How to prepare if the power goes out this winter?

It won’t be long before the weather outside turns frightful. But there are things you can do now to avoid getting caught with your thermal underwear down.

While sometimes things go off without a hitch as the mercury plunges, sometimes they don’t — like if your home loses power.

For its part, Washington-based electric company Pepco says it’s working to ensure its power grid can meet high winter demands, but adds that you too should be ready in the event the lights or heat go out.

Here are the utility company’s tips:

  • Assemble an emergency storm kit: Including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, blankets, battery-powered or windup clock, extra batteries, medications, multi-purpose tools and a list of important/emergency phone numbers.
  • Have a supply of bottled water and easy-to-prepare, non-perishable foods available to last at least 72 hours.
  • Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries on each floor of your home.
  • Identify an alternate location for you and/or your family in case of an extended outage.
  • Review the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operations of your generator. Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. Never use a generator indoors or any enclosed area.

In a news release, Pepco said it’s making sure the local energy grid is ready by performing essential work to help meet increased customer demand. That work includes inspecting and upgrading equipment; trimming trees, building new underground equipment and installing stronger, tree-resistant aerial cables.

The utility company also continues to install smart technologies to improve system reliability, such as specialized equipment that can automatically restore service faster or isolate damage.

Find more tips on making sure you’re ready for cold, winter weather on Pepco’s storm prep webpage. 

Brennan Haselton

In 2000, Brennan Haselton took a job at WTOP as reporter and anchor, and that's where he has been ever since (with the exception of a brief return to Seattle in 2005). He is a two-time winner of the national Edward R. Murrow Award, and winner of the National Headliner Grand Award.

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