FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)– With power still out in parts of Fort Wayne, many people have had to throw away food in their refrigerators and freezers. The Department of Health and Fort Wayne Fire Departments are pairing up to make sure you do it in a safe manner.

Notices / Warnings

The two departments came together to aid the Waynedale community.

A stack of kits at Fire Station No.5

The Department of Health bought and packaged food safety kits and the Fire Department is handing them out at Station No. 5.

The safety kits include thick trash bags, gloves, and hand sanitizer. They are free and able to be picked up from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are limited to two per household.

“It was a concept we came up with on the fly today thinking besides putting out tips, could we give them something tangibly that might make it easier, especially in the context of not everybody has these very thick trash bags,” said Mindy Waldron, the department administrator at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.

While it just came together Thursday, Fire Station No. 5 was already stocked with around 500 kits, according to Fire Lieutenant Charles Lill.

The concern of food spoiling is because of the mass power outages across southern Fort Wayne following Monday’s derecho. The high winds caused severe damage to the power grid, particularly in Waynedale, leaving many fridges and freezers without power.

The health department announced Friday you can also pick up safety kits at a second location, the Aboite Township Volunteer Fire Department, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily while supplies last. There’s a limit of two kits per household.

The health department says food in those appliances only last so long without power. Food stays good for four hours in the fridge, and 48 hours in the freezer. After that time, it will need to be thrown away properly.

When throwing away the spoiled food, leave it in its original package so you don’t have to handle the food itself. This will limit the spread of harmful bacteria onto your body. Package it in the dark, thicker bags provided in the kit without other trash items.

Don’t leave bags with spoiled food on the ground so you don’t attract pests like rodents and other animals. Make sure to use the gloves in the kit to handle the spoiled food, and wash your hands thoroughly after you throw it away.

After you have thrown it all away, wipe down the surfaces it was placed, leaked, or spilled on to eliminate the spread of foodborne illness.

Waldron’s reminder: “When in doubt, throw it out. Do not taste it to test it.”