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Preparing For An Outage

Preparing for an Outage

  • If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging.
  • Have an alternate source of light: keep flashlights and extra batteries where they can be found easily. Lanterns and candles are not recommended because they can cause fires.
  • Stock emergency food and related items. Ideal choices are nonperishable foods that require no cooking, such as canned fruit, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, cereal bars, canned soup, tuna, and bread.
  • Do not stock your refrigerator or freezer with foods that may perish during a power outage.
  • Keep a manual can opener handy, along with disposable plates and utensils.
  • If you plan to use a charcoal or gas grill for cooking, keep the grill outdoors.
  • If your water at home is supplied by a well, store extra water in clean jugs, bathtubs, or laundry tubs. During an outage, you may flush a toilet, then pour water into the toilet tank (not the bowl) before flushing again. Turn off the water supply to the toilet before flushing. Toilet tanks hold several gallons of water, so plan accordingly. Remember, melted snow or ice can be a source of water during winter outages (but not for drinking). During the summer, you may be able to use water from a pool or hot tub.
  • Plan an alternate source of heat in the event of a cold-weather crisis. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, keep adequate kindling and firewood on hand. Have extra clothing, blankets, or sleeping bags available.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, place the generator outside, not in a crawl space, basement, or attached garage. Make sure your generator is connected safely; an improperly connected generator can cause serious injury or death. When your power comes back on, turn off and disconnect your generator immediately.
  • Make sure that you have a standard phone available. Cordless phones do not work without electricity. If you use a cell phone, an auto adapter may be needed to recharge your phone.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries and stay tuned to local news bulletins and weather reports.
  • Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Fill up your car’s gas tank.
  • Maintain a supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM machines may not work if the power is out.

During an Outage

  • Turn off all the major appliances in your home, especially the heat pump. This will prevent damage to the appliances once the power is restored. Then, try not to turn everything back on at once; turn on appliances gradually so the electric demand does not jump suddenly.
  • Make sure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away. Do not set dishes, towels, or paper on the stove; these may catch on fire if a burner is on when the power comes on.
  • Leave the freezer and refrigerator closed so food will stay cold longer.
  • Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines. Contact with live lines may result in serious injury or death. Let qualified NREMC crews handle the clearing and repair work. Please report downed power lines to NREMC immediately.

Other Sources of Information

The National Weather Service, along with the Red Cross, offers winter and severe storm preparedness guides. These guides are useful tools for understanding and dealing with storms. It's a good idea to read these booklets and additional tips before they're needed and make any necessary preparations.

National Weather Service Severe Storm Safety Information

National Weather Service Winter Weather Safety Information


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