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15 things to do before a power outage

Don't get stuck in the dark. Here's what do to before your power goes out.
Credit: Galveston County OEM
CenterPoint Energy trucks stage in Galveston County preparing to respond to power outages.

HOUSTON — With any storm, there's always a possibility of losing power. Remember, it could take days before power is restored to your home.

However, there are things you can do now to prepare and keep your family safe during a power outage.

RELATED: When will the SE Texas cold front make its way to the Houston area? | Timeline of arrival

Here's a list of 15 things to do before the power goes out at your house.

  1. Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash and first aid supplies. Make sure to have an emergency list of contacts handy.
  2. Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  3. Gather blankets ahead of time and heavy winter clothing that's easy to find. Put all the items in one place.
  4. Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. For more information visit: Get Tech Ready
  5. Charge cellphones and any battery-powered devices before the storm hits.
  6. Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  7. Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
  8. One key mistake to avoid if the power goes out in winter is to try to use the winter weather as an informal outdoor refrigerator or freezer.
  9. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  10. Keep the gas tank to your car full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  11. Use a generator ONLY outdoors and away from windows.
  12. Do not use a gas stove and ovens to heat your home.
  13. Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
  14. If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power-dependent, like a medical device, determine a backup plan. For more planning information tips visit: Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs
  15. Make sure you report a power outage! Keep this list handy so you can report an outage.

RELATED: Interactive map | Check power outages across the state

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