Emergency Planning

Are you prepared for an emergency like a power outage, water service interruption or a food security issue?

Emergency Planning is crucial to the success of your business.

ThermometerBefore the power goes out 

  • Ensure refrigerated temperatures by using thermometers.  Refrigerator temperature should be maintained at 40 ºF or below, and 0 ºF or below for the freezer. This will help keep food safe longer during a power outage.
  • Purchase a back up generator.  This investment could save you thousands of dollars.
  • Freeze any perishable foods such as milk, meats, and leftovers.  They will have a better chance of staying cold and safe during a power outage.
  • Freeze gallon size bags of water (don’t overfill, leave room for expansion) – it will serve 2 purposes – to keep food cold and offer fresh water should there be a water disruption.
  • Consider buying dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during periods of prolonged power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days. Caution: If you use dry ice to cool food, it may cause an unsafe build-up of carbon dioxide in enclosed spaces.

During a  Power Outage: 

  • Chaffing Dishes - Emergency savers Make note of the time the power went out.
  • Utilize your back up generator – #1 priority!
  • Do not place hot food in refrigerators or freezers.  This will rapidly raise the temperature inside the refrigerator or freezer and may make more food unusable.
  • Maintain hot potentially hazardous food at 140°F or above. Utilize chafing dishes.
  • If necessary, use ice or/ice baths to rapidly cool small batches of hot food.
  • Refrigerator CurtainsKeep appliance doors CLOSED as much as possible. Opening and closing doors will release cold air and will reduce your ability to store perishable items.
  • A fully stocked refrigerator will stay cold for about 4 hours. A freezer will keep its temperature for 24 hours if half full or 48 hours if full.
  • If the power will be out for more than 4 hours transfer perishable foods in the refrigerator to a cooler packed with ice to maintain a temperature of 40 ºF or below.
  • Are you able to prepare menu items that will utilize your refrigerated foods first?   Move on to the freezer if feasible.

After the Power Returns 

  • Temperature Taking Check both air and food temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer. If foods in both are still under 40 ºF, they are safe to keep and/or refreeze. If the foods are above 40 ºF, they should be discarded.
  • Also check foods that were in a cooler before putting them back into the refrigerator. Discard any that are over 40 ºF.
  • Unsure if a food is still safe? Review these food evaluation charts that are available for refrigerated foods and the frozen foods after a power outage.
  • Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture, or feels warm to the touch.
  • Never taste a food to determine its safety.

A printable Resource – Don’t let an Emergency dampen your service, health or bottom line.