The hazard-focused theme for week 4 (September 20 – 26) of National Preparedness Month is power outage. Although power outages can happen anytime, they are often associated with severe weather. Since power outages can last for several hours or several days, it’s important to plan ahead. TheReady Campaign offers the following tips to prepare.
BEFORE a power outage:
- Charge devices that use battery power and ensure you have extra batteries for these devices;
- Identify local sources where dry or block ice can be purchased;
- Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to fuel their pumps;
- Create a disaster supply kit that includes alternative cell phone chargers, a flashlight, water & nonperishable food, a non-electric can opener, cash, and a battery or hand-crank radio.
If you require power for medical or assistive devices, get battery back-up for the devices, know how long the batteries will last, plan a location you can move to that has power, ask local Emergency Management for information about registering to be identified as someone that has power dependent medical devices, and learn what services may be available.
DURING a power outage:
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. For most standard size refrigerators and freezers, a cool temperature can be maintained for several hours. For food you need to use, plan on having a cooler with conventional or dry ice available;
- Use flashlights for emergency lighting. Never use candles due to extreme risk of fire;
- Only use a generator outside of your home and keep it away from windows and doors;
- For drugs that require refrigeration, check the manufacturer’s label or contact your doctor for guidance. Most drugs can be stored on ice for several hours; and
- Make preparations to keep refrigerated medications in a closed cooler until the power comes back on.
Learn the importance of being prepared for power outages and get more survival tips in FEMA’s “Going off Grid” resource guide.
The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management
Training, Exercise & Outreach Branch