Power Outage Checklist

November 06, 2019

What do you do when a power outage threatens? Your employees’ safety is a top priority. See the following checklist See the checklist from Beecher Carlson’s Loss Control Team for what to do before, during, and after a power outage.

Before: Who will disseminate information during a power outage and by what method? How will your vendors and other organizations in your community be affected? Will it be safe for your staff to commute during a region-wide outage? Can your employees work without HVAC, water, lighting, and internet? Does your land line phone work in a power outage and how long will it last? Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports. Take inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Install surge protectors. If you have critical equipment that must be powered, install an emergency generator. 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. Have a plan for servers, access/surveillance systems, and internet with backup power. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every person in the building. Protect plumbing lines during freezing temperatures. Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full. Have enough nonperishable food and water for personnel. 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. If you are a tenant in a building, know who to contact to ensure services are taken care of as if you were the building owner.

During: Do NOT use candles, fires, or flames in or around the structure. Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage. Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Have a full change of clothes for each person on site including cold weather gear. If you are sleeping on premise, have blowup mattresses and sleeping bags available. Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration. 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.

After - What are the procedures for restoring power after an outage? If the building has been vacant during the outage, inspect it carefully during re-entry. Check the outside before entering the facility. Turn your flashlight on outside of the building as the battery may produce a spark. Do NOT enter if you smell gas. Make contact with vendors, suppliers, and customers. 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.

For more information, visit FEMA.gov and Ready.gov.