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What to do in the event of a prolonged power outage: tips and how to prepare

Severe weather has recently affected various parts of the U.S., at times causing power outages. Info on what you can do in the event that this happens.

Severe weather has recently affected various parts of the U.S., at times causing power outages. Info on what you can do in the event that this happens.

Severe weather has battered parts of the U.S., from heavy snowstorms in the northeast to unprecedented snow fall in California. Such weather events can cause power outages, which sometimes can last much longer than just a couple of hours.

An extended period without electricity can be challenging because of the discomfort and risks that it brings. The best way to handle it is proper preparation, which you can start as soon as you learn of a severe weather warning.

Here are some ways to prepare for a prolonged power outage.

Emergency kit

Prepare a bag or backpack that contains essential supplies such as flashlights and batteries, first aid kit, blankets, water, non-perishable food, and a can opener. This kit is one that would be easy to grab and carry in the event that you need to leave your house; for example, in a flash flood.

Food and water

This is over and above the food and water in your emergency pack. Keep a stock of non-perishable food items such as canned goods and bottled water. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed to preserve the cold and keep the food from spoiling.


Charge your devices

Once you are aware that inclement weather is coming, make sure that your phones, laptops, and other important electronic devices are fully charged. Having fully charged power banks is helpful too.


Have at least one flashlight for each member of the family and keep batteries on hand. Candles and matches should be avoided, because they are a fire hazard.

Be informed about your medical needs

If anyone in your household relies on medical equipment that requires electricity, such as oxygen tanks, or medicines that need refrigeration, make sure you have backup power sources. Talk to your medical provider about how to deal with these needs in case of a power outage. Know how long refrigerated medicines can last at higher temperatures, and get a detailed plan on what to do with medications that are vital to life.


When the power goes out, disconnect appliances and electronic gadgets. It is not enough to simply turn them off. Unplugging them helps avoid damage from electrical surges or spikes when power returns.

If you use camp stoves or charcoal grills for cooking, only use them outdoors at least 20 feet away from windows.

Stay warm

When the power outage occurs during cold weather, layer up with warm clothing and blankets. Do not use a gas stove as a heat source for your home. If the temperature becomes too extreme, find out if there is a community location near you that has power.


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