Maintaining the Cold: Keeping Fridge Food Stable After the Lights Go Out

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    After a natural disaster or other form of TEOTWAWKI strikes and the benefits of electricity are lost, there is going to be only a short time before the food in your fridge and freezer goes bad. Once it is lost, it is lost forever, and without power to keep it cold, there is only so much you can do. While your options will be limited, the key thing to remember is that you do have options.

    If you have perishable food items, you are going to want to make them stretch as far as possible when the SHTF. Some of what it takes to do this is preparatory beforehand, and some of it involves action after the fact. All of it will help your food stretch a little further.

    Photo: Broken Plow Blog

    Since refrigerators and freezers immediately begin to lose their cool the moment the power goes out, close the door and keep it closed. Make a list of items contained in each space and where exactly they are located, so when you do open the door, you can go right for your target food and get the door closed again as soon as possible. Keeping the cool contained in the fridge and freezer will make it last longer, keeping your food safe for consumption. If possible, add a deep freeze to your home and keep your reserve stash in there; the more food that is frozen together in there will help keep the space cold. If you have a deep freeze that isn't full, freeze blocks of ice to keep that space cooler, longer. You can do this in plastic containers such as 2 liter bottles by filling them with water.

    Photo: Jill Cataldo

    It is also possible that you can take advantage of dry ice for your refrigeration needs. 25lbs of dry ice will cool your fridge for up to four days, but you are going to have to know where you find it when the time comes. You will need the foresight to know when you are going to need it in advance of that need occurring. You can also place dry ice, or even bags/blocks of ice into coolers and utilize that space as well.

    Photo: Cost of Everyday Things

    It is possible to take advantage of natural cooling depending on the time of year and climate in which you live. If there is a cold stream or frozen lake near your home, you can place food in those locations to keep it cool. There is some danger to using this method, however, as you could fall into these waters and become hypothermic, or animals may find and eat your food. Storing food underground is another way to keep it cool, as the temperature below the ground's surface is many degrees colder than it is above ground. This technique involves creating a Root Cellar, which must be able to maintain proper temperature to work.

    Photo: Survival Podcast

    Keep in mind that if you do nothing to preserve perishable foods, the fridge will be useless within 24 hours. Taking the actions above will buy you another 24-48 hours. While these numbers don't seem like a lot, they amount to a couple extra days to eat the contents of your fridge before it becomes a loss and hunger pains set it. Do yourself and your family a favor: plan ahead to get the most out of the food you already have because when the SHTF, you're going to need all the energy you can get.

    Do you have plans to conserve refrigerated foods when disaster strikes? What are your plans, and what would you advise others to do? Let us know in the comments.

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