Hurricanes, tornados and aging infrastructure often result in power outages. Here’s how to prepare for the inconvenience and hazards that arise when appliances and devices we often take for granted are unavailable.

Focus on the Essentials During Power Outages

During a power outage, focus on four things: lights, comfort, keeping food from spoiling and being aware of what’s happening. Here’s more about each item.

  • Lights. Small battery-powered lamps and flashlights are musts. Have more than one and keep spare batteries on hand. Look for portable lights that do double-duty as a lantern and flashlight. Use multipurpose lights that you can hang, set someplace or carry around. Better yet, get lights powered by long-lasting, rechargeable, lithiumion batteries.
  • Comfort. Cordless fans, even battery-operated, handheld ones, offer relief when the air conditioner is not working. Better yet, get fans that act as misters to stay refreshed.
  • Good food. A full refrigerator may keep your food safe for about 48 hours; a half-full refrigerator may keep food safe about 24 hours. But if you fill some plastic jugs with water and freeze them before a power outage, you can remove them from the freezer and place them in the fridge, beside perishable items.
  • Staying informed. Keep apps from news services and power companies on your phone. You’ll need them to know the storm’s status and when you can expect the power to come back on.

For Long-Term Power Outages

The best-case scenario is having a generator to power some of your devices during an outage, but that’s not always possible. So, follow these tips to prepare for what could be days without life’s essentials:

  • Stay charged. As a storm approaches, charge everything in your home. Portable power packs — which are inexpensive and available wherever electronics are sold — are perfect for charging cell phones and rechargeable lights.
  • Prepare kits. Know where everything is so you aren’t running around looking for what you need, when you actually need it. Corral storm preparation items in plastic storage containers and keep these kits where you can access them at a moment’s notice.

Have These Items Handy Before Lights Go Out

Don’t let power outages catch you off guard, because that will just add to an already stressful situation. You will need these items readily accessible so you can spring into action if you need them:

  • Batteries — don’t wait until the last minute to buy them. They may be in high demand (and unavailable) during severe weather.                      
  • First aid kit — Hopefully, you won’t need it, but you should know where it is.
  • Charcoal/lighter — Why not grill something? The meat in the refrigerator won’t spoil if you grill it right now and enjoy it.
  • Cards and games. You’ll need to entertain your family during power outages, so break out the board games for instant fun to get your mind off things.
  • Emergency phone numbers. You’ll need the power company’s phone number to check the outage’s latest status and learn when you can expect power to return.  

Watch the video segment above from AMHQ on The Weather Channel for more information.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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