Preparing for a Power Outage


  1. Cook perishable foods. If the temperature rises, take anything out of the refrigerator that might spoil and prepare to cook it or consume it before it warms up. Eat perishables before spoilage can occur.

  2.  Have stable foods that don’t require refrigeration. Those that do not require cooking are even better.

    • Canned meats, fish, soups, vegetables, and juices will work, and can be kept for months at a time.


    • Crackers, cookies and snacks for the kiddies are a necessity. Eat these items after the perishables are eaten or are unsafe to eat.
    • To make perishables last longer, avoid opening the fridge unless absolutely necessary.


    • The air in the fridge will remain cold for a limited amount of time, even after the power goes out.


    • But the more you expose it to room temperature, the faster it will warm up and the faster your food will spoil.


    • You can also minimize heat gain by packing everything in the fridge tightly together.
  3.  Have a back-up method of heating food and water. A camping stove is ideal (and be sure to know how to use it safely — see warnings). A barbeque grill will work quite well, but do not bring it into the house. (You don’t want carbon monoxide poisoning.) A gas stove can often work if you have matches for ignition. Remember to have plenty of fuel on hand for your camp stove or barbeque in case your adventure lasts several days.

    • Water is actually more important than food, and if your water supply is pump-driven, it may give out in a power failure.


    • Put aside many gallons or liters of drinking water.


  4. Have a back-up method for heating or cooling your home during a blackout, depending on your climate’s needs. Do you need to stock up on wood for the wood stove? You should consider buying portable fans, and cold water rinses to stay cool. If your home runs on natural gas or propane, install a gas fired fireplace that has its own thermopile electronic ignition. Should you get a gas-powered generator?

  5.  Prepare by equipping your house with automatic power failure safety lighting so that it does not go dark when the power goes out.
    Many of the commercial style emergency lights look pretty bad on the wall of your kitchen or living room, and they typically only last 90 minutes – day or night.
    • Try to find power failure safety lights that sense darkness before going on. Otherwise the batteries will be dead before darkness comes.
    • New power failure safety lights just hitting the market deliver light for long periods of time because of the improvements in LED brightness and battery life.
    • Look for power failure safety lights on the web and find ones that you can install in any room of your home without being an eyesore. Start with the kitchen and bathrooms – the two most used rooms of the house.
  6. Power outages can mean ‘get out of the house’ during the day if it is safe to do so. Go to the mall, or take in a movie. Have a few good meals at a nearby diner or at a fast food restaurant.

  • Unless you are snow bound, or ill, there is no reason to stay indoors and be uncomfortable. There’s plenty of time for that when it gets too late to stay out.


  1.  Remember that there will be no TV, no light, and games that need reading will not be able to be played. Turn on your flashlight only when you need to move about.
    You can make up your own games, sing songs, or practice the ancient art of talking with one another. Be playful if possible.
    • Read a book to pass the time. Remember, this can only be done during the daylight hours. At night, the best thing is to go to sleep. Time passes faster when you sleep, especially when there is nothing else to do but wait.
  2. Keep a battery powered camping “lantern” available. These will light a room better than a flashlight. Also, keep a “manual” can opener handy to open animal food cans as well as other canned goods.

  3.  Keep a battery powered radio available to monitor local news and emergency developments. Cell phones will also lose their charge quickly so having a battery powered cell phone changer is also a good idea.



  • If your computer is connected to an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) / UPC battery backup, save everything, and shutdown your computer as soon as you can.
  • When the power does fail and the lights go out leaving you in pitch black darkness, do not jump up immediately to find your flash lights. Take a minute or two to let your eyes adjust to the darkness before moving. You’ll be surprised how much better you can see and you won’t be as likely to hurt yourself by walking into a table, wall, door, etc.
  • Put luminescent stickers on flashlights. Have flashlights out where the stickers can “charge” when lights are on: bookshelf, next to the TV, bedstand, and so on. When the power goes off, your flashlight’s location will be obvious.
  • Remember that portable phones don’t work during a blackout. Make sure you have at least one wired phone in the house. A cell phone will usually work, but keep a car charger handy in case your battery runs low.
  • At the first notice of a loss of power, phone the power company to inform them. At times, you might be the first one to notice when others are at work, and if you do not alert them early, they will not start fixing whatever the cause might be.
  • Don’t keep phoning the power company to find out how long you will remain without power. Once is really enough. The power company is most likely full of dedicated, trained individuals who know that your power is off, and are trying to fix the problem. Nagging them isn’t somehow going to make the power go on any quicker, and can tie up phone lines in a true emergency.
  • Keep some board games like chess, checkers, or puzzles in the house…handy and keeps you and kids busy when no video or TV is available. Think of the ways in which people amused themselves before the invention of electricity.
  • Purchase and use “Self Powered Radios” and “Self Powered Flashlights” and glow sticks. Find these at the local Wal*Mart (for the self powered lights and the glow sticks), and at the local Radio Shack (for the self powered radios). These do not use batteries at all, and are safer to use than candles, and you’ll be informed about what caused the failure, like some idiot who hit a pole, or an animal got into a transformer, shorting it out, or when power will be restored.
  • If you live in a area that has this problem chronically, it is a good idea to get a wind powered generator and solar panels, and a generator that uses “eco-friendly” fuel, such as “Bio-Diesel”, a lot of 12v Deep Cycle batteries, power inverters, and make sure all of this is installed in a manner to AVOID killing line crews, and that you will have “Auxiliary Power”
  • Warnings
  • This guide refers to regular, few day long power outages only. This does not refer to hurricanes or tornadoes, or other storms that also cause power outages and tear down and destroy power lines. The preparation is more intense when power goes down because of storms and breakages. If this is the case, it may be time to evacuate the home.
  • Candles, if used improperly, can cause fire. More than 140 people die each year from candle related home fires according to the National Fire Protection agency – nearly one-third from using candles for lighting. Candles are not recommended as light sources during power failures. Flashlights are far safer.  Turn flashlights on outdoors.
  • Gasoline powered generators kill people when used indoors or in attached garages that allow the fumes to flow into the home. Carbon monoxide is odorless and your CO detectors will probably not work when you have no electricity. Never use a generator in your home, garage, or other closed environment!
  • Exercise extreme caution when using a generator and ensure all extension cords are properly sized and UL listed. Generators can and do electrocute people.
  • Barbeque grills and camp stoves kill people – from fires and carbon monoxide emmissions. Use with extreme caution and never bring gas fired equipment into your house or garage.

Things You’ll Need

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Flashlights
  • A gas stove, barbecue grill, or camping stove
  • Ignition for the stove, such as matches or a lighter

[Source: Wiki]

Add anything in comments that has helped you.

Post Hurricane Survival Tips

•If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.

•If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).

•For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources.

•Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.

•Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.

•Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.

•Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

•Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

•Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.

•Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.

•Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.

•Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.

•Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.

•Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

•NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
If you require Federal Disaster Assistance because you are unable to get to work, you may file a claim by calling
888-209-8124 or 877-358-5306  (Last names A-F file on Monday; G-M on Tuesday; O-Z on Wednesday)
Disaster Help Hotline for Homeowners 1-800-391-1759
“Post-disaster housing is usally one of the most complex and challenging (problems) to be dealt with in catastrophic disasters like this.  We cannot call our recovery complete until every New Yorker has a place to call home.”
– Brad Gair (source: Reuters)
Mayor Bloomberg announced Brad Gair will lead the effort to find housing for 40,000 New Yorkers left homeless by Hurricane Sandy.  That number could drop to 20K or 10K once electricity is restored in areas.
Gair will coordinate across city and federal agencies to find temporary housing.  He is the former director of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.