This was a rough winter.  You never know if indeed you will be the unfortunate ones to experience a prolonged power outage during “nice” weather.  Please be prepared and be safe.

Just In Case

These power outage tips should be committed to memory.  We go from day to day, everything is normal and we just expect things to be the way they are.  Such is the case with the power that is supplied to our homes.  You fall into one of two categories.  You have have never experienced a prolonged power outage, or you have.

It’s like learning from experience.  If you’ve gone through a long power outage, you wonder why those who have not can be so lackluster about it.  You know, it is a pain.  If it is an impending pain, like an approaching storm, the only solace is that you know you are prepared for the worst.

This article lists some of the main considerations that we ALL should take care of.  Some are simple, some require more preparation.  The important thing to do is to take action.  It is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard when your family’s safety and comfort are concerned.

hurricanes are a leading cause of power outages

Checklist for Power Outage Tips

  • Make sure that all of your emergency equipment is in good working order, such as flashlights, portable or standby generators, radios (non-electric of course), light sticks, and lanterns, and buy extra batteries in each size you’ll need.
  • Do not use candles for light if you can avoid them.  Use them as a last resort.
  • Some people depends on an electrically-powered life support systems.  If this is you and you don’t have a suitable generator, know where to go to a safe location where electricity will be available.  If you do intend to use a portable generator, make sure that it has a pure sine wave, or a total harmonic distortion (THD) suitable for powering sensitive electronic systems.  For those needs, an inverter generator should be used.
  • Some shelters are designed for people with health needs—just remember to take your own medical equipment and medications.
  • Turn your refrigerator/freezer to the coldest setting. In the event of a power outage, food will keep fresh longer.  Even with a generator, you can cycle the use on and off the refrigerator to power other necessities or comforts.
  • Stock an ice chest with ice or frozen ice packs.
  • Store matches or a lighter in a waterproof container.
  • For cooking, purchase butane, propane, or a canned heat stove and enough fuel.  If you use a charcoal and not a gas grill, do not use these units indoors.
  • Properly secure propane tanks in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated storage area.
  • If a storm is impending, or if there is a power outage, unplug all unnecessary electric equipment and appliances until the storm has passed or until power is restored.  Sudden surges can damage your electrical appliances and equipment.
  • Stay away from downed power lines (this should go without saying). Assume they are energized and dangerous.
  • Should you need to evacuate, take emergency supplies and remember to shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch.
  • When using a portable generator, carefully read and follow instructions in the manufacturer’s manual.
  • Especially, do not plug the generator into your household electrical outlets.
  • Never use a generator indoors.  The exhaust is deadly.  Read the article on using a generator safely on this site.
  • If you have a rooftop solar panel system, consult with your licensed solar contractor regarding normal and emergency operation procedures for your solar system. As a safety precaution, most photo voltaic (PV) systems are designed to safely shut down during outages. PV systems typically have monitoring systems which allow owners to check on the status of their system.

power outage tips help local power companies

Do Your Due Diligence

This list is not intended to be an exhaustive one.  Each situation may require additional safeguards.  Consider your living situation and your family’s needs.  Remember there are many things to remember for safety DURING the outage, especially with regards to use of a generator.

You will want to consider your dietary needs.  Keeping a supply of non-perishable food items.

Having plenty of clean, drinkable water.  Do not ration.  You must stay hydrated.

Keep a supply of needed medication.

Keep your car full of fuel.  Gas stations need electricity to pump gas.

Keep some cash on hand, as banks may be limited, or electronic transactions may be down.

Keep your important documents and keepsakes ready, JUST IN CASE.

Rely on your neighbors and local authorities.  In times of need, the best is brought out in us.

You don’t HAVE to have a portable generator in a power outage.  But they often prove VERY useful, and many people keep one JUST for this purpose.  There are several useful articles on this site to help you, should you decide you need to have one:

What Size Portable Generator Do I Need?

Extension Cords for Portable Generators


Hopefully, you won’t need to ever utilize these tips.  But if ever you need to, you’ll be glad you did.  Share your plan with all members of your family.  Often, preparedness leads to calm, which is very important in making it through such a trying time.