(ABC4) – A life hack making the rounds on social media featuring a cup, ice, and a coin is more than just a fad — it can actually help you out amid severe weather.
The life hack can be handy if you experience a power outage, whether it’s caused by thunderstorms, wind, snowstorms, or wildfires. It serves to help you know whether the food in your freezer has spoiled.
It is a simple trick: fill a cup or a glass with water and place it in your freezer, when you still have power, to allow it to freeze. Once the water has frozen, place a penny, a quarter, or any other coin you have laying around on top of the ice in the freezer.
Then, if the power goes out, the hack will become useful, according to Wade Mathews, the PIO for the Utah Department of Emergency Management.
Mathews explains if the power goes out, the ice will begin to melt at some point.
If you find the ice in the condition you left it in, your freezer likely stayed cool enough to keep your food frozen. If the ice has completely melted, your freezer has thawed and the food inside is probably not safe to eat.
But, if the ice appears to have re-frozen with the coin somewhere inside, Mathews explains your freezer — and the items inside — thawed and refroze. At that point, you may want to be wary of the food inside, and you should check for spoilage first.
Mathews explains freezers, with the door closed, can stay cold for about three to four days without power. Another way to check your freezer’s condition is checking for ice crystals. If you see ice crystals inside, your freezer likely stayed cold enough to keep your food from spoiling.
The Utah Division of Emergency Management offers multiple other tips on how to stay safe during power shutoffs and outages. Below are a few tips; for more, click here.
- Have a preparedness kit for any type of an emergency. Include items like a flashlight, non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, bottled water, blankets, a battery-operated radio, a clock, and extra batteries.
- If you or someone you know has medical equipment requiring electricity, be sure to have a back-up system and a plan of action for an outage or emergency.
In a power outage
- Check fuses and circuit breakers. If the outage isn’t caused by something in your home or business, contact your electric service provider.
- Avoid opening refrigerators and freezers; they will keep food and perishables inside cold for a longer period of time if not opened. A full freezer should be able to keep food frozen and safe for about two days when kept closed.
See a downed line?
- Stay far away from all downed power and utility lines. You should treat every wire as dangerous and energized, even if it isn’t sparking.
- Keep everyone, including pets, out of the area and immediately report the downed line to the local power company.
- Don’t touch a person or object touching a power line. Call 911 immediately if someone is in contact with a live power line or has been injured by electrical contact.
Stay safe inside
- Keep appliances away from water. Always make sure your hands are dry when using them.
- Make sure outlets near water sources have properly working Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to shut off power in time to prevent serious injury. GFCIs should be used in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks, and outdoors. If your outlet has red and black “test” and “reset” buttons, it has a GFCI.