Preparing for Power Outages this Summer

After a long and chilly winter, spring and summer are usually welcomed with open arms. Warmer temps, bright sunny days, and endless hours to spend by the water, in the park, or in the air conditioning, whatever your heart desires. But with the fun in the sun comes another well-known aspect of summer, summer storms and power outages. 

Whether you are a ‘hunker down inside’ type of person or prefer to watch the storms roll in from your garage, it’s smart to be prepared in case a damaging storm comes through your area and causes a power outage.  

How to prepare for a power outage

Steps to take before you lose power:

Power outages can happen without warning and can be frustrating. You can help avoid a headache during a power outage by making sure you are prepared ahead of time. Some of the tasks you can complete before the power goes out include:  

  • Charge your phone ahead of time. If you know a storm is in the upcoming forecast, take some time to charge up your phone before the severe weather starts. If the power goes out, having a fully charged phone will save your portable charger’s battery and will save you stress from a low battery.  
  • Write out a list of essential phone numbers you’ll need. Include the number to contact your utility company to either report your outage or to check how long it will take for power to be restored. WE Energies has different lines to call for reporting gas numbers, downed trees, or other hazards.   
  • Check your ‘Power Outage Supply Kit’ and make sure it is well stocked. If it’s not, make a run to the store to gather recommended supplies we’ve outlined below. 

Supplies to have on hand:

While the weather might be calm and sunny now, it’s wise to have everything ready in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Take some time on a calm weather day to gather your supply kit and put it in a familiar area where it will be easy to access. Tell your family and other members of your household where to find the supply kit so everyone is prepared. Here are some items to include in your power outage kit: 

  • Flashlight 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Portable radio  
  • Bottled water 
  • Dry food 
  • First aid kit 
  • Portable battery phone charger and extra charging cords. (Using your car charger could also be a backup option and might be a quick way to get relief in A/C if it’s a warm day.) 
  • Battery operated fans 
  • Extra sleeping bags, blankets, or pillows in case you need to take shelter for a while or just want to make the power outage a camping adventure!  
  • If applicable, have your grill ready to go. If the power goes out around mealtime, and the storm has passed, it would be the perfect opportunity to whip up a home grilled meal- and maybe save some food that would spoil in the refrigerator or freezer. If you opt to grill, try to limit the trips to your refrigerator or freezer. Opening and closing the doors too often without power will allow the cold air to escape quickly. 

Other ways to prepare

  • Create a kid’s kit 
    Not many kids enjoy loud storms or the dark. Putting together a ‘power outage kids kit’ might be the best way to distract your kids until the storm passes and your power turns back on. 
    Fill the kit with your kids’ favorite coloring books, board games, portable DVD player, or other age-appropriate activities to keep them occupied and their minds off the situation. Hopefully, when it’s all over, the kids will think of it as a fun adventure! 
  • Clean your gutters 
    Avoid water backup by clearing your gutters of any debris before a storm rolls in to allow for maximum water drainage away from your house.  
  • Turn off/unplug appliances 
    If you do lose power, go around your house and turn off any lights and unplug electronics and appliances. This will avoid overloading your circuits and lower the risk of damage to the appliances when power is restored.  
  • Stay alert 
    The best way to be prepared for a power outage is to be aware of the weather. Make sure your weather apps are up to date and you have easy access to your local weather channels.  

Storms and power outages can pop up at any moment. Contact your local Rural Mutual agent to review your home insurance coverage so you are fully protected this summer- and all year long.