If your lights go off during a storm, be prepared for the power outage. Assemble supplies to have on hand rather than rushing around when the storm is coming and waiting in long lines for milk or bread. Rotate your supplies to keep them fresh and use the following checklist to prepare for power outages:
Have Plenty of Food
- Keep a 3- to 5-day supply of drinking water in plastic bottles. Plan on at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
- Store a manual can opener with enough nonperishable foods for 3 to 5 days. Canned meats, tuna fish and peanut butter are good foods to store. Don’t forget pet foods!
- Conserve water by using paper plates and plastic utensils.
- Have a camp stove or grill for outdoor cooking.
Stay In Touch
- Have a portable,battery-powered radio and alarm clock.
- Have one non-portable phone that will work even if power is interrupted.
- Plan where to meet and how to communicate with family members if separated.
Keep essential family member contact information near your phone, in your wallet, and in your glove compartment.
Keep Things Going
- Keep plenty of gas in your car.
- Keep extra batteries, matches, propane, charcoal and firewood.
Stay Happy, Healthy and Warm
- Coordinate with neighbors for care of the elderly and disabled living alone.
- Maintain a supply of prescriptions, nonprescription drugs, vitamins and special dietary foods.
- Playing cards, books, drawing and writing supplies, and board games help pass the time. If you have a video camera and tapes, your family can make a storm documentary.
- Keep sanitary and personal hygiene supplies replenished. Premoistened cleansing towelettes are useful and help conserve water.
- Use plastic trash bags and ties for garbage.
- Put first-aid kits in your home and car.
- Make sure you have cold weather clothing, foul weather gear, blankets and sleeping bags.
- Consider purchasing alternative UL-approved heating devices. For example, a fireplace insert or woodstove will keep the heat in your home instead of up the chimney.
- Use flashlights and other battery-operated lighting instead of candles.
- Keep fire extinguishers fully charged.
- Fill your bathtub with water for bathroom use before the storm (if you have a well).
Prepare your disaster supply kit
A disaster supply kit can be useful if you become confined to your home, are without power for an extended time, or must evacuate as a result of severe weather. Keep it updated and readily accessible for safety, comfort and convenience. It is especially important if you have a baby, small children or pets in the home. All household members should know where it is stored. Replace food, water, medical supplies and batteries as needed. Pack the essential items you may need if you have to evacuate your home in an easy-to-carry container. Don't forget essential prescriptions or other specific health-related items that may be essential to you or your family members.
3 gallons/person minimum, in a food-grade plastic container
Additional water for sanitation
Minimum 3-day supply of non-perishable food that requires no refrigeration or preparation, and little or no water, for example:
Quick energy snacks
Ready-to-eat canned meats
Ready-to-eat soups (not concentrated)
First Aid Kit
One for your home and one for each car