Before the storm
- Store away some bottled water. This will be handy if you are on a well that runs off your electric service.
- Keep on hand extra flashlights and a battery-powered radio. Also store some extra batteries for the radio and flashlights. Candles are another item to have on hand.
- Have a good supply of nonperishable food, such as canned goods, powdered milk, dry cereal, and dried fruits.
- Plan for an alternate place to stay. Perhaps there is a relative or friend that may not be affected by a storm the way you would be.
- If you think you might ride out the storm, store away some blankets in case your heat is not working during the outage.
- If possible, have access to a cellular phone. Your home’s hardwire or cordless telephone may not work without electricity.
- Make sure you know how to manually open and close any electric garage doors, security doors or gates.
- Have surge protectors on important electrical equipment such as computers, DVD players and televisions.
- Be aware that during an outage, gas appliances with electronic ignitions will not work because electricity is needed to ignite the natural gas. Appliances requiring fans or other electric devices to run (such as central heating units and gas clothes dryers) will not operate.
During the storm
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed while the power is out.
- If you see fallen power lines or poles, stay away from them. Let the professional crews from the cooperative repair them.
- Call the cooperative to report your outage. Don’t assume someone else will call.
- If you can go to a friend’s or relative’s home that has power, go.
Pack an Emergency Bag
Buy emergency supplies before an emergency happens. Many power outages are short-lived, but some may last days. Here are some things to consider for a long-term outage.
Stock up on:
- Candles, minimum four to five dozen
- Candle stick holders
- Matches and disposable lighters
- Battery-powered space heater
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- A supply of non-perishable foods needing little or no cooking (be sure you pack any special dietary foods, baby food and formula, if needed.); check a camping store for food supplies
- Manual can opener and bottle opener
- Water stored in clean, non-corrosive, non-breakable, tightly covered containers such as soft drink bottles ― plan for at least two quarts per person per day
- Hand tools such as hammer, screwdriver and wood saw
- Camp stove or canned heat stove, and fuel for three to five days; or hibachi grill and charcoal
- Water repellent tarps
- Extra blankets
- Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils
- Fire extinguisher
- Extension cords, long enough to reach your neighbor's house
- Personal hygiene products, sanitary supplies, diapers and first aid supplies
- Ice chest and ice or frozen ice packs
Refrigerated Food Safety
Refrigerated food must be kept at temperatures of 40 degrees to avoid spoiling. Do not taste food to figure out if it's safe to eat.
- A closed refrigerator will keep food safe for about four hours.
- A closed freezer will maintain food quality for about 48 hours if full, 24 hours if half full.
- 50 pounds of dry ice will keep a freezer cold for two days.
If your power outage lasts longer than four to eight hours, discard the following items:
- Milk products (except butter)
- Fresh meats, poultry and seafood
- Soft cheeses, low-fat cheese and shredded cheese
- Creamy-based dressings, gravy and spaghetti sauce
After an extended power outage, discard all previously frozen products except breads, nuts, hard cheeses, fruit juices.
Tip: Use Mother Nature to your advantage during the winter outage and gather accumulated snow to protect your refrigerated foods.