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Ready Marine Corps

Emergency Preparedness Program

Brought to You By Your Marine Corps Emergency Management Team
Power Outage

Electrical power can go out for any number of reasons. An unexpected power outage can have unforeseen consequences. Without electricity you may experience a shortage of food and clean water, as well as extreme temperatures. You should be prepared to manage without power for an extended period of time.

120629-O-RY432-855 Photo by: Kyle L Ford
How To Prepare
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  • Rolling blackouts
    • Rolling blackouts, or temporary power shortages, may happen from time to time when power companies turn the power off in certain areas to curb usage.
    • Rolling blackouts occur during peak seasons and hours of energy consumption, usually in the summer, 4–7 p.m.
  • Summer blackouts
    • Extreme heat is usually the cause of summer blackouts.
  • Space weather
    • Space weather, sometimes called solar storms, can produce electromagnetic fields that cause extreme currents (power surges) in wires, disrupting power lines, and even causing widespread blackouts.
  • Verify and update official contact information in the Marine Corps Enterprise Mass Notification System (eMNS), and register all cell phones, home phone, email addresses, etc. in eMNS. 
  • Make a family emergency plan.
  • Back up computer files regularly.
  • Keep your car tank full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use an electronic garage door opener to enter your home.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • Build an emergency kit.
What to Do If There Is a Power Outage
  • Use flashlights rather than candles for light.
  • Turn off the electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel.
  • Remember that ATMs and elevators may not work.
  • Drink and use bottled, boiled, or treated water.
  • Make sure your pets have plenty of fresh, cool water.
  • Try not to open the freezer or refrigerator often. A full freezer should keep food for 48 hours.
  • Pack dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, and other items that can quickly spoil in a cooler surrounded by ice to extend their usability.
  • Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and left­overs) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture, or feels warm to touch.
  • If the power goes out in extreme heat:
    • Stay hydrated by drinking a glass of water every 15–20 minutes.
    • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
    • Keep the air circulating by opening doors and windows.
    • Be aware of the possibility for a heat stroke.
  • If the power goes out in extreme cold: 
    • Wear several layers of warm clothing.
    • Keep moving to stay warm.
    • Be aware of the possibility for hypothermia, which hap­pens when one’s body temperature falls below 95˚F.

Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit.
Live Ready Marine Corps.

Where to Find Additional Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/

Department of Homeland Security (Ready.gov)— www.ready.gov/blackouts

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Centerhttp://www.swpc.noaa.gov/


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