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Power Outages

A city in a blackout

Power outages are a loss of power to an area. They could be due to problems at power stations, damage to equipment, or the overuse of energy in a particular area – like during a heat wave if everyone runs an air conditioner on high all day and night. We don’t realize how dependent we are on power until we are without it. Power affects the electricity we get in our homes, as well as the water supply and transportation systems – from traffic lights to airplanes.



Visit the FEMA library to download more facts about Power Outages.


  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • If you know a rolling power outage, or blackout, will occur, fill plastic containers with water and place them in your refrigerator and freezer. The chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a short power outage.


  • Don’t open the fridge or freezer! You’ll let out whatever cold air is in there and food will go bad quicker.
  • Leave one light on so that you’ll know when the power comes back on.
  • Only use flashlights, NOT candles. The flames from candles can lead to a bigger risk of fire.
  • If it’s very hot outside, try to stay cool by going to the lowest level of your home. Cool air falls, hot air rises. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • If it’s very cold outside, wear many layers of warm clothing. Don’t use your gas oven as a source of heat. The fumes could be dangerous. Try to find a place that has power and go there to stay warm.


  • Don’t eat any food that was in the refrigerator if you were without power for more than a day. Food could have spoiled and will make you sick.


Am I at Risk?

Power outages can happen anywhere and to anyone.

Words to Know!

Electric Grid

The network that gets power from the power company to the consumer. It consists of power stations, transmission lines and transformers.

Energy Conservation

Using less energy by turning off lights or the TV, or walking or biking instead of driving a car

Rolling Power Outage

When electric companies shut down power to an area for a certain amount of time in order to avoid a total blackout, or power outage, of the power system