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Winter Power Outage Safety Tips

We can’t control the weather Mother Nature sends our way, but what we can do is be prepared for it. An expansive ice storm is expected to hit the Midwest this weekend and there is a potential for power outages. Since we rely heavily on electricity in our day-to-day living, it is important to take precautions in order to keep our families safe.

Before a Power Outage:

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit (see below).
  • Have alternative charging methods for your cell phone or any other powered device.
  • Charge cell phones and any battery-powered devices.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full and winterize your vehicle.
  • Trim tree branches in your yard.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.


During a Power Outage:

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
  • If you are in immediate need of shelter during a disaster, please contact American Red Cross at 816-232-8439.
  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting; candles can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • During cold weather, dress in layers of warm clothing. Wear a hat since most of your body heat is released through your head.
  • Unplug all appliances to prevent a power “surge” and leave only one light switched on.
  • Close off unneeded rooms to avoid wasting heat. Close curtains and blinds.
  • Help prevent pipes from freezing by allowing a small stream of water to run from faucets.
  • Eat and drink water.


After a Power Outage:

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
  • Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.



Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit:

  • Cash – Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods
  • Water – At least one gallon per person for 3-7 days
  • Food – At least enough for 3-7 days, including: Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices, food for infants or the elderly, snack food, non-electric can opener, vitamins, paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Radio – Battery-powered and NOAA weather radio
  • Blankets, pillows, etc.
  • Clothing – Seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes, etc.
  • First Aid Kit – Prescription drugs, medicines, etc.
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Toiletries – Hygiene items, moisture wipes, etc.
  • Keys
  • Toys, books, games
  • Important documents in a waterproof container: insurance papers, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security cards, etc.
  • Tools
  • Vehicle with full tank of gas.
  • Pet care items


Vehicle Emergency Kits:

  • A shovel
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Extra batteries
  • Water and snacks
  • Matches
  • Extra hats, socks, mittens and warm clothes
  • First Aid Kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • Blankets
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Road salt, sand or kitty litter
  • Emergency flares
  • Fluorescent distress flag


From your friends at Northwest Health Services, stay warm and safe and remember to keep your pets inside and check on neighbors and elderly.



  •, How to Survive a Power Outage During an Ice Storm
  •, Snowstorms & Extreme Cold

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