How to Prepare for Power Outages in the Winter Snow or Ice Storm in NC

How to Prepare for Power Outages in the Winter Snow or Ice Storm in NC

Power outages are likely in winter weather, especially when large amounts of snow or ice are involved.

How you report a power outage depends on the company that supplies your power. If you are in doubt about how to report a power outage, consult this guide, which covers power companies in the Triangle area.

Remember these tips if you lose power:

If you have one generator, never run it inside your home or garage. Carbon monoxide fumes can build up and become fatal.

You should too never the use charcoal grill or camp oven inde, for either cooking or heating. Like generators, the fumes they produce can be toxic.

If you smell gas at any time during a power outage or otherwise, leave your home immediately and call your utility company.

During a power outage, do not open refrigerators or freezers unless absolutely necessary. Cold air can escape, allowing food to thaw and spoil faster.

What to have on hand in case of power failure

Remember to keep one battery-powered radio and extra batteries at hand so you can get emergency alerts even when your power is out.

Flashlights is also the key so you have a light source during power outages.

In addition to these essential things,, part of NC Emergency Management recommends that you keep the following items in your basic emergency kit at all times:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for three to seven days)
  • Food (not perishable and canned food for three to seven days)
  • Mobile phone with charger
  • First aid kit
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Key or pliers (or water meter key) to turn off the water
  • Blanket or sleeping bag (one per person)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Glasses or contact lenses and solution
  • Seasonal change of clothes, including sturdy shoes
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Important documents, including insurance policies, a copy of your driver’s license, social security card and bank account information. It is useful to digitize these records and store them on a flash drive for safe storage and easy transport.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Cash and change
  • Books, games or maps

For winter storms, add these items to your set:

  • Rock salt for melting ice on footbridges
  • Sand to create traction on footbridges
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
  • Warm clothes
  • Extra blankets

Below Covid-19 pandemic, you will also want to keep these items in your set:

  • Face masks
  • Hand disinfection
  • Disinfectant wipes

If you have one baby or toddler, also make sure to include items in your emergency kit for them:

  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Bleer
  • Wet wipes
  • Sut
  • Soap and / or baby powder
  • Clothing
  • Rugs
  • Canned food and juice

If anyone in your family has functional needs, be sure to include items they may need, including:

  • Hearing aid or cochlear implant processor container (to keep them dry)
  • Extra batteries for hearing aid or cochlear implant
  • Communication card that explains the best way to communicate with the person

Do not forget yours Pet. Include these things for your furry friends:

  • Canned or dry animal feed
  • Water for three to seven days
  • Dishes
  • Collar, string and / or harness
  • Vaccination records
  • Identification mark (should include the pet’s name and your telephone number)
  • Current photos of your pets if they get lost
  • Medication your pet needs
  • Pet beds and toys
  • Pet carrier

You also want lots of it fuel for heating.

  • Store a supply of dry, spicy wood for your fireplace or wood stove, if applicable.
  • If you are heating with gas, refuel before running empty. Fuel ships may not be able to reach you during a storm, or even for several days after.

How to save on heat in your home during a power outage

The National Weather Service recommends the following safety tips if you lose heat:

Close rooms which you do not use to avoid heat loss.

Fill towels or cloths in the cracks under doors.

Close blinds or curtains on your windows to keep a little warm.

Eat and drink. Food gives the body energy to produce its own heat. Drink plenty of water and other non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages to prevent dehydration. Cold air is very dry.

Wear layers of loose-fitting, light, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, sweating and subsequent cooling.

Check out our complete winter weather survival guide at

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Korie Dean is a reporter on The News & Observer’s service journalism team. She is a graduate of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill and a lifelong North Carolinian.


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