Follow these steps to weather a winter outage

Follow these steps to weather a winter outage

Anyone who has endured a prolonged winter power outage would have a story to tell. It would be cold, dark, challenging and perhaps full of ice and snow.

Being without power and light during very cold winter days and nights creates a unique set of challenges and safety hazards.  Take a few steps now to help you weather the next winter storm.

Before the storm:

  • Watch weather conditions carefully and be proactive.
  • Prepare a storm kit with essential supplies for your home and your car. Be sure to include mobile device chargers.
  • If a family member relies on medical assistant devices, have a backup plan in place such as a generator or somewhere to go that will have electricity.
  • Put emergency numbers in your cell phone contact list, and place a list where every family member can find it.
  • If your home has an electric garage door opener, find the manual release lever and learn how to operate the door. If you use electronic keypad entry, keep a key to your home with you as a backup.
  • Keep tree limbs and shrubbery trimmed away from power lines and transformers.

Storm kit essentials:

  • Flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries and chargers
  • First aid kit and essential medicines
  • Non-perishable food and pet supplies
  • Bottled water
  • Basic tools and related materials
  • Extra blankets and clothing to dress in layers
  • Outerwear at the ready, including hats, gloves and scarves
  • Rags or duct tape to seal air leaks

If you have a wood stove or fireplace, have plenty of extra wood on hand. If you have a fuel-based heater, have extra fuel and the means to vent the fumes. Keep your mobile devices fully charged and ready to use when a storm is headed your way.

Know how you can get area weather updates, such as a weather radio, mobile notification system you can enroll in, mobile app, etc. Visit state and local websites for emergency outage plans and shelters in your area. Develop an emergency plan with your family so everyone knows what to do in an outage.

If the power is out:

  • Dress in several layers of warm clothing. Wear a hat to avoid the loss of heat from your head.  
  • Reduce the amount of wasted heat during an outage by closing doors to rooms not being used, and securing curtains and blinds to reduce heat loss from windows.
  • Never use an oven or charcoal grill to heat the home!
  • To keep refrigerated food cold or frozen as long as possible, avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors unless it becomes necessary.  
  • Protect your sensitive electronics by unplugging devices such as televisions and computers.  Use surge protectors with electronic devices to protect them when power comes back on.   
  • Be alert to the signs of frostbite, which can include loss of feeling in the extremities, and hypothermia, such as shivering, memory loss, incoherence, or drowsiness.
  • Use caution when going outside.  Downed power lines could be hidden by snow or ice. Any power line on the ground or sagging should be considered live and deadly. This includes debris in contact with a line. If you see a downed power pole or line, stay far away and report it to your electric utility.

A portable generator can provide power in the event of an outage. Have an electric cord long enough to keep the generator at least 20 feet from any door, window or vent to keep carbon monoxide out of the home.  Read your instruction manual before use and operate your generator in well-ventilated areas.

Never use a portable generator in the home or garage – and never plug it into a home wall outlet or connect it directly to the home’s electrical system. Install battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors near floors on each level of the home.

For more information on electrical safety, visit or contact Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, 800-392-3709, ext. 4868.


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