Before storms hit, make sure you have the supplies you’ll need.
Prepare for outages by stocking the pantry with water, food that doesn't require refrigeration, and batteries for your radio and flashlights.
- Make sure your flashlights and battery-powered radios have fresh batteries, are ready to use and easy to find. Stock extra batteries, too.
- Have candles, lamps and matches handy. Instruct family members in their proper use to reduce the risk of accidental fires.
- Every home should have fire safety equipment: fire extinguishers, baking soda and heavy blankets.
- Store drinking water in extra bottles or plastic containers. If you have an electric water pump, fill pails, kettles, bathtubs and sink with water for other uses.
- Stock up on canned and dried foods that require no refrigeration and little or no cooking. Be sure you have an old-fashioned, manual can opener on hand.
- Make plans for emergency heating and cooking.
- Put extra blankets and your warmest clothes where you can find them easily. Layering clothing is a great way to stay warm.
If you anticipate a long outage, consider the following ways to make yourself more comfortable.
- Dress warmly. And stay dry.
- Keep the fridge shut. The freezer, too. Open them only when necessary. If the outage lasts more than a few hours, cover the fridge and freezer with blankets or old newspapers to keep in the cold.
- Let nature do the trick. If it's cold, you can store foods in a shed or garage. If it's below freezing, keep frozen foods outside in wooden or metal containers -- but be sure to place containers out of direct sunlight.
- Use water sparingly. Water that you use for cooking and washing may be used again for flushing the toilet.
- Don't forget the pipes! If it's cold out and heat is off for an extended period, wrap water pipes with insulation or newspaper. In very cold weather let the faucet drip or drain the pipes -- remember to save the water!