It’s your worst-case scenario.
A major storm was predicted, and this time the predictions were right. Power lines are down, and your electricity may be out for several days. You’re low on everything: food, pet supplies, toilet paper, batteries, diapers and medication.
Imagine how you would feel in this situation. While you can’t predict which weather forecast will come to pass, you can plan ahead so when severe weather strikes, you have the tools and resources to effectively weather the storm. The Department of Homeland Security offers several resources to help you prepare for major weather events and natural disasters at ready.gov/plan.
- Keep your pantry stocked with a three-day supply of nonperishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee, water and other essentials, such as diapers and toiletries.
- Confirm that you have adequate sanitation and hygiene supplies, including towelettes, soap and hand sanitizer.
- Ensure your first-aid kit is stocked with pain relievers, bandages and other medical essentials, and keep prescription medications filled and up to date.
- Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener, and battery-powered radio or TV.
- Organize emergency supplies so they are together in an easily accessible location.
With Advance Warning
If a severe storm is predicted, fully charge all cellphones, laptops and devices so you have maximum power in the event of a power outage.
If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of power you will need, and always review the manufacturer’s instructions to operate it safely. Never use a generator indoors or near doors or windows.
During a Prolonged Outage
In the event of an outage, turn off appliances, TVs, computers and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge and will keep circuits from overloading during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
If utilizing a small household generator, consider using LED holiday lights to illuminate a living area. A strand of 100 white lights draws little energy yet produces considerable light. Solar lights also work, if they can receive some sunlight during the day for charging.
During thunderstorms, the American Red Cross recommends avoiding electrical equipment and landline phones. Use cellphones, battery-powered TVs and radios instead. Keep away from windows. Listen to local news or an emergency weather radio for emergency updates, and check your cooperative’s social media for restoration updates.
After the storm, avoid downed power lines and flooded areas where power lines could be submerged. Allow ample room for utility crews to safely perform their jobs—including on your property.
Power in Planning
Mindful planning for severe storms or other emergencies can reduce stress and anxiety caused by the weather event and can lessen the impact of the storm’s effects. Sign up for emergency alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and install your cooperative’s app on your phone to stay abreast of restoration efforts and other important co-op news and information.
Prepare today because there is power in planning.