Beyond the immediate threat to those living in its path, there is a potential for widespread power outages when a major storm strikes. Flooding, high winds, and falling trees threaten power lines and other critical infrastructure. During storms, it is normal for electricity to go out unexpectedly. Still, extended outages can have serious implications such as disruption of communications, food spoilage, water contamination, and prevention of medical devices.
As the 2021 hurricane season continues and Tropical Storm Nicholas looms over the Gulf Coast, preparing for power outages is as important as ever.
How to prepare
Take inventory of the devices in your home that rely on electricity and keep a stock of batteries or other alternative power sources. Have a plan in place for any medical devices or refrigerated medicines if you lose power. Keep nonperishable food and water on hand. When a major storm approaches, check power outages in your area frequently.
Keep all refrigerators and freezers closed to preserve food and use coolers full of ice if necessary. If you plan to use alternative power sources, install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in your home. Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and only use generators, camp stoves, and charcoal grills outside and at least 20 feet away from any structure. Read more generator safety tips at Energy.gov.
After power returns
Throw away any food exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated unless the drug’s label says otherwise and consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately for a new supply. For more information regarding safety in power outages, visit Ready.gov. Sign up for ReadyHarris Alerts to monitor developing storms and flood conditions in Harris County.