Personal Risk Matters

Power Outage Preparedness Tips

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2017

The new reality of larger, more destructive natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes, coupled with utility companies taking precautionary actions by turning off sections of power grids, is likely to create a loss of power for almost any homeowner at one point or another.

If you are without power at home, here are a few tips to help you stay safe before, during, and after a power outage. 

Food

  • Be prepared with lots of non-perishable foods and water in the event the outage lasts multiple days.
  • Avoid opening your refrigerator, freezer, or cooler to maintain the cool temperature inside.
  • Discard perishable food that has been above 40 degrees for more than two hours. Follow these ready.gov guidelines regarding food safety and usage during a power outage.
  • Your homeowners policy may include coverage for food spoilage due to loss of power to your refrigerator and freezer, so take an inventory of lost food items. Contact your client advisor with any questions regarding coverage. 

Medications

  • Some drugs require refrigeration (for example, insulin and certain liquid antibiotics). If electrical power has been off for a long time, the drug should be discarded and replaced. Review the FDA’s recommendations on drugs that need refrigeration.

Electronics

  • Fully charge all electrical devices such as cell phones, medical devices, and backup battery chargers prior to any planned outage or potential weather event. 
  • Unplug your electronics to avoid a surge when your power does return. Leave one light on so you know when it’s back.

Lighting/Power

  • Check and replace, if necessary, all flashlight batteries and have extra candles available. There are also a number of backup battery lights that automatically provide light when the power is turned off.
  • Purchase a back-up generator, understand how to use it, and be prepared with extra fuel in the event the outage lasts multiple days.
  • Set your thermostat a bit higher so that your air conditioner doesn’t freeze up trying to cool your entire home right away when the power returns.
  • Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.
  • Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are working and have a back-up power supply.

Automobiles

  • Fill up prior to any anticipated event. During power outages, it is possible your local gas station may not be able to pump gas. 
  • For electric car owners, ensure your vehicle is fully charged prior to any power outage. Here are some specific tips for Tesla owners.  
  • Car chargers can still be used during a power outage as it draws power from your car battery. 

Collections

  • For fine art, wine, or any other collection that relies on temperature control, have an evacuation plan in place to temporarily move items in case the outage is prolonged. Marsh Private Client Services is happy to work with you to engage resources that might be able to assist before, during, and after a power outage event.

Home Safety

If you choose to relocate to a hotel or secondary residence during a power outage, it's important that your home looks occupied. If possible, ask friends and neighbors to look out for suspicious activity. Some additional home safety tips:

  • Check that all doors including the garage doors are secured.
  • Leave blinds open in their usual position.
  • Notify dependable neighbors that you plan to be away; consider notifying the police, as well.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries and ask a neighbor to pick up newspapers and circulars.
  • Have mail and packages picked up by neighbors; alternately, have them forwarded or held by the post office.
  • Do not post online that you are away from your home.

For more power outage preparedness tips, visit FEMA and Ready.gov.

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