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    Q&A: Riding Out the Storm Safely

    How to Stay Safe in Hurricane Sandy's Aftermath
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Oct. 30, 2012 -- Sandy is being called a "once in a generation" storm that’s unfortunately living up to its title.

    Millions are without power and may be for some time. Others have evacuated, or will, escaping the torrential rains and winds that have gusted up to 90 miles per hour.

    For those in the storm areas, and those watching and waiting from afar, here are some important safety tips.

    Q: How do I contact someone in the affected area?

    A: You can of course try calling. Many landlines will be down, but some are operating. If you use your mobile phone, you may get a busy signal because mobile bandwidth may be overloaded in the storm areas, or some cell towers may be damaged. If you can’t reach someone by phone, try texting. All of the wireless carriers are recommending people text because it has a greater chance of getting through and will use less battery power of the person you’re trying to reach.

    If that doesn’t work and you’re trying to contact someone in the area who may be housebound or evacuated, contact FEMA (800-621-FEMA) or the American Red Cross (800-RED-CROSS). Both have Internet locators where people in the storm areas can register their names to let their loved one(s) know where they are, and if they are safe. FEMA’s site is called the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System ( The Red Cross has a site called “Safe and Well” that offers the same service. (

    Q: Once the power is out, how long will refrigerated foods last?

    Refrigerated foods, once the power is off, will stay cold for about four to six hours. To increase the time, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed.

    If a freezer is full, the temperature will be maintained for about 48 hours. If it's half full of food, figure 24 hours.

    Q: What foods should be eaten first, after power is off?

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