Select a question below to learn more about our storm preparedness topics.

Storm & Power Outage Preparation FAQ

Worried about an extended power outage? A little planning is all it takes to keep your family safe and comfortable.

  • Stock up on batteries for battery-powered electronics, such as flashlights and NOAA weather radios.
  • Create extra ice by filling one-gallon freezer bags with water. This will keep food cool and provides extra water when thawed.
  • Fill your bathtub with water. Power outages sometimes mean the water supply may soon follow. Use this water for personal hygiene and flushing the toilet.
  • Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. CO is colorless and odorless. Avoid sickness or worse by making sure your CO detector is fully operational.
  • Fill your grill’s propane tank. A full tank of fuel allows you to cook frozen and refrigerated food that might otherwise go to waste.
  • Unplug electronics. When power comes back on, there is a risk of a power surge. Protect your electronics by unplugging them when the power goes out.
  • Purchase nonperishables. Shelf stable food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is best during a lights-out situation.
  • Board games and a deck of cards can provide entertainment for you and your family when power is not available.
  • Get a standby generator
  • If you already have one, contact RCA if you feel you need maintenance on your generator

Severe storms call for extra preparation. Luckily, hurricanes are forecast well in advance of landfall so there is time to make sure you’re ready. Start by looking over our checklist on preparing for a power outage. But then be sure to take these extra precautions.

  • Review emergency plans if the power goes out for an hour up to multiple days
  • Review emergency plans for evacuation
  • Identify safest location in the home to wait out the storm
  • Identify local shelters
  • Check insurance policy/coverage
  • Check the yard and landscaping for any trees that should be trimmed
  • Clear gutters of debris
  • Fill up gas cans in the event of an evacuation or to run a portable generator
  • Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8-inch plywood
  • Reinforce garage doors
  • Bring in outside items if they can be picked up by high winds
  • Get a standby generator
  • If you already have one, contact RCA if you feel you need maintenance on your generator

The FDA recommends you stock up on nonperishable food items — that means they are shelf-stable and don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked. Many of the food items listed below can be eaten without the use of an electric stove, oven or other appliances.

Beverages

  • Water: A gallon per person is enough for seven days. If bottles are an option, purchase eight 16-oz. bottles per person — or 56 bottles per person for seven days
  • Juice: Canned, boxed or plastic filled
  • Milk: Powdered or shelf-stable, in single-serving boxes
  • Caffeine: Canned coffee or energy drinks

Snacks

  • Crackers for snacking with cheese and meats right after the power goes out
  • Fruit: canned fruits, applesauce
  • Healthy Snacks: granola bars, trail mix, rice cakes, dried fruit
  • Comfort food: Pop-tarts, doughnuts, sweets

Meals

  • Canned soups, chili, veggies, stew
  • Cereal: can be eaten dry or mixed with milk
  • Preserved meats: beef jerky that is high-protein, low-carb; canned tuna, chicken, Spam

Condiments

  • Small jar of mayonnaise, to make chicken or tuna salad
  • Ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper – in individual packets

For the pets

  • Food and water
  • Vitamins and medication

An unopened refrigerator and freezer can usually keep food safe to consume for up to four hours. The foods in the freezer are typically safe for 48 hours if it is full or 24 hours if the freezer is half-full. As the storm approaches, inventory your pantry and eat what you have in the fridge first so it doesn’t go to waste.

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio – NOAA Weather Radio, if possible
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications — seven-day supply and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Telephones — fully-charged cell phone with extra battery and non-cordless telephone set
  • Cash and credit cards — banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
  • Important documents — keep important documents like insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security cards, and birth certificates in a watertight container
  • Vehicle fuel tanks filled
  • Clothing — Seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Pet care items and records
  • Fire extinguisher

Additional Winter Emergency Supplies

  • Rock salt — to melt ice on driveways and walkways
  • Sand — to improve traction
  • Snow shovels

If you own a standby generator, relax. Your system should start automatically when the power fails. If you have a portable generator, there are some basic steps to follow.

We recommend you regularly maintain your unit to make sure it’s ready to go when you need it most. Once a year, or every 100 hours of run time you should clean your unit, change the oil, clean the air filter, run the unit monthly, charge the battery, and properly store the unit.

For a series of step-by-step video tips, visit Generac’s website.

Yes! Your generator pulls air into the system to help it operate efficiently and keep the engine cool. If the air intake areas are obstructed due to wet leaves or snow, the engine will not operate properly. We recommend shoveling a two-foot perimeter around your generator and keeping the lid clear of snow.

If you have flooding in your home, you can minimize the damage by using your standby generator to power your sump pump after the power goes out.

But if the generator itself is flooded, it can be damaged. If you suspect that your yard could be flooded during the storm, don’t run your generator. If your generator is submerged, you won’t be able to disconnect it safely.

A flooded generator will need to be replaced. It’s a good idea to let your insurance company know you have a standby generator.

If you live in an area that’s at high risk for floods, consider elevating your standby generator on a concrete pedestal or raised platforms.

Let’s brainstorm ways to help you
before the next storm.

Keep your home running like usual — even in extraordinary weather.
Contact us for a free consultation.

Contact Us

During these unsettling times, we’re here for you.

As an essential business, we are practicing recommended social distancing guidelines to protect your family and ours. As always, we’ll be here to provide 24/7 emergency generator coverage for our customers. Our technicians are also performing routine maintenance and repairs to ensure that your generator is ready to run if there’s a power outage.

Additionally, RCA will continue to provide FREE estimates for the installation of new Generac Automatic Generators. We can set up a virtual meeting or a no contact site visit, whichever you are most comfortable with.

Together, we’ll get through this. Please stay safe and healthy.

Randy Agnew

– Randy Agnew
Owner, RCA Electrical Contractors Inc.