Before storms hit, make sure you have the supplies you’ll need.
Prepare for outages by stocking the pantry with water, food that doesn't require refrigeration, and batteries for your radio and flashlights.
- Make sure your flashlights and battery-powered radios have fresh batteries, are ready to use and easy to find. Stock extra batteries, too.
- Have at least one telephone that is not dependent on electricity. (Cordless phones won’t work during a power interruption.)
- If you have a cell phone, make sure the battery is fully charged.
- Sign up for our free Outage Alerts service. You’ll automatically receive notifications with the latest information about your power outage.
- Have candles, lamps and matches handy. Instruct family members in their proper use to reduce the risk of accidental fires.
- Every home should have fire safety equipment: fire extinguishers, baking soda and heavy blankets.
- Store drinking water in extra bottles or plastic containers. If you have an electric water pump, fill pails, kettles, bathtubs and sink with water for other uses.
- Stock up on canned and dried foods that require no refrigeration and little or no cooking. Be sure you have an old-fashioned, manual can opener on hand.
- Make plans for emergency heating and cooking.
- Never use a grill or stove intended for use outdoors in your home.
- Don’t use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
- Put extra blankets and your warmest clothes where you can find them easily. Layering clothing is a great way to stay warm.
- Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, stereos) to prevent overloading and possible damage when power is restored. Turning off this equipment may mean that you have to unplug it, turn off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse for the circuit in your home that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” so you’ll know when power has been restored.
- Make sure your electric stove tops and/or ovens are off. When the power is restored, the burners may begin heating up and could be a hazard.
If you anticipate a long outage, consider the following ways to make yourself more comfortable.
- Dress warmly. And stay dry.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. Perishable foods should be discarded if they reach a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for longer than two hours. Please visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for more information on how to protect food and water during storms.
- Let nature do the trick. If it's cold, you can store foods in a shed or garage. If it's below freezing, keep frozen foods outside in wooden or metal containers -- but be sure to place containers out of direct sunlight.
- Use water sparingly. Water that you use for cooking and washing may be used again for flushing the toilet.
- Don't forget the pipes! If it's cold out and heat is off for an extended period, wrap water pipes with insulation or newspaper. In very cold weather let the faucet drip or drain the pipes -- remember to save the water!