Top 10 things to do when there’s a power outage

Top 10 things to do when there's a power outage

As a technology addict, when electricity is out and electrons stop flowing, the world will lock up very easily. Thanks to the batteries, a short power outage is unnoticed. However, if you live in an area beleaguered by storms, multiple car-in-a-pole accidents, or poor electrical service, you may often experience a longer-term power outage.

The first thing that happens when the power comes out is that the food in the refrigerator starts to thaw. The second thing is that the house is beginning to heat up (or get cold, depending upon where and when). These two things are really little. Power is on and food is available anywhere inside the driving range. The heat or air conditioning is close as long as the car starts.

person holding white light bulb
What to do when there’s a power outage?

You milk every electron for all it’s worth during a long-term power outage. You’re already working on your computer, killing the battery, some power company staff are going to turn the right switch and you’re going to be saved. Luckily, you get the ‘Critical Battery Level’ warning and curse the weather or the power provider, or both. Yeah, right, there’s still plenty of juice on your mobile. Another hour playing ring tones, free preloaded games, and sending emails, and you see the dreaded red-rimmed battery indicator. You’re probably looking for your charger to know that the electricity is still off, and it’s not going to do you any good.

There’s a planet out there that isn’t hard wired to electricity. Here are the top ten power outage things that you can do to preserve your sanity.

1. Take a walk, bike ride, or exercise at your desk

Your neck, back, and posture will be surprised, but will thank you. A power outage is probably a sign telling you to get off your chair and out into the open. One of my favorite wellness websites, WebMD has a great article discussing various office exercises you can do. Just be careful doing these in the dark.

Take a walk, bike ride is things to do for a power outage.
Take a walk, bike ride is things to do for a power outage.

2. Take a nap

It’s a thing to do when there’s a power outage. Your brain needs a break. If you are at home, no one will care. If you are at work, the boss won’t be able to see you in the dark. Just don’t snore.

3. Play a game of solitaire with REAL cards

Dogmelon has a list of about fifty variations on solitaire, complete with rules and graphical explanations. Playing a real cards is a thing to do when there’s a power outage.

4. Socialize

The computers may not work but phone lines do. Pick up the phone and call a loved one. It’s really a thing to do when there’s a power outage.

5. Read a REAL book

Candles or flashlights can aid this effort. And contrary to popular belief, you won’t do permanent damage to your eyes. Reading is a useful thing to do when there’s a power outage.

two kids reading a fairy tale book
Reading books when you face a power outage

6. Raid the refrigerator

The food might go bad. Use it or lose it! How long can food last? Find out at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. It’s also a useful thing to do when there’s a power outage.

7. Sit by a window and write a letter

It’s like an email only you use a PEN or PENCIL and PAPER and it’s a bit more formal. Someone may appreciate it. It’s a productive thing to do when there’s a power outage.

illustration of moon showing during sunset
Photo by David Besh on

8. Make a shopping list

Do a stock-check around the house. Let’s see, batteries, flashlight, a deck of cards, a board game or two, candles, pencil, paper, more food… It’s a thing need to do when there’s a power outage.

9. Drive to the nearest home improvement center that has electricity

Buy a generator. Check out this Honda power equipment website before the power is off to help determine the size you might need. Driving is a good thing to do when there’s a power outage.

10. Learn Falun Gong

Falun Gong consists of moral teachings and five gentle exercises that offer an effective and rewarding way to improve your health and energy levels. It’s good for your mind and body.

Falun Gong teaches that these are the most fundamental qualities of the universe, and takes them as a guide in daily life. Through consistent and dedicated practice, the student of Falun Gong strives to achieve a state of selflessness, greater insight and awareness, inner purity, and balance—a state of true health.

Falun Gong has brought improved health and well-being to more than 100 million people. The exercises can be learned free of charge from volunteers around the world.


Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly.

Prepare for a power outage

  • Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
  • Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
  • Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
  • Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water. Be sure to include hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to use in case you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and car and generator gas tanks full.
action blur bulb dark
Things to do when there’s a power outage or blackout.

Survive during a power outage

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
  • Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
  • Go to a community location with power if heat or cold is extreme.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment or electronics. Power may return with momentary surges or spikes that can cause damage.

Be safe after a power outage

  • When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. Consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately for a new supply.
  • Continue taking steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as washing your hands often and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
  • Engage virtually with your community through video and phone calls. Know that it’s normal to feel anxious or stressed. Take care of your body and talk to someone if you are feeling upset. Many people may already feel fear and anxiety about the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The threat of a power outage can add additional stress.

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One response to “Top 10 things to do when there’s a power outage”

  1. […] heart. There’s a planet out there that isn’t hard wired to electricity. Here are the top ten power outage things that you can do to preserve your […]


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