How to prepare for an extended outage?

  • Always keep an alternative source of light on hand. Store flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, oil lamps, and fuel in a safe, convenient, and established location.
  • Stock your pantry with nonperishable food items that do not need cooking. Suggested items are canned milk, fruit, soup, cereal, peanut butter, bread, canned meat or fish, and bottled water. Also keep a supply of disposable plates, bowls, and utensils, along with a manually operated can opener.
  • Keep your gas grill available year-round for cooking during an outage.
  • Keep your automobile gas tank full.
  • Maintain a supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM machines may not work if the power is out.
  • Store adequate water for cooking and flushing toilets (especially if you are on a well with a pump powered by electricity). If you have enough time before inclement weather hits, fill the bathtub with water for use in flushing commodes and other domestic uses. Water heaters usually provide up to 40 gallons of storage.
  • Plan for another source of heating in the event of a cold weather outage. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, keep adequate kindling and firewood on hand. Have extra clothing, blankets, or sleeping bags available.
  • Keep a portable radio, a supply of fresh batteries, and a wind-up clock on hand. The radio will bring you weather reports and updated information from CEC on power restoration efforts.
  • Make sure that you have a corded phone available. Cordless phones will not work without electricity. If you have a cell phone, an auto adapter may be needed to recharge your phone.
  • Plan ahead for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging if someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems.
  • Place your portable generator outside, never in the house, garage, attic, crawl space, or basement. Make sure your generator is connected safely; an improperly connected generator can cause serious injury or death.

For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website.

Food and water safety before and after power outages.