Emergency Preparedness and Response

It’s Preparedness Month! Are you Ready for a Power Outage?

September is National Preparedness Month. This month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging businesses and individuals to make a plan for staying safe during different types of emergencies. Today we’ll look at FEMA’s recommendations for facing a power outage.

When the power’s out, your business and your workers may face hazards that they don’t expect. Be aware of—and prepared for—the hazards of suddenly being powerless.

Preparing for a Power Outage

Here are some hazards you might not anticipate that can occur during power outages:

  • Fire. NEVER use candles during a power outage or power outage due to extreme risk of fire. Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. Prepare by laying in a supply of batteries.
  • Spoiled food. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Power spikes. Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics when the power goes out. Power may return with momentary "surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors.


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  • Carbon monoxide. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage; carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, and it kills stealthily.
  • Electrical hazards. Do not connect a portable generator to a building electrical system.  If you use a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator. Generators that are permanently installed should be installed by a qualified electrician so that they do not create feedback hazards.
  • Emergency services interruptions. Do not call 911 for information—call only to report a life-threatening emergency to avoid overwhelming the system.


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  • Heat stress. Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Cold stress. Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat.
  • Traffic hazards. Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.
  • Stranding. Remember that equipment such as gas pumps and elevators may not work during a power outage. 

When the power’s out, it’s too late to download the checklists and resources you need, so head over to Safety.BLR.com® right now to make sure you’re ready before disaster strikes.