Preparing for a Power Outage

January 7, 2015

Whether a power outage in your home is caused by grid failure or severe weather, you can take the following steps to safely prepare and respond. Remember to include power outages in your family disaster plan.

■ Keep extra cash on hand since an extended power outage may
prevent you from withdrawing money from automatic teller
machines or banks.

■ Keep a supply of non-perishable foods, medicine, baby supplies
and pet food as appropriate on hand. Allow one gallon of water
per person per day for a minimum three-day supply.

■ Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long
as the outage lasts no more than four to six hours.

■ Have one or more coolers for cold food storage in case power
outage is prolonged. Perishable foods should not be stored for
more than two hours above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

■ Have an emergency power supply for anyone dependent on
medical equipment requiring electricity.

■ Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries, and a battery-powered
radio on hand.

■ Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard.

■ Connect only individual appliances to portable generators and
never plug a generator into wall outlets. Plugging generators into
the home’s electrical system can feed electricity back into the
power lines and endanger you and line workers.

■ Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated outdoor areas.

■ When driving, be careful at intersections – traffic lights may be
out, creating a dangerous situation.

■ Turn off any electrical equipment that was in use prior to the
power outage, but leave one light on to alert you when power

■ Check on elderly neighbors, friends or relatives who may need
assistance if weather is severe during the outage.

■ During a power outage, resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for
information – that’s what your battery-powered radio is for.

■ Keep your car fuel tank at least half-full (gas stations usually rely
on electricity to power their pumps).

■ When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on
major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a
sharp increase in demand.


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