Hurricane season can be a scary time, and it’s vital to be as prepared as possible before an emergency happens. One helpful trick to keep in mind: the “one cup tip.”

The one cup tip tends to go viral on social media every time a major hurricane pops up, since first appearing on Facebook in 2016 around the time of Hurricane Matthew. If you need to evacuate before a storm, this tip helps you figure out whether your food may have gone bad while you were gone.

Just put a cup of water into the freezer, allow it to freeze solid, and then put a quarter on top. Leave it in your freezer.

If you get back and the quarter is still on top of the frozen water, then you know that the water stayed frozen the entire time — which means the electricity stayed on, and the food in the freezer never defrosted, so it should still be safe to eat.

For those of you that are evacuating from the coast, I just heard a great tip. It's called the one cup tip. You put a…

Posted by Sheila Pulanco Russell on Wednesday, October 5, 2016

If, on the other hand, the quarter is now on the bottom of the cup, it’s a sign that the food in the freezer defrosted and then refroze while you were away. That means it’s not safe, and you should throw it away, just to be cautious.

The one cup tip is helpful for any disaster scenario when power outages are a concern — not just hurricanes.

Photo Credit: iStock

Keep in mind that this tip isn’t completely foolproof, however. Frozen water takes quite a long time to melt in the freezer, and ice floats in water. If the power is out for long enough to melt some of the ice but not all of it, the quarter may not change position. When in doubt, throw it out!