Power outages are something that we do our best to avoid but they are an inevitable part of life. Whether due to a storm, a downed powerline, or one of the many other causes for power outages, it is important to be prepared. When the power goes out, your provider will work tirelessly to get things up and running. But what can you do to keep your family safe and comfortable in the meantime? Use this power outage checklist to help you plan ahead. Also, if you ever need help make sure to check out our 24-hour emergency technician.
Prepare Ahead of Time
- Stay Connected
It is important to be able to get in touch with loved ones and doctors. Have a paper copy of phone numbers and addresses of anyone that you will need to talk to or check on during a power outage. If your cell phone battery dies, how many phone numbers do you actually have memorized? Speaking of cell phones, keep your charger on you at all times. You never know when you’ll find a power source to plug in to.
- Food and Water
Enough food and water should be stored for each person of your family. Because power outages sometimes last more than a few hours, try to overestimate what you will need. Try to store enough food and water for up to a week. It’s recommended that at least one gallon of water per person is stored, but more is always better. Base food storage on how much each person in your family eats. Be sure that your food is nonperishable and not expired. Canned food is usually the way to go, but you can also get dry food or Ready to Eat Meals that just require some added water. Don’t forget a can opener, paper plates and utensils! Use your power outage checklist to keep an inventory of the food you have, and the amount of water you need.
- Medication and First Aid
You should always have a first aid kit on hand, for any emergency. A separate kit should be stored with your food and water supply. That way you know it is fully stocked and ready to go. A basic kit should include bandages of various sizes, antiseptic, gauze, tweezers, scissors, sterile gloves, a thermometer, aspirin, tape, ACE bandages, alcohol wipes, a space blanket and antihistamine wipes. If someone in your family takes medication regularly, have 7 days of medication stashed in your emergency kit, along with whatever equipment you need to administer it, like a supply of syringes or a diabetic kit. If medication must be refrigerated, have a cooler with cold packs (the break and shake kind) on hand. If someone in your home has a medical condition with a treatment that requires electricity, notify rescue crews soon after the power goes out – this will put your loved one higher on the priority list. Another good idea would be to contact your local fire department before an emergency happens so they are aware of the situation before things get busy. Having the kit ready to go and the medications written down on the power outage checklist will keep you from forgetting things.
In your kit you should also have light sources (flashlights and batteries, lanterns, candles, and matches) and a radio (battery-powered or hand-crank). Make sure your battery stash is kept dry and up to date. Batteries stored years ago may not be prepared when you need them. The radio is an important way to keep updated with what is going on. The power may be out, phone lines could be down, and cell towers may be out of commission but you should be able to tune in on your radio.
During a Power Outage
- Stay Calm and Stay Informed
Power outages are to be expected and they are nothing to panic about. In any situation, staying calm is important. Make a plan and keep up to date with the latest information. You can usually do that on your cell phone, but if your battery is dead or if the cell towers aren’t working, checking in on the radio will help you stay informed. Turn on the radio and listen for 5 to 10 minutes every hour.
- How Big is the Outage and What Caused It?
Determining the cause of the outage is key to making a plan. If the outage is due to some electrical malfunction, and not weather-related, then going out is usually safe. Knowing where the outage is can also help you decide where to go. If a friend still has power, it might be more comfortable to camp out at their house until the problem is solved. However, if the outage is due to weather, be more cautious. Winter storms or hurricanes are not something to mess with and bunkering down in your own home is probably the safest thing to do.
Unplug all appliances during an outage. Power surges can occur and damage your refrigerator or microwave. Open the refrigerator as little as possible to keep the cold air in. Food should last for about four hours inside the refrigerator before it spoils. No food above 40 degrees Farenheit should be eaten. Food in the freezer will last longer, but if it has thawed, do not refreeze it. If you have a generator, be sure to use it outside. These machines produce carbon monoxide, just like a car.
Having an emergency stash can be a life saver, because you never know when disaster will strike. Most power outages only last a few hours, but it is better to be over prepared. Make sure your emergency kit is ready to go, well-maintained by checking it every few months, and that you have looked over your power outage checklist. For more information on what to do during a power outage, check out https://www.ready.gov/power-outages.
This power outage checklist can help you prepare for lots of emergencies, not just the lights going out. Have an emergency kit ready to go at all times to make sure you have everything you will need. Remember – take precautions and be prepared. Better safe than sorry! Our 24-hour emergency technician is always here if you need tips or help in any situation.
Emergency Kit Check
|Contact Information – phone #s and addresses of family, friends, doctors|
|Food and Water – At least 1 gallon/person and nonperishable food for 7 days|
Paper plates, plastic ware
|Medication and First Aid |
First Aid Kit Checklist
Medication List (enough for 7 days):
Equipment needed for medication:
Light sources – flashlights, candles and matches, lantern
Batteries – various sizes, stored in dry place
Cell phone charger – you never know when/where you can plug in
Radio – extra batteries, or hand-crank powered