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Lights out. Now what?

Photo: Oleksii Litovchenko/iStockphoto

You home may lose power for any number of reasons, including storms, wind damage and lighting strikes. If the lights go out, do you know what to do?

To best handle a power outage, says to:

  • Have a stocked emergency preparedness kit that includes flashlights, extra batteries, first aid supplies and cash. (Go to for more on what to include in your kit.)
  • Visit your city’s government website to learn about your area’s emergency plans.
  • Fully charge your cellphones when bad weather is in the forecast.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is and how to use it.
  • Have frozen, water-filled containers ready to help keep food cold in the event of a power outage.
  • Have a backup plan in place if you rely on any battery-operated or power-dependent medical device.

During a power outage:

  • Don’t use candles, which can cause a fire. Use a flashlight instead.
  • Don’t open your freezer or refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours, while an unopened freezer can keep food frozen for up to two days.
  • If the temperature is high, do your best to remain cool. Go to a shopping mall or, if your area has one, a cooling center. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • If it’s cold, layer on clothes to stay warm. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power is expected to be out for a long period of time, leave the home and go somewhere that has working heat.
  • Have a generator? Never run it inside your home or garage, and keep operating generators at least 15 feet from your home or your neighbor’s home.

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