freezer compartment.
Before I found these convenient packs I used to keep water frozen in plastic bottles and do the same thing with them.
In actuality I rarely have more than a few days of perishables in the frig, I find it easier to shop more frequently for fresh foods than lose product during an outage.
And of course if it is a prolonged outage - days! - we just invite everyone over and cook up a tasty feast before anything goes bad!