Always have a good cooler on hand and ice in the freezer.
Have some emergency cash on hand. Even if stores are open, most will only be able to accept cash because of loss of power and/or data lines. Functioning ATM’s are bound to have long lines and may be far away. That is a problem when gasoline is in short supply, too.
Have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio on hand–this is your lifeline. And be sure you have a NOAA weather radio with a battery back-up. It may save your life, especially if a storm hits at night.
Be sure you have a good stock of batteries. Batteries, particularly D cells, may be in short supply.
More Tips for Preparing
Modern LED flashlights and lanterns will operate for an extended period of time on a few batteries. There are also solar-powered and hand-crank flashlights and lanterns available.
If needing to power a few appliances during an outage, a portable generator can do the job. Just don’t run it inside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning!
If needing to power more electrical equipment have an electrician install what is needed to keep the power from traveling outside your home, endangering utility line workers.
Tips & Checklist DURING a power outage
Don’t open your refrigerator or freezer unnecessarily after power is off.
If you are in a warm climate, you can heat water for bathing in the sun in a dark plastic container or garden hose.
Big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot are usually prepared to do business in an emergency. They have backup power to their cash registers and bring in emergency supplies like generators quickly.
Get your food out of the refrigerator before it goes bad, and throw out anything that is questionable. If you get sick, it may be difficult to get emergency services.
Turn off power to your appliances, especially your stove and other things that could cause a fire or injury if they came on unexpectedly. Turn off power to HVAC, water heater and other heavy power users, to help avoid a spike in demand when the power comes back on. Leave a light or two on so you will know when you have power.
Conserve water. Have a back-up supply of drinking water. There may be no power to water treatment facilities, pumps, or monitoring equipment. Along with hospitals those are often the first priorities for restoring power, but it is possible that safe drinking water may be in short supply for a while.
Conserve gasoline. It may be several days until gas stations are able to get generators and rig up to their pumps. Functioning gas stations may be in short supply, far away and have long lines.