Before a Power Interruption


image of woman with a shining a flashlight directly at you

Assemble Essential Supplies Including:

  • Keep an emergency food kit in your home. Food should be easy to store without refrigeration or cooking. Some suggested food items include: grain products, canned foods such as meat, fish, or soup, peanut butter, nuts, energy bars, non-perishable milk products and pasta sauce dishes. Keep additional supplies, such as cutlery, dishes and a manual can opener in your kit, as well.
  • Keep enough water on hand to sustain you for three days without power. You need at least two bottles of drinking water per adult per day. Extra water is needed for cooking and washing.
  • Ensure you have a phone in your home that does not require electricity (a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone, radio, or pager.)
  • Keep several flashlights on hand, with fresh batteries and spare bulbs. (Due to the extreme risk of fire, do not use candles during a power interruption.)
  • Keep a portable radio on hand with extra batteries. This will enable you to stay tuned into local media for updates.

Prepare Refrigerators and Freezers:

  • If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one. Place the containers in the refrigerator or freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold if the power goes out by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.
  • Remember, water expands as it freezes so it is important to leave room in the container for the expanded water.

Determine Your Medical and First Aid Needs:

  • Keep a first aid kit prepared, with adequate supplies to keep you and your entire family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days. Be sure to include prescription medicine and contact lens solution for a one-week period.
  • If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • If you require an uninterrupted supply of power, including for specialized medical equipment, you are advised to ensure that you have a back-up supply in place.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms:

  • Make sure your home has a battery-operated smoke alarm on every level and a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm.
  • You are responsible for notifying your landlord that the dwelling is without electricity.

Home Escape Planning and Emergency Communication:

  • Make sure everyone knows that they must leave the building immediately in the event of fire.
  • Practice your escape plan.

Protect Your Electronic Equipment:

  • Keep files and operating systems backed up regularly.
  • Buy extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop computer.
  • A power converter allows most laptops (12 volts or less) to be operated from the cigarette lighter of a vehicle.
  • Turn off all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners and other devices when they're not being used.
  • Get a high quality surge protector for all of your computer equipment.
  • If you use a computer a lot, such as for a home business, consider purchasing and installing an un-interruptible power supply (UPS).

Electric Garage Door Openers:

  • Find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it.
  • If you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home upon return from work, be sure to keep a key to your house with you, in case the garage door will not open.