Preparing for a Power Outage

Generator-VideoWith a massive blizzard bearing down on the Northeast, I thought it might be a good time to share some tips on how to prepare for a power outage in the cold weather. High winds and two feet of snow could mean downed power lines, fallen trees, and more. Listed below are some tips to help you prepare for Mother Nature’s fury.

  • Put fresh batteries in all flashlights and portable radios and place them all in a central location for easy access. Also charge your electronics in advance of the storm.
  • Keep extra batteries on hand for your electronic devices, including phones and laptops. You can also purchase a solar-powered hand crank charger to charge your electronics. Another idea is  to also have car chargers for these items so that you can charge them in your car if you have no power
  • For those with well water, fill your bathtub with water for sanitation purposes. This can be used to flush toilets without power.
  • Set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings. Do not open the fridge or freezer doors while without power and this will keep your food cold for up to 24 hours. A fully packed freezer can last up to 48 hours.
  • Be sure you have plenty of fuel. If you have a secondary source of heat such as a fireplace/wood stove/pellet stove, be sure to stock up on fuel for these heat sources to keep your home warm while without power. Properly ventilate the room where the stove/fireplace is located.
  • Cover windows with plastic or install storm windows, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows in order to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
  • Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of newspaper and let faucets drip in order to help prevent freezing. For more on preventing frozen pipes, watch this video.
  • Purchase a generator and have an electrician install it so that you can run the basic necessities of your home while without power. Watch this video for more information on using a generator.
  • Be sure your vehicle’s gas tanks are at least half full. Gas stations require electricity for their pumps to work.
  • Stock up on bottled water and food items that do not require refrigeration.
  • Gather all blankets and keep them in an easily accessible area.

Storms can be scary, especially if you lose power for a period of time. The tips listed above will help you weather the storm until the threat has passed and power is restored. For more on preparing for severe weather, see the Storm Season is Here…Are You Prepared? and Cold Weather and Freeze Alert tip sheets.

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