The snow’s slowly falling outside of the house and beginning to pile up. The weatherman warned of strong blizzard like conditions, but the storm is becoming more severe than anticipated. Fortunately, you’ve planned ahead in case of a power outage emergency.

Power outages are most common during inclement weather. This may include a snow storm, hurricane, or other severe weather like earthquakes and tornadoes. Sometimes you know ahead of time that a storm has the potential to cause a power outage, but oftentimes an outage can occur at a moment’s notice.

It’s important to know how to respond, especially if the situation lasts more than just a few days. Here’s what to do:

How to Prepare

Most outages are temporary, but usually unexpected. A minor storm causes a downed wire, a tree falls on a power line, a blown transformer, or another random occurrence. But some power outages can be planned for, the ones that you could expect if there’s a severe weather event headed your way.

Planning for these outages is similar to planning for other disaster related events. You’ll want to:

  • Have an evacuation plan.
  • An emergency kit that’s packed with non perishable food, water, clothes, and enough goods to last at least three days.
  • Flashlights, and other forms of light that don’t use fire, so an accident doesn’t happen.
  • Can openers, a first aid kit, battery powered camping lantern or flashlights, and a battery powered NOAA weather radio
  • Have a few games, books, and playing cards to entertain each other.
  • Have all prescriptions and necessary medical equipment devices in advance.
  • Have a backup way to heat food and water, like a camping stove or barbecue grill, but don’t bring them into the house. That can create a dangerous CO poisoning possibility.
  • It will be cold, so stay warm. Keep doors shut and use towels to block drafts that can come in via windows and door cracks.
  • Installing insulate windows with black blankets can help keep warm. This will draw heat from the sun if its beams are still penetrating the window, simply put the blankets on the floor where the sun’s rays are shining.
  • Turning on a hot bath can bring some heat to the house and having the faucets trickle water will prevent pipes from freezing over.
  • Have water with you. You’ll need it for bathtubs or to flush the toilet.

If you have a heads up on a situation that could cause a power outage, prepare the home by maintaining any landscaping, fallen debris, trees that hang over power lines, and board up the home to protect it from inclement weather.

Remember to unplug any electronics and electrical equipment. When the power comes on, these can be damaged by power spikes.

If you have special health care needs and use equipment for oxygen or dialysis equipment that operate via power. You can tell most power companies and they will keep this on file for you.

Don’t Prepare Last Minute

If you know severe weather is going to occur, head to the store long before a storm happens, so you don’t find yourself waiting in long lines and dealing with the traffic and congestion that’s caused by last minute shoppers.

Make sure that you fill up your vehicles with at least a half a tank of gas, because you’ll never know when you’ll need the car for evacuation, and gas stations may be closed due to storms.

If the power does go out, make sure it wasn’t simply a blown circuit by checking the home’s breakers in the electrical panel

A power outage can be managed with the right preparation, but you must plan ahead of time.