Storm Preparedness


  • Aerial view of snow covered forest with roads with power lines in between, and electric service trucks on the roads.Water — fill up bathtubs and containers with water for washing, and also stock up on bottled water for consumption
  • Food — at least enough for 3 to 7 days, non-perishable packaged or canned food, juices, foods for infants or the elderly, snack foods, non-electric can opener, cooking tools, fuel, paper plates, and plastic utensils
  • Blankets, Pillow, and Seasonal Clothing Items
  • Special Items — for babies and the elderly
  • Toiletries, Hygiene Items, Moisture Wipes
  • Flashlight and Batteries
  • Radio and Clock — battery-operated, also consider purchasing an NOAA weather radio
  • Telephone — fully charged cell phone with extra batteries and a traditional (not cordless) landline telephone set
  • Emergency Numbers — keep a list of emergency telephone numbers including the local utility company
  • Cast (with some small bills) and Credit Cards — banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
  • Keys
  • Toys, Books, and Games
  • Important Documents — (in a waterproof container or bag) insurance cards, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, birth certificates, etc.
  • Tools — keep a set with you during the storm. Some items include duct tape, screwdrivers, work gloves, safety goggles, etc.
  • Vehicle Fuel Tanks Filled
  • Pet Care Items — ample supply of food and water, proper identification, immunization records, medications, a carrier or cage, muzzle, and leash
  • Keep family and friends out of flooded basements to avoid electrical shock
  • Keep family and friends away from all downed power lines during or after the storm

For more tips on what to do during and after a power outage, view the Red Cross Power Outage Checklist (PDF).

Food Safety During Power Outage

Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for 2 days. Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.

Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40°F and frozen food at or below O°F. This may be difficult when the power is out.

Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometers and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at safe temperatures. Keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. When the power is out, an appliance thermometer will always indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer no matter how long the power has been out. The refrigerator temperature should be 40°F or below; the freezer, O°F or lower. If you’re not sure a particular food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.

If the freezer started to thaw or had thawed when the power came back on, you will have to evaluate each item separately. Never taste food to determine its safety! If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when the power comes back on. If the appliance thermometer stored in the freezer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine the safety. Remember you can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below, it is safe to refreeze. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40°F for 2 hours.

Food may be safely refrozen if the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below. You will have to evaluate each item separately. Be sure to discard any items in either the freezer or the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices. Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but the food will remain safe to eat.