NOW is the Time

Electrical power outages can happen any time of the year due to storms, accidents, construction, or grid blackouts. In most parts of the country, winter is by far one of the most dangerous times to be caught unprepared in an outage. Even a relatively short amount of time without power on a freezing night can leave families struggling to stay warm in a electric-dependent home. But here in the areas of Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, being without electricity (and air conditioning) in the hot temperatures of summer can be deadly.

Regardless of the temperature, many people rely on power to store medication, or to operate medical-related devices. Communication is often dependent on an electrical source, and credit cards won’t work at stores or the ATM without electricity either. Our society, as a whole, is simply not prepared to survive an extended power outage; but you can do your part to be ready for this type of emergency, and even be able to help others in need, if the opportunity arises!

Look for Potential Problems

Walk through your house with a pad and pen, and look for every electrical appliance and device that you would consider necessary for your home to function. Common items might be:

  • Lights
  • Cellular Devices
  • Refrigerator
  • CPAP Machine
  • Heater/Furnace
  • Well Pump
  • Stove

After you have compiled a practical list, you’ll need to decide what method of power backup will work best for you and your family. Options include powerful backup batteries, and gas-powered standby or portable generators. Always remember to keep plenty of fuel on hand for your generator, and fully charge your backup batteries in preparation for possible outages.

Food on the Table

It’s always wise to have a little extra food in the cupboard (as long as you can remember to cycle through it before it goes beyond the expiration date), but if you’d like to really be prepared for an extended emergency power outage, you can invest in long-term storable food that has a shelf life of up to 30 years!

One good thing about winter power outages is the ability to keep food items at safe temperatures; but the cold does very little to provide a steaming hot meal when everyone is shivering. If you have a generator, or a way to power an electric hot plate, you’re good to go; but when all else fails, having some cooking gel on hand is an efficient and safe way to heat up food or boil water.

Having plenty of drinking water essential! Bottled water can be a good short-term solution if your water source is out of service. You may also want to consider purchasing a high-quality gravity powered water filter that can take any water you find and make it drinkable.

Stay Warm!

Are you prepared to stay warm if the power goes out on a cold winter night? Having some options to fall back on can be a life saver, and will help keep you more comfortable until the lights come back on.

First of all, be sure to shut the doors of rooms that you won’t be using; the smaller the area is that you’re trying to heat, the quicker it will warm up, and it will remain warm more efficiently.

Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home, as it can cause a potential carbon monoxide or gas hazard. If you decide to install a wood-burning stove for emergency situations, place it in a central location in your home where most of the usual activity occurs, so that life can go on as normal as possible.

Hand warmers are some of the simplest, low-cost options for emergency heat. They can produce warmth for up to 10 hours, and are often reusable.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Do you have a way to know when severe weather is on its way? NOAA Weather Radios are a great way to get alerts and warnings all year long.

Be sure to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home. This dangerous gas can be fatal to humans and animals, especially during the night when people are sleeping, and can’t recognize the red flags. Burning candles and other heaters can cause a greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.


Planning ahead is one of the best ways to survive an extended power outage with ease and safety. Then just sit tight and wait; the electrical workers will be out there in the cold, trying to get the power back on.

Winter is here; be safe out there, and don’t forget to call Penny Electric with any of your electricity-related questions!