Surviving the Storm

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Arefa Casoobhoy, MD, MPH
There’s nothing like being inside a warm home during a cold snowy night… until the power goes out. Don’t panic! Here’s how to survive the storm. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, grab some logs to help generate heat. But make sure it’s properly vented to the outside. And double check your smoke alarm. You should have emergency supplies ready with extra blankets, flashlights, and a first aid kit. Remember, if you have a baby or toddler, they can’t handle the cold like an adult, so keep them warm with footed pajamas and layers of clothing. You can also cuddle up with your little one and use your own body heat to protect them from the cold. Stock up on food and water before a storm in case you’re snowed in. It’s a good idea to keep some ready to eat food in your pantry. If your power is out for less than 4 hours, the food in your refrigerator should be safe to eat, as long as you’ve kept the doors closed. After 4 hours have passed, you’ll want to move that food to a cooler with ice. But if the temperature of the food is more than 40 degrees, throw it out. A good rule is, a half-full freezer will keep food safe for 24 hours, and a full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours. Good luck, and stay warm this winter. For WebMD, I’m Dr. Arefa Cassoobhoy.