Here's why putting a quarter in a cup of frozen water could save your life during a hurricane

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When thinking about hurricane safety, we usually focus on staying safe during the actual storm. But sometimes coming back in the aftermath of a natural disaster — like the dangerous Hurricane Irma making its way to Florida right now — can have its own dangers.
It's very likely that power outages during a major storm will spoil any food left over in your fridge. But when you come back after being evacuated, how do you know if your food is safe to eat?
Introducing the simple but genius "quarter in a frozen cup of water" trick.
This trick has been around awhile, but it resurfaces when a natural disaster looms. All you have to do is fill a cup with water and place it in the freezer until it's frozen solid. Then you put a quarter on top of the cup and put it back in the freezer.
When you come back:
  • If your quarter is still on top of the cup, this means your electricity (and therefore your refrigerator) did not go out for a significant amount of time during the storm, and your food is safe to eat.
  • If the quarter has sunk to the bottom, that means the power was out for a significant time and you should probably empty your fridge to prevent getting severely ill from eating spoiled groceries.
  • If the quarter is somewhere in the middle, you may be safe, but the freshness of your fridge contents is iffy.
The Food and Drug Administration says that when preparing for emergencies, the temperature of your freezer should be below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and your fridge temperature should not be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The FDA also suggests freezing containers of ice water to help your food stay cooler longer, even if the power goes out, and to place refrigerated items that you won't use immediately in the freezer so they stay fresh.
Refrigerated food is safe as long as the door is kept shut and the power is out for no longer than four hours.

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