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A storm with strong winds, heavy snow or ice can knock out electricity. In a widespread disaster, it may take utility crews days or even weeks to restore power to all the homes and businesses affected. A storm-related power outage is possible no matter where you live and the time of year, so you should take steps to prepare.

Get Your Yard And Home Ready
Walk around your property and look for any damaged or decaying tree limbs that might fall in a storm and damage power lines. If you don’t know how to trim tree limbs safely, hire a professional to avoid damaging power lines and getting injured. If possible, take care of this during a period of calm weather, not right before a storm, when businesses may be flooded with calls.

If you have a generator, get it inspected before you use it and make sure you have plenty of fuel. Never operate a generator inside your house or garage because it can release potentially deadly carbon monoxide. Don’t plug the generator directly into your home’s wiring since that could endanger utility workers. Plug appliances into the generator.

Set the temperatures in your refrigerator and freezer as low as possible. If you lose power, perishable food will stay cold longer than it would at the regular settings.

Stock Up On Supplies
Make sure you have at least three days’ worth of nonperishable food and water, any necessary medications, supplies required for babies or pets and plenty of warm clothes and blankets in case you lose heat. You should have several flashlights strategically placed throughout the house and plenty of extra batteries. A battery-powered radio can help you stay informed if a power outage affects internet service. If you have a cell phone but no landline, purchase a cell phone charger that can plug into your car’s cigarette lighter or auxiliary plug so you will be able to keep in touch with loved ones and to call for help if necessary.

If local meteorologists are forecasting a storm that could cause power outages, fill your gas tank ahead of time so you will be able to evacuate if necessary. Since gas stations rely on electricity and don’t always have generators, their pumps may not work if they lose power.

What to Do If The Power Goes Out
If your home loses electricity, only open the refrigerator and freezer when necessary. Consume perishable foods first, before they go bad, and then rely on nonperishable foods until power is restored.

If a power outage causes your house to lose heat, pipes may freeze. If your pipes aren’t insulated, you can reduce the risk of freezing by keeping a small stream of water flowing through them.

Be Ready For A Storm
A power outage can be inconvenient and even dangerous but preparing can make it more bearable. Make sure you have any supplies you may need and take other precautions in case you and your family get stuck without power.