Power Outage Safety Tips
General Safety Tips
- Never use open combustion units (gas or charcoal barbecues, hibachis) inside the home.
- If the traffic lights go out, treat all intersections at four-way stops.
- This practice is required by law for safety reasons.
- Minimize driving to conserve fuel.
- Gas tanks cannot be refilled at a gas station during a power outage.
- Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.
- Don’t get wet if you have no way of getting dry.
- Operate electric garage doors by hand.
- Most doors can be opened by hand with a pull cord release; read the owner’s manual or call the manufacturer.
What to do if the lights go out
Turn off the lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. Even if it is dark, turn light switches, buttons on lamps or appliances to the “off” position.
After the light switches are turned off, turn one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
Remember, gas heaters, thermostats, furnace fans and blowers all run on electricity.
Wear extra layers of clothing and use several layers of blankets. Try to stay dry, and drink and eat enough to preserve health and strength.
Close off all rooms that are not in use and do not need to be heated. To keep rooms warm, close all curtains, shades or drapes, and cover doors and windows to prevent drafts of cold air from entering the room.
Safe Alternate Heating Sources
Do not burn anything indoors without adequate ventilation to the outdoors and never go to sleep with any open flame, heating or lighting device left on. Ensure that there is adequate fuel available for alternative heating sources, such as wood for a wood stove.
Never use gas ovens, gas ranges, barbecues and portable or propane heaters for indoor heating. These units use oxygen and create carbon monoxide that can cause suffocation. Before using any alternate heating source, read the manufacturer’s instructions.
As a precautionary measure, have firefighting materials such as, dry powder, a fire extinguisher, a heavy tarp or blanket and water on hand at all times.
Using a Portable Generator
Use generators only as independent power sources. Keep them outside and run a power cord inside. Don’t connect generators to main service panels. This could injure or kill utility workers trying to restore power.
Consider for People with Chronic Health Problems
People with chronic medical conditions should arrange for a 30-day emergency supply of prescription medicine with their doctor. Keep medication in an emergency kit and be aware of the expiration dates and those medications that need to be kept cold. Rotate a fresh supply into the kit on a regular basis.
If using life support equipment, register with the proper utility company to ensure a backup power supply will be available in case of an outage.
Preparing for a Power Outage
- Keep flashlights, extra batteries and matches on hand. Keep them where they can be easily located in the dark.
- Have a battery-powered radio and battery-powered or wind-up clock on hand.
- Stock up on canned or dried non-perishable foods, and a manual can opener.
- Procure a safe, alternate source of heat and extra fuel (wood, kerosene, etc.)
- Have one gallon of bottled drinking water per person, per day on hand.
- Keep a gallon of liquid chlorine bleach for sanitizing utensils and dishes.
- Have access to a regular (not cordless) phone.
For more information, contact the Southern Nevada Health District at
Updated on: October 18, 2018