Staying Safe When the Power Goes Out
February 25, 2020 09:45 AM
Power outages can be frustrating and dangerous. Learn how to be prepared before, during, and after a power outage.
How do I prepare for a power outage?
Know who to contact.
- Write down, print, or save toll-free outage hotlines for your electric utility and/or your natural gas utility company from the Public Utility Commission (PUC) website. You can also locate them on your monthly bill.
- Keep cell phones charged, so you can contact your utility, other emergency services, and family members during any power outage.
- Secure necessary food, medicine and other supplies, including batteries for flashlights.
What should I do if I lose power during a storm?
Contact your utility.
- Call your utility hotline to report outages. Do not assume that the utility already knows about your outage or that others have already called.
- Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need assistance.
- Stay away from objects and puddles of water that are in contact with downed power lines.
- Only call 9-1-1 if there is a hazardous situation, such as a downed/live power line on a street or structure.
How do I stay safe until my power is restored?
Use safe sources for power.
- Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting.
- Do not use candles or other open flame sources as they are potential fire hazards.
- If you use a generator, place it outside. Do NOT run it inside a home or garage.
- Connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator, not your home's electrical system, which could shock or injure utility crews working on nearby power lines. Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer.
- Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
- Learn more about portable generator safety (PDF) from PUC.
Can an electrical power outage affect my natural gas appliances?
Yes, electric power outages can affect gas furnaces and other appliances.
- If they do not function properly when power is restored, call a professional for service.
- If you smell natural gas, make sure everyone leaves the building immediately.
- Leave the door open and do NOT use phones, cellphones, or light switches.
- Do NOT turn appliances on or off.
- After you are safely outside, call 9-1-1 from your cell phone or neighbor’s home. Do not re-enter until you are told to do so.
Learn more about staying safe before, during, and after a power outage with our power outage web page and one-page action sheet (PDF).