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Before Storms

​​Prepare for an Approaching Storm

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  • Listen to weather forecasts and plan ahead.
  • If you lose power, use flashlights. Do not use candles or kerosene lamps; they can create a safety hazard.
  • Develop a family emergency plan that includes alternative arrangements should you need to leave your home. Make provisions for special needs family members such as the elderly, disabled, medically affected, or infants. If you are dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, seek alternate arrangements in the event of an outage.
  • Have the following items on ready:
    • Flashlights, not candles
    • Fresh batteries
    • Battery-operated clock radio
    • Fully-charged cell phone
    • Non-perishable foods
    • Water: one gallon of bottled water per person per day without electric service. If your home is served by well water, fill a bathtub with water for sanitation use.
    • Local maps
    • Blankets
  • Keep a first-aid kit in your home and in your car. Visit the FEMA Emergency Preparedness checklist for recommended items.
  • Make a list of emergency phone numbers (including 1-800-841-4141 to report outages).
  • Keep cash on hand.

Protect Your Food

To protect your food, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food can stay frozen for 36 hours or more in a freezer if you keep the door closed. Consider freezing containers of water ahead of time and keeping them in the freezer to help your food stay frozen longer. For more information on keeping food safe during a power outage, check out USDA Food Safety: Keeping Food Safe in an Emergency.

Protect Appliances and Electronic Equipment

Many home electronics can be damaged during a power outage. Here are some ways to protect sensitive equipment:
  • Purchase equipment with built-in surge protection or a battery-powered back-up system.
  • Plug sensitive equipment into separate, grounded circuits to isolate them from fluctuations caused by major appliance restarts.
  • Plug electronic equipment into electrical surge suppressors or arresters on properly grounded circuits.
  • Consider having a lightning arrester installed at your main circuit panel.
  • During a power outage, turn off all appliances, including your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater to avoid overloading circuits. Leave one lamp on so you will know when your service is restored.
  • If you own a business or have a home office, consider installing an uninterruptible power supply for temporary backup power for your electronic equipment.
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