It’s Always Smart to Prepare for an Unexpected Power Outage

Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy.

A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly. Power outages:

  • May disrupt communications, water, transportation
  • May close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services
  • Can cause food spoilage, water contamination
  • Can prevent the use of medical devices

Protect Yourself During a Power Outage

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows
  • Do not use a gas stove to heat your home
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges
  • Use alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or power-dependent medical devices
  • If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling
  • Check on neighbors

How to Stay Safe When a Power Outage Threatens

Prepare Now

  • Take an inventory now of the items you need that rely on electricity
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines – Find out how long medications can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life
  • Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out
  • Sign up for local alerts and warning systems – Monitor weather reports
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home
  • Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last
  • Review the supplies that are available in case of no power – Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member – Have enough nonperishable food and water
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored
  • Keep mobile phones and other electronic equipment charged and has tanks full

Survive During

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed – The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours  – A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours – Use coolers with ice if necessary – Monitor temperatures with a thermometer
  • Use food supplies that do not require refrigeration
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning – Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows – Never use a gas stovetop or over to heat your home
  • Check on your neighbors – Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures
  • Go to a community location with power – if heat or cold is extreme
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics – Power may return with momentary “surges’ or “spikes” that can cause damage

Be Safe After

  • When in doubt, throw it out! – Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40º F or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture
  • If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated unless the drug’s label says otherwise – If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist and use medicine only until a new supply is available

Take an Active Role in Your Safety

Go to and search for power outage. Download the FEMA app to get more information about preparing for a power outage.