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Lightning striking a power line


Be Prepared:


  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Cold water bottles will help keep food cold during a power outage and can also be used for drinking water.
  • Check with your physician or pharmacist about any medication that needs to be refrigerated. It is important to know how long medication is safe in the refrigerator without power.
  • Make a plan to prepare for family members with disabilities or who have ill health.
  • Try to keep gas tanks at least half full. If the power goes out, gas stations may be unavailable.
  • Have extra cash available. ATMs will not work without electricity.
  • Keep a key to the house with you when away from home. The garage will not open if the power is out.

Blackout-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit:

  • Extra batteries
  • Large flashlights or emergency lighting
  • Food that does not require heat
  • Warm clothes and blankets

Be Safe:


  • Severe weather, such as thunderstorms, tornados, winter storms and strong winds.
  • Extreme hot or cold temperatures.


  • Use only flashlights or emergency lighting. Never use candles during a blackout or power outage due to fire risk.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep the contents inside as fresh as possible. If you must eat food, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and electronics. The return of power may cause surges that can damage them.
  • If it is hot outside, move to the lowest level of your home, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink water.
  • If it is cold outside, dress in warm clothing and layers, keep doors shut and never use the stove or charcoal as a heat source.
  • Use extreme caution when driving.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 to ask about the power outage. Listen to a battery powered radio for updates.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by not using grills, unvented gas or kerosene heaters, generators, or ovens and stoves in the house.


  • Throw away food that has been exposed to temperatures more than 40 degrees for two hours or more, or if they have unusual color, odor or texture. Remember: When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Report downed power lines. Stay away. Stay safe!


More Information/Additional Resources:

FEMA Power Outage Website:
FEMA Accessible: CDC Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (ASL Video)
FEMA Accessible: Lifesaving Safety Tips PSA (ASL Video)
FEMA CDC Accessible: Returning Home Safely After a Disaster (ASL Video)
What to Do Before, During, and After a Power Outage (PDF)