Emergency Preparedness: What to Do During Electrical Outages

We’ve all been there—a sudden power outage, and everything goes dark. One minute you’re binge-watching your favorite series, the next you’re navigating through your home like it’s an obstacle course. But there’s a lot more at stake during an electrical outage than missed episodes. From keeping food safe to handling backup power options like generators, here’s your go-to guide for what to do (and what not to do) during electrical outages.

Pre-Outage: Get Your Emergency Kit Ready

First off, you’ve got to have an emergency kit. This should include essentials like bottled water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries, and first aid supplies. Also, don’t forget any specific medications you or family members may need.

The Outage Hits: Immediate Actions

Check the Circuit Breakers

Your first move should be to check your home’s circuit breakers or fuse box. If the problem isn’t on your end, then it’s time to contact your utility company to report the outage and get updates.

Light Your Way

Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid fire risks. Make sure everyone in the household knows where the emergency kit is located.

Unplug to Protect

Electrical surges can occur when power is restored, potentially damaging your electronics. Unplug sensitive devices to protect them.

Keep Food Safe

Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. According to the USDA, a fridge will keep food cold for about four hours, and a full freezer will keep its temperature for 48 hours if the door stays closed.

Generators: Do’s and Don’ts

The Do’s

If you have a portable generator, place it outdoors and away from windows to prevent harmful fumes from entering your home. Make sure it’s in a well-ventilated area.

The Don’ts

Never use a generator indoors, in a garage, or any enclosed space to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. And don’t plug the generator directly into your home’s main electrical panel—this can be dangerous for utility workers trying to restore power.

Stay Informed and Connected

Use a battery-powered radio to keep up with news and updates. If you have a fully charged power bank, use it sparingly to keep your mobile devices charged and maintain communication with family and emergency services.

When Power is Restored

When the power comes back, don’t just plug everything in at once. Gradually reconnect your devices to avoid overwhelming the electrical system. Also, restock your emergency kit so you’re prepared for any future outages.


Power outages are more than an inconvenience—they can be a safety hazard if you’re not prepared. Whether it’s having an emergency kit ready, knowing how to handle food, or using generators safely, being prepared can make a world of difference. So the next time the lights go out, you’ll be ready to navigate more than just the dark.

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