Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly.
A power outage may:
- Disrupt communications, water and transportation.
- Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks and other services.
- Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
- Prevent use of medical devices.
- Build an emergency kit
- Make a family communications plan.
- Learn more about preparing for power outages.
- Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
- Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
- Keep extra batteries or external chargers to charge your phone, laptop and other small electronics in the event of a power outage. Keep a car phone charger in your car.
- Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank.
- Have flashlights with batteries or long-lasting glow sticks for every household member.
- Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
- If you have an alarm system, determine whether the system will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last
- Know your medical needs. 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.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
- 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.
- Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary surges or spikes that can cause damage.
- Have enough nonperishable food and water. 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. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
- Use a generator, but ONLY outdoors and away from windows.
- Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home.
- Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
- Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
- Check with local officials about heating and cooling locations open near you.
- Notify Duke Energy at 800-769-3766 of your outage or visit this site for a list of current outages and to report an outage from your smartphone.
Generators can be helpful when the power goes out. It is important to know how use them safely to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and other hazards.
- Generators and fuel should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and attached garages.
- Install working carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you, your family and pets.
- Keep the generator dry and protected from rain or flooding. Touching a wet generator or devices connected to one can cause electrical shock.
- Always connect the generator to appliances with heavy-duty extension cords.
- Let the generator cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts can ignite.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- 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.
- Remember that intersections that are usually controlled by a traffic light may not have power...which means the traffic light may not be working. According to GS 20-158 unless the intersection is being controlled by a law enforcement officer, EVERY vehicle must stop and treat these intersections as a 4-way stop. This means:
- At an all-way stop, the first vehicle to reach the intersection should move forward first. If two vehicles reach an all-way stop at the same time, the driver on the right should proceed first.
- When two facing vehicles approach an intersection at the same time, both drivers can continue straight or turn right. If one driver is going straight while the other wants to turn left, the driver who wants to turn left must yield.
- You can report traffic light signal problems to the NC Department of Transportation here
More information on Power Outages at Ready.gov in: