Winter Power Outages – Home Safety

15369115_mSevere winter weather can cause a power outage at one of the worst possible times. We have already seen severe storms and blackouts, even in areas of the country that rarely have snow and ice. And the season is just getting started. When a blackout is caused by a winter storm, you can face the added challenge of being snowed in. You can’t prevent winter power outages, but you can prepare for one.

Before the Storm

  • Keep a corded, land-line phone in house. It will not be affected by a power outage.
  • Get a backup charger for your cell phone.
  • Keep flashlights, with fresh batteries, strategically placed around the house so you can find the quickly in the dark.
  • Make sure that each family member has their own flashlight, and knows where it is.
  • Have extra blankets and warm clothes that you can wear in layers in a handy place, even if you do not normally have very cold weather in your area. If you store these items in the attic or another hard to reach place, go ahead and get them out now, so you’re not fumbling around for them when the lights go out.
  • Check your fire extinguishers, and replace them if needed.
  • Make sure that your first aid kit is fully stocked. If someone gets hurt during a storm, you may not be able to get to a hospital, and an ambulance may not be able to get to you.
  • Store plenty of fresh, clean water, whether you buy bottle water, or bottle it yourself from the tap.
  • Have plenty of food on-hand that does not require refrigeration or cooking. Go for items that will provide real nutrition such as canned goods, beef jerky, and peanut butter.
  • If anyone in your household relies on medical equipment which uses electricity, invest in a backup power supply.
  • Consider having a power inverter on-hand. It will let you use the power from your car battery to run items that normally plug into a wall socket. Depending on your needs, you will probably have to keep the car running while using the inverter. Do not run your car in the garage.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, familiarize yourself with the procedure for manual operation now.