Emergency Preparedness for Power Outages

Your emergency preparedness plan includes what you need to do before a power outage.

Will you and your family be ready when the power goes out? Whether two hours, two days or two weeks, power outages can be more than just an inconvenience – they can be dangerous. We want to make sure you know what to do to prepare your home and family so this week’s emergency preparedness focus is on power outages.

What to Do Right Now:

1. First and Foremost

Make sure your emergency kit is ready. If you’ve already read our emergency kit preparation article, you’ve already got a stash of extra batteries, flashlights and battery-powered radios (and a car-charger for your mobile phone). If the batteries in your kit are old or losing their charge, dispose of them properly and replace them with new ones.

2. Turn up the Heat

If you live in a cold climate, you will need to have a means of staying warm during prolonged outages. For a short period of time, blocking off a single internal room in your home to occupy will help you stay warm. For longer outages, staying warm will become a real concern. If you’ve got a wood stove or fireplace and enough wood, you will be fine. If not, consider a secondary heater and fuel, such as a propane or kerosene heater. If you do add these to your emergency preparedness plan, make sure you also add a carbon monoxide detector such as the one Frontpoint security offers with their home security systems.

3. Keep on Cooking

Your emergency kit should be well stocked with non-perishable foods. Your refrigerator, however, is stocked with foods that will spoil during extended power outages. If the power is gone, do you still have a way to cook? Whether it’s your charcoal or propane grill or a small camping stove, it will come in useful to cook and warm food during the outage.

4. Power up

Invest in a backup generator. For as little as $500, you can get a small generator that will power some appliances or you can spend thousands to have a powerful backup generator attached that will keep your household running even when the grid is down.

Before the Storm

If you know there’s a strong storm system headed your way, there are steps you can take to help you and your family weather a power outage:

    1. Charge all your portable electronic devices and mobile phones before the storm arrives and make sure your car has a full tank of gas.
    2. Check your supplies – do you have fuel for your generator or wood for your stove? Charcoal for the grill?
    3. You can help delay food spoilage by filling up any empty space in your refrigerator and freezer with water in containers.
    4. Fill your bathtub and other large containers with extra water.

Taking the time to make sure you, your family and your home are ready for a power outage will make getting through the emergency much easier – and safer. In our next post, we’ll go over what you need to know to keep your family safe during a power outage. In the meantime, we recommend you visit Ready.gov to learn more about emergency preparedness and how you can participate in National Preparedness Month.

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