Preparing for a Power Outage

When major power outages—weather- or equipment-related—occur for extended period, you should remember the following:

Check to see if your neighbors have power 
It may only be in your home—a blown fuse, or a tripped circuit. If your neighbors are also without service, report service problems to Newport Utilities by calling our automated reporting system for the fastest response and restoration: 423-625-2810.

If you must go outside to assess the situation, take a flashlight and watch for downed power lines that may still be energized. If you see downed lines, don’t go near them or touch anything that they may be touching. Report downed power lines to the local power company immediately.

Turn off major appliances
Leave just a couple of light switches on in the home and the front porch light. When major appliances—refrigerators, electric water heaters, air conditioners and pumps—are left on, they could overload electric lines when power is restored causing a second outage.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed
If you keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed, food can be kept cold enough for a day or two.

  • During the winter, you may be able to store some items outside in a proper container.
  • If temperatures are below freezing, it’s possible to freeze water outside in containers and place them inside your refrigerator to help keep food cold.
  • Try to consume perishable foods first.
  • Some partially frozen foods can be refrozen as long as they contain ice crystals or are no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Consider purchasing a thermometer for both the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Don’t refreeze seafood, poultry, ice cream, cream sauces, or anything susceptible to spoilage.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

During times of prolonged outages, your power company may provide dry ice at a designated location; bring an ice cooler or suitable container to transport it back home. As a rule of thumb, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer at the proper temperature (32 degrees F) for three to four days.

Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns to illuminate the home
Candles and kerosene lanterns are not recommended for lighting because of the inherent fire safety hazards and fumes.

Use portable emergency generators
They can be used to provide limited electrical power during an outage. But, take care to ensure that they do not pose a threat to you and your family.

  • Never fuel or run a portable generator in the home or garage.
  • Gas-powered generators pose a serious fire and carbon monoxide threat.
  • Generators should be installed in compliance with your local utility’s guidelines.
  • Make sure the generator is equipped with a double-throw transfer switch that protects your equipment and prevents feedback on power lines.
  • Always operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Call the local power company for more information on the proper use of emergency generators.

Water systems with electric pumps
They will not operate when the power is out. Use alternate sources of water until power is restored.

Gas appliances
These appliances may not work if the power is off because the equipment may require electricity for ignition or valve operation.

Water heaters
When drained to prevent damage from freezing they must also have their power circuit shut off. Failure to do so could result in loss of the heating element when power is restored. Never turn on a water heater unless the tank is full.

Can freeze when power is lost during cold weather periods. Drain pumps, supply lines, water heaters, boilers and traps in drains of tubs, sinks, toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers. To avoid major flooding when temperatures rise, turn off supply lines to outside spigots.

Life support equipment
Equipment such as respirators, ventilators, oxygen equipment or other life-sustaining devices should be listed with the power company, with your doctor’s approval. You should have a contingency plan that always includes an alternate power source for the device and relocating the person. Download Medical Necessity Form.

Trees falling on electrical lines
This is a primary cause of power outages. The power company has regularly scheduled tree trimming programs. When planting and/or trimming trees on your property, seek professional help when trimming branches or limbs that are close to power lines.

Gather and store a “Storm Kit”
Each kit should include the following items in a convenient place, ready to use if your power goes out. Be sure everyone in your family knows where the storm kit is located.
• A flashlight and extra batteries
• A first-aid kit
• A portable, battery-operated radio to hear updates about the storm damage
• Bottled water
• A manual can opener
• Non-perishable food