What to do When the Power Goes Out

What do I need to prepare for the next power outage?
  • Flashlights, extra batteries, and matches. Keep them where you can find them in the dark.
  • Battery-powered radio.
  • Battery-powered or wind-up clock.
  • Canned or dried non-perishable foods, and a manual can opener.
  • A safe alternate source of heat and extra fuel (wood, kerosene).
  • Extra blankets and warm clothes.
  • One gallon of bottled drinking water per person per day.
  • A gallon of liquid chlorine bleach for sanitizing utensils and dishes.
  • A regular (not cordless) phone.
How do you treat contaminated water?

If the water from your tap is clear:

  • Boil it for 3 minutes. This kills disease-causing bacteria and parasites.


  • Add 1/8 teaspoon household bleach per gallon of water. Let it sit for 1/2 hour.

If water is cloudy:

  • Pour it through a coffee filter and boil it for 3 minutes.
  • If you cant boil it, filter it and add 1/4 teaspoon of bleach per gallon. Let it sit for 1 hour.
How do I keep food safe?
  • Use foods that spoil rapidly first.
  • Keep cold food cold. Use dry ice or an ice chest. In winter, store food outside.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to conserve cold air.
  • If food is cold to touch, it is probably safe to keep, use, or refreeze.
  • Discard meat, seafood, dairy products, and cooked food that are not cold to touch.
  • Fruits, vegetables, and food in undamaged cans are safe.
  • Food that needs no refrigeration: jelly, butter, margarine, ketchup, mustard, pickles, relish.
  • If in doubt, throw it out.
  • For information on food safety, call your health department or cooperative extension service.

For More Information Visit FoodSafety.gov


How should a portable generator be used?

Use generators only as independent power sources. Keep them outside and run a cord inside. Don’t connect generators to main service panels. This could injure or kill utility workers trying to restore power.

How can I safely use alternate heat sources?
  • Do not burn anything inside your home without adequate ventilation to the outdoors.
  • Have enough fuel available for alternate heat sources, such as wood for a wood stove.
  • Never use gas ovens, gas ranges, barbecues, and most portable or propane heaters for indoor heating. These units use oxygen and create carbon monoxide that can cause suffocation.
  • Before using an alternate heat source, read the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have firefighting materials: dry powder, fire extinguisher, heavy tarp or blanket, and water available.
How can I stay warm?
  • Wear extra layers of clothes and use several layers of blankets.
  • Do not get wet if there is no way to get dry.
  • Drink and eat enough to preserve health.
  • Close off all rooms that are not in use and do not need to be heated.
  • To keep rooms warm, close curtains, shades, or drapes. Cover doors and windows.