- Plan ahead with water. Fill the bathtubwith water, so you can flush the toilet. Keep a bucket by the tub. It takesabout one bucket to efficiently flush a toilet. Buy four or five gallons ofwater for drinking.
- BuyLED flashlights and LED headlights. The headlight is great because it keepsyour hands free. You can sit and read or walk around with an instant flashlighton your head. LED lights are brighter and last longer.
- Stock up on batteries for the radio andflashlights.
- Keep a cooler handy to keep food fresh.You can set the cooler outside in the snow or cold. This will come in handy ifthe power is off for more than a day.
- Purchase a generator if you have noother heat supply. Generators will run the furnace, refrigerator, and otherelectrical items. Ifyou plan to use a portable generator, place the generator outside, not in acrawl space, basement, or attached garage.
- Makesure your generator is connected safely; an improperly connected generator cancause serious injury or death. When your power comes back on, turn off anddisconnect your generator immediately.
- Stock up on magazines, books, andgames. Use the LED headlights to entertain the children and yourself in theevenings.
- Keep warm socks available and blanketsto wrap up in one basket that can be easily located.
- Stockemergency food and related items. Ideal choices are nonperishable foods thatrequire no cooking, such as canned fruit, peanut butter, crackers, cereals,cereal bars, canned soup, tuna, and bread.
- Keepa manual can opener handy, along with disposable plates and utensils.
- Ifyou plan to use a charcoal or gas grill for cooking, keep the grill outdoors.
- Remember,melted snow or ice can be a source of water during winter outages (but not for drinking).
- Planan alternate source of heat in the event of a cold-weather crisis. If you havea fireplace or wood stove, keep adequate kindling and firewood on hand.
- Ifyou plan to use a portable generator, place the generator outside, not in acrawl space, basement, or attached garage.
- For your cell phone, use an auto adapter may be needed to recharge your phone.
- Keepfresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
- Fillup your car’s gas tank.
- Maintaina supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM machines may not work if the power isout.
- Turnoff all the major appliances in your home, especially the heat pump. This willprevent damage to the appliances once the power is restored. Then, try not toturn everything back on at once; turn on appliances gradually so the electricdemand does not jump suddenly.
- Makesure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back onwhile you’re away. Do not set dishes, towels, or paper on the stove; these maycatch on fire if a burner is on when the power comes on.
- Leavethe freezer and refrigerator closed so food will stay cold longer.
Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines. If there is any contact with live lines, it may result in serious injury or death.
Here’s a 2-minute video on how toprepare for an outage.
Sources: e-How and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative