1. Flashlights, matches and batteries, oh, my! It doesn't have to be a flashlight, but a light source of some type should be kept in the kitchen specifically for times like this. If you are using a flashlight, keep spare batteries nearby in case the ones being used begin to fade. Have matches handy to use on pilot lights or lanterns.

2. Know your kitchen appliances. If you experience a power outage then, unfortunately, an electric oven will not be of any use to you at this point. However, on a gas oven you may be able to relight the pilot with certain models. Assuming the pilot light sensor is not electrically activated but is mechanically activated, you should be able to relight the pilot. Your best bet, however, is going to be gas stove burners that can be lit with a match at any point during an outage.

3. Own a handheld can opener. The best appliance you can have on hand is a handheld can opener. While electronic can openers can be handy from time to time, during a power outage you will be able to rely on the manual type to allow access to an array of items in your pantry.

4. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. As long as your fridge has been closed for the majority of the duration of the power outage, your fridge will likely keep your food at an adequate temperature for up to four hours and the freezer unit will maintain its ideal temperature for around 48 hours. However, if your freezer is only half full, it will likely only maintain its coolness for half of that amount of time. Any foods that you won't immediately consume, place in the freezer to keep them at a proper temperature for a longer period of time. Otherwise, group the food that remains in your fridge close together to maintain coolness longer.

5. Invest in an appliance thermometer. If you have any concerns on what it is safe for consumption, you can use an appliance thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the food prior to prepping or saving it. It doesn't hurt to keep a copy near the fridge of safe temperatures for frozen and refrigerated foods before they become dangerous for consumption. If any temperatures are straddling the line between safe and too warm, then always err on the side of caution and dispose of it.

If you follow these tips, you should make it to the other side of the storm while safely cooking your way through it.

About Ricki Luciani

Ricki Luciani lives and plays in Boca Raton, Florida. Her passion in cooking, traveling and bowling keeps her active. Ricki Luciani is currently busy being a "Mom" and her website can be found at [http://www.rickiluciani.com]. She also can be reached at r.luciani@rickiluciani.com.

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