4. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector
Make sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector near all sleeping areas (if you have bedrooms on multiple floors, you’ll need one for each floor).
The chance of carbon monoxide poisoning increases during a power outage. A study conducted at the Hartford Hospital shows that the majority of carbon monoxide exposures occur during the first day following snowstorms and the second and third days after a power outage.
Buildup of this odorless gas is often caused by alternate power sources like charcoal grills, camping stoves, or generators, which many rely on if the power goes out.
5. Stay well fed
Don’t leave your grocery shopping for the day of the storm. Stock up on a decent supply of nonperishable foods and snacks and supply a gallon of water for each family member per day that you expect to be home without power. In most areas, three to five days is a safe number to plan for.
Don’t open your refrigerator or freezer any more than necessary during the power outage. An unopened fridge can keep food cold for four hours, and an unopened freezer can keep food frozen for up to 24 hours. You can supplement by putting frozen water bottles throughout your fridge and freezer to help keep your food cold. Be sure to throw away any food that becomes warmer than 41°F (you can check this with a standard food thermometer).
6. Stay connected
Make sure that everyone in your family has a fully charged cell phone at all times. Turn off your phone when it’s not in use and avoid using your phone for entertainment (games, browsing Facebook, etc.) so you can save battery. Purchase an emergency charging option like a car, solar, or hand-crank charger.
If you use a landline, have at least one corded phone. Many cordless phones won’t work during a power outage and will eventually run out of battery.
It’s also a good idea to have a battery-operated, solar, or hand-crank radio to stay updated on weather news. Test your radio at least once a year and when you know of an impending storm, ensure it’s in good working condition.
Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full and know how to operate the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener in case you need to make a quick escape.
7. Stay lit
Have flashlights available in multiple, easily accessible locations throughout the house and keep a fresh supply of batteries on hand.
Avoid using candles as an alternative source of light, as they’re a fire hazard.