woman in the dark with a flashlight

A lengthy power outage that affects your home can also threaten your family’s safety or damage your property. Because a blackout’s impact is magnified in the winter, being prepared for a power outage and knowing what to do until power is restored is critical. Here are a few things you can do in advance and tips on how to stay safe during an extended outage.

Power outage safety tips

  • If you see sparks, hear crackling or spot a downed line moving, report it to your electric company – and stay away from it.
  • If you have a generator, make sure it is outdoors and a safe distance from your house when running to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home.
  • Disconnect electronics and appliances immediately to prevent damage from power surges.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed. A half-full freezer will stay frozen for up to 24 hours, a full one for 48 hours.
  • Use water sparingly. For example, flush the toilet with leftover cooking or washing water.

Tips to be ready for a power outage

  • Keep plenty of flashlights and fresh batteries on hand.
  • Have a first aid kit, list of emergency contact numbers and a charged mobile phone.
  • If you have health conditions that require medicine, maintain an adequate supply in a safe and accessible area.
  • Consider purchasing a whole house surge protector.
  • Have a supply of nonperishable foods on hand that can last up to one week.

Talk to us

Even with the best preparation, you can still sustain damage from unexpected events like a power outage. You can reach our claims center any time you need us. You may also contact an agent today to protect your home with the right homeowners insurance for your needs.

Find other ways to protect your family by making your home more resilient to severe weather by visiting the Institute for Business and Home Safety website at disastersafety.org.


FEMA  |  IBHS  |  American Red Cross

Need to file a claim? Visit our claims center or call 1-800-421-3535.

Nationwide offers this information to help you make decisions that may help you mitigate your risk. Of course, we can't address every possible risk or guarantee these tips will work for you. However, we hope that you will consider which of these may help you in your efforts to protect your family and yourself.