Don't wait: Now is the time to prepare for a power outage

Long-duration power outages can disrupt communications and force businesses, grocery stores and gas stations to be shut down

Whether it's after a tornado, hurricane, winter storm or another severe weather event, power can be knocked out for days – or even weeks. We've got some tips to help you prepare so you're not caught off guard.

According to, if there's a chance you could experience a power outage for an extended period of time, you should take an inventory of all devices that rely on electricity.

Plan to stock up on batteries and secure other power sources such as a portable charger or power bank. It's also recommended to have a flashlight for every person living in your home.

Speaking with your medical provider before the likelihood of a power outage is also recommenced. 

Many medical devices rely on electricity. And medications, like insulin, need to be refrigerated. So, says to ask your doctor specific questions that pertain to any devices or medications you may need that are critical for life.

Another important topic to consider is food storage. Be sure to stock up on enough nonperishable food and water for every member of your household. And if the power goes out, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed for as long as possible. 

Your refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours, and a stocked freezer will keep foods frozen for up to 48 hours. 

The USDA recommends that you don't store food outside in the cold if your power goes out during the winter. Temperatures can vary, making food unsafe to eat. Wild animals can also carry diseases that can make you sick if you eat contaminated food. advises people to install carbon monoxide detectors with a battery backup on every floor and don't under any circumstances use a generator indoors or near windows.

Don't use a gas stove or oven to heat your home, and be sure to disconnect all appliances when the power goes out. Power may return without notice, and that surge of electricity can cause damage to appliances or your home.

And if power is out for an extended period of time and you need to head to a warming center or shelter, COVID-19 protocols will likely be in place. Be sure to bring masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning equipment to keep you and your family healthy.