If a winter storm causes your power to go out, whether it be for a few hours or a few days, there are important tips to help you better weather the outage and stay safe, especially in the case of extended outages.

  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.For more information about food safety visit our food page.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
  • If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
  • Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system. For more information about generators visit:

You can also prepare well before a winter storm strikes, which will help you better weather any power outage. Here's how:

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.For more information visit: Get Tech Ready
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by visiting your state’s or local website so you can locate the closest cooling and warming shelters.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device determine a back-up plan.For more planning information tips visit: Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs

Meteorologist/Staff Writer