Whether a power outage in your home is caused by grid failure or severe weather, you can take the following steps to prepare and respond.
- Keep extra cash on hand since an extended power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money automated teller machines or banks.
- Keep a supply of non-perishable foods, medicine, baby supplies and pet food as appropriate on hand. You should have a water supply of one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days on hand as well.
- Have one or more coolers for cold food storage, in case the power is prolonged. Perishable foods should not be stored for more than two hours above forty degrees Fahrenheit.
- Have an emergency power supply for anyone dependent upon medical equipment requiring electricity.
- Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries, and a battery-powered radio on hand.
- Keep your car fuel tank at least half full (gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.)
- Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage does not last for more than four to six hours.
- Do not use candles, as they can pose a fire hazard.
- Connect only individual appliances to portable generators and never plug a generator into wall outlets, as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.
- Use gas-powered generators in only well ventilated areas.
- When driving, be careful at intersections as traffic lights may be out.
- Turn off any electrical equipment that was in use prior to the power outage.
- Turn off all but one light to alert you when power resumes.
- Check on elderly neighbors, friends or relatives who may need assistance.
- Resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for information - that is what your battery powered radio is for.
- 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.