Nonprofit Insurance Program

Power Outages: What do you really need?

By Alexa Connelly
May 26, 2011

Power outages can happen at any time of year. During the winter, storms are the usual culprits, but in spring floods, enthusiastic backhoe operators and skyward thrusting trees join the party. Bluntly, a power cut can happen to anyone, and coping will be easier if you have a plan and supplies prepared in advance.

The most important items you need are emergency lighting (at least a flashlight and lantern) the emergency number for your power company and access to a phone, so you can either report the incident or find out what’s happening. (Landlines normally continue to operate during an outage but they must be corded – directly connected to the outlet). A battery-powered radio may also help. If you need power for a water supply or purification, keep a regularly-replaced bottled supply in your home.

During an outage, disconnect all appliances, except the fridge and freezer, so they won’t be damaged by a surge when power is restored. If the outage lasts more than a couple of hours you may need to dispose of refrigerated foods, though a freezer will hold food safely for up to 48 hours provided you don’t open the door. If the weather is cold, keep warm by staying in bed, with extra blankets.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more at http://tinyurl.com/cdc-outage.

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