Power Outage Tips

The following tips are republished from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

What to do Before a Power Outage

  • Be informed by receiving alerts, warnings, and public safety information before, during, and after emergencies.
    • Enroll in your community’s local notification system to receive calls, texts, or emails on your cellphone. Contact your local public safety officials to enroll.
    • Sign up for text or email alerts from your utility providers for outage updates.
  • Check flashlights and battery-powered portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries. A radio is an important source of weather and emergency information during a storm.
  • Fully charge your cellphone, laptop, and other electronic devices.
  • Assemble an emergency kit. Make sure you have alternate charging methods (such as auto, solar, or crank chargers) for cellphones and other devices that require power.
  • Consider purchasing a generator to provide power during an outage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and learn how to use it safely before an outage.
  • Ensure that you have sufficient heating fuel.  Consider safe backup heating options such as fireplaces or woodstoves.
  • If your water supply could be affected (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water. Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water.
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.

What to do During a Power Outage

  • Continue to monitor the media for emergency information.
  • Follow instructions from public safety officials.
  • Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies including:
    • Downed power lines; or
    • If you are dependent on equipment that requires electricity and need medical assistance.
  • Call 2-1-1 to obtain shelter locations and other disaster information.
  • Check current power outages in Massachusetts: Power Outage Map.
  • Stay away from downed utility wires. Always assume a downed power line is live.
  • Use generators and grills outside because their fumes contain carbon monoxide. Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working as it is a silent, odorless, killer. See more Generator Safety Tips.
  • If possible, use flashlights instead of candles. If you must use candles, place them in safe holders away from anything that could catch fire. Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Unplug sensitive electronics to avoid power surges when power is restored.
  • Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, and those who may need additional assistance.

What to do After a Power Outage

  • Never attempt to touch or move wires and keep children and pets away from downed lines. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live.
  • Throw away any refrigerated food that was exposed to temperatures above 40 °F for more than two hours or has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Contact your doctor if you’re concerned that medications have spoiled

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters.

Additional information can be found at MEMA.