Now is the time to take control before winter power outages

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(NewsUSA) – For homeowners across the United States, cold weather can cause heightened concern each winter. Severe weather events themselves threaten safety and comfort, but they are made even more dangerous when ensuing power outages cut off access to much-needed heat and electricity.

With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting a wetter winter due to El Nino*, a large area of the US is expected to see above-average precipitation, which could fall in the form of rain, snow or an icy mix of both. These weather events can contribute to power outages during the winter, with the potential to leave people without power for hours or days amidst the cold. High demand for energy in the winter can also put added strain on the electrical grid, threatening the grid’s stability and reliability. Winter outages can often occur at unexpected times, making it essential to be ready ahead of time. According to the recent FEMA 2023 National Preparedness Report, only slightly more than half (51%) of Americans believe they are prepared for a disaster.**

“In the last 10 years of tracking outage data, we’ve seen almost 20% more households impacted by power outages during the winter months when an El Nino event is active,” said Kyle Raabe, president of Consumer Power for Generac. “Managing your household’s plan ahead of time and securing a source of backup power can give homeowners one less worry during times of heightened concern and extreme cold weather events.”

Taking Control Before, During and After Winter Power Outages

If an outage seems imminent…

  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting to help preserve perishable foods during an outage.
  • Keep cell phones, laptops and tablets charged. This ensures you have a way to track updates on the weather and have a method of communication if you or a loved one needs help.
  • Fill gas cans to run a portable generator. Along with routine maintenance, this will enable your generator to keep the power on during an outage.
  • Make sure you know how to shut off water valves in your home if a pipe bursts and consider whether you should allow faucets to drip or trickle during cold weather to prevent freezing.

When an outage occurs…

  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed so they maintain an adequate temperature inside.
  • Monitor updates with a radio, television, or online resources like Power Outage Central. Have a battery-powered emergency radio in case you lose access to other methods of communication.
  • If using a portable generator for backup power, follow a plan for safely starting your generator. Never use a generator inside the home or garage, even if doors and windows are open.
  • Evacuate or go to a neighbor’s home if yours is damaged or an emergency official gives the order.

Once power is restored…

  • If there is severe damage to the home or you suspect a gas leak, leave immediately and contact local officials.
  • Make a list of any missing or damaged property. Take photos of the home, yard and street and report any losses to insurance.
  • Check in with loved ones via text messages or social media. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster.

More information and seasonal preparedness tips on home backup power solutions and protecting homes and families from cold weather power outages can be found at https://www.generac.com/be-prepared/cold-weather-guide.

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