Prepare for an Outage

Before an Outage

  • Monitor the weather and know what conditions are forecasted for your area.
  • Check to see if shrubs or trees need trimming or if you have any weak limbs. Be particularly careful when working near power lines.
  • Compile a storm preparedness kit, including essential medicines, non-perishable food items and water, flashlights, portable radios, extra batteries and a manual can opener.
  • Make a list of emergency phone numbers. Include NIPSCO’s 24-hour Customer Service Line 1-800-4NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726).
  • If someone in your family requires life support equipment, make prior arrangements for a back-up power supply. This may mean having a back-up power supply such as a generator or going to a health care facility that has back-up power.
  • If severe weather calls for a tornado, pick a safe place where family members can gather. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor.
  • Fill your gas tank, as gas pumps do not work if electricity is out.
  • Have cash on hand. Automatic teller machines will also be shut off if the power goes out.
  • If you have an automatic garage door opener, know how to open and close the door in the event of a power failure.

During an Outage

  • Follow local news for up-to-date storm information, including knowing what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means.
  • Do not touch downed or hanging power lines or anything touching them.
  • Keep away from windows.
  • Keep candles away from furniture, draperies and other flammable materials. Also, keep children and pets away from open flames.
  • Do not use a stove or grill to heat your home.
  • If using a generator, locate the unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. More generator tips.
  • Disconnect or turn off appliances that were on when the power outage occurred. Leave a light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • If you leave your home while the power is out, double-check that all heat producing appliances, such as stoves, irons and curling irons are unplugged before you leave.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the doors remain closed. If the freezer is half full, the food will generally keep 24 hours.
  • If there is severe damage and it appears that the outage will last an extended period of time, consider moving to an alternate location.

After an Outage

  • Do not touch downed or hanging power lines or anything touching them.
  • Throw away any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • If your community experiences a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website available through to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.
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