The Power Outage Survival Guide

When you're struck by a blackout, brownout, or sudden power surge, follow these tips to safeguard your home's electronics and appliances—and your family—until the lights come back on.

  1. When in Doubt...

    Cleaning Out Fridge

    . . . throw it out. After a power outage, never rely merely on smell or appearance to determine if food is safe to eat. According to, food should be safe if the power has been out for no more than four hours. Discard any perishable food, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers, that has been above 40 degrees F for more than two hours.

  2. Flip the Switch

    Turn Off the Lights

    Set all light switches in the off position except for one. Leaving one light on will let you know when electricity has been restored.

  3. Manual Labor

    Open Garage

    All electronic or automatic garage doors have a bypass that allows you to open them manually. Make sure you know how to open your garage door by hand in the event of a power outage—or a lost remote.

  4. Don't Play With Fire

    Fire Safety

    If you choose to light up your darkness with candles instead of flashlights, place them on a solid, stable, noncombustible surface, and make sure to have a fire extinguisher handy. Never leave a burning candle unattended.

  5. Have a Backup

    Backup Battery

    Battery backups absorb high amounts of energy to protect your electronics, feature plenty of extra outlets, and can even display warnings and diagnostics. In the event of a surge or outage, these handy devices will keep your electronics running until you are able to shut them down safely.

  6. Suppress Those Surges

    Surge Protection

    Install surge protectors to help suppress surges and voltage fluctuations, which will protect equipment from damage during power disturbances.

  7. Protect Your Data Line

    Data Line Protection

    Surges and spikes can travel over data lines as easily as they can over electrical lines, so be sure to connect Ethernet, telephone, and cable lines to devices capable of data line protection.

  8. Consider a Generator

    Home Generator

    Many homeowners install generators to ensure continuous power availability. If you think you might want to run your house (or a portion of it) on a generator, take the time to do some planning first.

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