How to prepare before the next big ice storm freezes you in

Ice Storm - Winter - Power Lines

The weather is getting worse and your family may be at risk. Here are some tips to help you and your family prepare for the next big ice storm. 

If you’re anything like the rest of us, at some point this year you were scrolling through your favorite feed and passed an article about the latest severe weather event. The headline probably exclaimed something about the “worst storm on record” or “strongest storm in history”, and it was likely followed by some images of sheer destruction. We’ve all seen them.

And again, if you are anything like the rest of us, you probably thought to yourself “wow, the weather has been crazy lately!” 

Trust us, you are not alone. 

But did you ever pause over that image of devastation and think to yourself “how would I guide my family through something like this?” or “what would we do if this was happening here?”

You should be.

That feeling of “this is crazy” is not wrong. Far from it. In fact, severe weather events are getting more intense and more frequent. You’ve seen it for yourself. 

Despite the somewhat magical image of the sun shining off fresh icicles in the crisp morning air, ice storms can actually be the most dangerous and damage-causing storms on the planet. In just a few hours an entire region can be paralyzed by icy roads, no power, and so many downed trees that it can take weeks to clear.

The scary part is, these fast-hitting storms can sweep in with little warning, taking trees and power lines with them. And once the power fails, your once-warm and inviting home can transform into an icebox where your loved ones huddle under blankets, struggling to stay warm. Thousands of dollars worth of food will spoil in your freezer, and one after another, freezing pipes will burst, cascading freezing water through the walls of your home.

Only, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Proper preparation, like the information you’ll find below, can see you and your family through ice storms in comfort and safety. 

That is, as long as you listen to that little internal voice that said “what will we do if this happens here?” and accept that the weather you’ve already seen, isn’t the weather you’ll see in the future.

Severe Weather Is Getting Worse, And More Frequent

Most of us can remember several severe weather events that happened in the last few years. It seemed like every few months we were hearing about the latest “Storm of the Century” or “storm of a lifetime”. 

Here are a few severe weather events from just the last nine years:

  • Halloween 2011, a Nor’easter you might remember as “Snowtober," incapacitated the entire northeast region. The storm set snow accumulation records in at least 20 cities. 3.2 million people in 12 states went without power, some lasting over 10 days.
  • January 28-29, 2014, a very rare severe weather event crippled the deep south, dropping inches of ice in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The storm was so severe that 233 consecutive miles of Interstate-10 was closed in both directions.
  • March 2017, a severe Nor’easter blanketed the entire Northeast with snow, breaking several records. Snowfall accumulations topped 30” in many spots, with a staggering 48.4” recorded in Ostego County, NY.

A recent article in The New York Times explored the multiple scientific research studies being published that show a strong upward trend in the frequency of severe weather events. 

So our eyes are not deceiving us: severe winter weather events are definitely on the rise. And when they do hit, there is a good chance they will be more severe and damaging than any winter storms we’ve already lived through. 

Why Ice Storms Should Concern You More Than a Blizzard

Reality: an ice storm is not “just another winter storm.”

First: ice is heavy. A half-inch of ice can add 500lbs to power lines or trees and a full inch means 1,000lbs hanging from everything. Even big trees can’t deal with that amount of weight, and it doesn’t take long before they all start falling. Often taking the power lines with them. 

There is also no getting around the fact that the United States is living with a power grid mostly installed in the 1950’s and patched together with “fixes”. A recent Department of Energy report plainly stated that the increasing severity of weather events is guaranteed to continually increase power outages in affected areas. 

Meaning, during an ice storm, power outages are inevitable. 

Second: We aren’t talking about a few trees falling here. We’re talking about dozens of trees per street, all blocking roads, driveways, and houses. And it can take an hour or more to remove larger trees. If there are live power lines tangled in the tree, that tree has to remain untouched until the power company can cut the power.

Buried under their own mountain of emergency calls, the power company may not get to that tree for days. So, if your house is blocked by that tree, you aren’t going anywhere.

That scenario can repeat thousands of times across a region after an ice storm blows through. 

The final factor is the most obvious one: after an ice storm, everything is covered in ice!

Ice makes it difficult to even go outside, let alone clear roads and downed trees. Iced-over streets are nearly impossible to drive on, and icy driveways and walkways lead to falls that break bones or dislocate joints. 

The reality is, if you can’t go somewhere safely, neither can the power company. Or tree workers, firefighters, police officers - even gas station attendants. Everyone is affected by ice.

It’s not hard to see how these three factors can quickly turn a fun “snowstorm” into a nightmare scenario. 

So what can we do?

We prepare.

Preparing for Ice Storms

When it comes to dealing with ice storms, the most important thing to prepare against is the bitter cold.

Without electricity or another heat source, the temperature inside the average house can fall to uncomfortable levels within hours. Left unchecked, a house can get into the 30's in just a few days.

Don’t fool yourself. It doesn’t have to be arctic-frigid in your house for one of your loved ones to start getting hypothermic. The CDC tells us that hypothermia can set in above 40°. Hypothermia is nothing more than your body losing heat faster than it can produce it. So if your loved ones feel cold, then they can also get hypothermia.

Don’t leave that to chance by saying “well that will never happen to us”.

Prepare For The Cold With These Easy Tips:

  • Keep a stockpile of warm blankets in central locations. Pick blankets of thick wool, feather down or fleece because they offer the better best insulation.
  • Find a central spot in your home you can close off. Smaller rooms, with the windows, doors and hallways blocked off with blankets, can be much easier to heat. Pick this ahead of time and put blankets there.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel for alternate heat sources and be very clear in how to operate them! Using a fuel-burning heat source indoors can very easily produce deadly carbon monoxide gas, which is colorless and odorless. A buildup can spell death for everyone in the house. Read all warning labels and instruction manuals, closely. 
  • Keep enough water and food on hand for at least a week. Without power, your pipes may freeze, so fresh water may become a limited resource. Store extra. Easy-to-heat meals and simple carbohydrates are also easy to store and can become go-to snacks that will keep your family fed. Malnourished people are more likely to develop hypothermia, and shivering requires energy. Don’t be afraid to store more than you think you’ll need.
  • Create plans for your more vulnerable loved ones. Small children and older adults are at greater risk for cold-related injuries and death. Put together plans ahead of time to get to your at-risk loved ones before the storm and get them to a place where they will be safe. 

The Ultimate Step in Ice Storm Preparation

If you noticed earlier, most of the risks from ice storms come from having no electricity in your house. Power outages rob your home of all the resources you would normally use on a cold day to stay warm, stay connected, and remain productive. 

Reality: Once the power goes out, you are on your own to solve your own problems.

So, instead of relying on the aging power grid that suffers more power outages than any other developed nation, on earth, you can take matters into your own hands. Armed with a good standby generator, you can guarantee your family’s safety on your terms by keeping the power on no matter what happens. 

Widely considered the gold standard in storm preparation, whole home generators are the single most important investment a family can make against winter disasters. Fueled by a nearly limitless supply of natural gas, these generators automatically turn on, and take over during a power outage. 

Out of town on business? Trapped at the office? Welcome to a worry-free storm. Your generator is right there, ready to take over without anyone having to lift a finger.

Working from home? Kids remote-learning? Keeping the power on means staying connected. Cell sites and communications centers all have backup power sources, so many connection options are still available. 

And picking the right generator can make all the difference. We’re talking about your safety net to prevent disaster. This is the time to go for the best you can find.

For instance, Cummins Home Generators are backed by over 100 years of industry experience building engines and generators designed for extreme conditions. If you’ve seen a firetruck, semi-truck, or even a diesel Ram pickup truck, then you’ve seen a Cummins engine at work. They also make the generator of choice for data centers, major hospitals, and US military bases overseas. If Cummins keeps the lights on at a major hospital, your family will be in the best hands.

Before you can even say “hey the power is out” your generator will be running and providing power. Your lights will come back on and your heat stays running. No matter what.

Just imagine, your house is surrounded by a completely dark neighborhood during a severe ice storm. What is your family doing? They’re grabbing a cold drink from the fridge, microwaving some popcorn, and watching a movie. Warm, safe, and provided for.

Guarantee Your Sanctuary

There is no denying that winter storms are getting more frequent, and more severe. 

The “storm of the century” seems to happen once a winter now, and each one is stronger than the last. With no end in sight, we should worry about making sure our loved ones have what they need to survive the next severe ice storm. We should take those extra steps to prepare for the worst. Because it is coming.

As storms get stronger, losing power is no longer just a possibility. It is an eventual certainty.

How you respond when that storm arrives and cuts off your power, is a matter of how you prepare today. 

Take the tips we provided seriously. Get your plans in place. 

And consider finding your nearest Cummins Dealer for a painless estimate on that gold standard of storm preparation: a reliable whole home generator from a well-known company that also offers financing through Synchrony Bank. You’ll never know if it’s worth it until you need it. 

Don’t wait until that happens.

James Warnet

James Warnet is a freelance direct response copywriter and digital marketer who specializes in the emergency services and first responder markets. With almost two decades of experience as a firefighter, James combines professional experience and deep research to help brands connect with their most valued customers. 

Cummins Power Generation awarded the highest recognition from the China data center industry


Cummins Power Generation (CPG) has been honored for its first PowerBlocTM project. The China Engineering Construction Standardization Association, China’s most prominent organization defining data center-related industrial standards, awarded CPG as part of the Data Center Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards. The winner’s list was officially announced during the 9th Data Center Standards Summit. 

Launched in May 2021, PowerBloc was designed by the CPG China team and is manufactured in the CPG China plant in Wuhan, a city in central China. PowerBloc integrates diesel units (power systems), water tanks (cooling systems), fuel tanks (fuel systems), silencers (noise reduction systems), electrical switch cabinets (control systems), and fire protection systems in a highly integrated 40-foot standard container. The first of three PowerBloc gensets was installed at customer sites in September. The standard Installation Quality Assurance (IQA) test, 12-hour continuous load and one-hour overload tests were completed with the customer. The results not only validated 10 square meters of space saving compared to the traditional containerized unit, but demonstrated extra stable operation, low noise, low emission, and excellent performance of this innovative solution.

The PowerBloc project and its remarkable technical innovation has set a new benchmark for standby power in the data center field, especially the containerized area. The award represents the highest of its kind in the China data center industry.

“The concept, design, development and application of PowerBloc is just another vivid example of how our people live Cummins’ vision of innovating for our customers to power their success,” said Wang Lei, General Manager of CPG China. “The driver for this solution was to erase the pain point for our customers in the data center industry. The applause from the customers and the recognition from the industry gives us more confidence to further innovate value-added solutions for this industry.”

During the Summit, the China Data Center Committee also released a Data Center Containerized Diesel Generator Set Technical White Paper, which was co-authored with CPG. Cummins interpreted in detail the design elements, the problems existing in the application and the future development direction for containerized gensets serving as standby power systems.

CPG also utilized this opportunity to showcase its unique capabilities in providing power systems for data centers. The CPG booth attracted many participants from the design institutions that provide power system planning and design. The event was webcast and drew great attention from the public.

CPG has kept the leading position as the diesel genset provider in the China data center industry and continued its reputation as a lifecycle solution provider. Key customers include China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Home Generator Safety Checklist

Home Generator Safety Tips - Cummins

Follow these home generator safety tips when preparing your home and family for long-term power outages.

With a little more than one month left on the already tumultuous Atlantic hurricane season, not to mention the likelihood of severe winter storms on the horizon, now is the time for power outage preparation

Preparing for long term outages is important, and if you have already taken the step to ensure continuous emergency power by purchasing a generator, consider the steps you need to take to safely operate a backup home generator. 

The biggest risk of home generators is carbon monoxide (CO) gas. It is called “the silent killer” because it is odorless and colorless, meaning that most people inhaling it don’t even realize until it is too late. Symptoms of CO poisoning can look a lot like the flu, and in severe cases, it can cause permanent brain damage or death. CO can be especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated.

Here are a few tips for keeping your family safe while operating a generator during your next power outage.

Portable Gas or Diesel Generators Safety Tips:

  1. Always follow manufacturer instructions when setting up a generator.
  2. Never use a generator inside your home or garage. They should be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas that are at least 20 feet away from any homes or dwellings.
  3. Look for any places air can enter the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off. This includes windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents or crawl spaces.
  4. Reliable, approved, and operable battery powered CO detector alarms should be installed in proper locations on each floor in the home as specified by the manufacturer. 
  5. Give the generator a break that allows for any concentrated exhaust to clear away from the area. Open your windows and doors during this break to air out any concentration that may have collected in your home.
  6. Ensure that your generator is being appropriately maintained, including regular oil changes. 

Permanently Installed Gas or Diesel Generators Safety Tips:

  1. Install the generator outdoors only.  Work with a professional installer (link to to locate the generator away from windows, doors, and other openings to the house where exhaust gases will disperse away from the house or occupied areas.
  2. Install all parts of the generator enclosure at least 60 inches from any openings in walls of structures that may be occupied.  Examples of wall openings include, but are not limited to, operable windows, doors, dryer vents, fresh air intakes for heaters, etc.
  3. Look for any places air can enter the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off. This includes, but not limited to, windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents or crawl spaces. Your generator must be located such that exhaust gases are not able to accumulate in an occupied area.
  4. Ensure that generators are used, maintained, and operated in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. If there is a concern that the installation standards have not been met, get an appropriate party, like the installer, out to inspect it.
  5. Give the generator a break that allows for any concentrated exhaust to clear away from the area. Open your windows and doors during this break to air out any concentration that may have collected in your home.
  6. Check the exhaust system for corrosion, obstruction, and leaks every time you start the generator and every eight hours when run continuously.
  7. Ensure that your generator is being appropriately maintained, including regular oil changes.
  8. Reliable, approved, and operable battery powered CO detector alarms should be installed in proper locations on each floor in the home as specified by the manufacturer.

Cummins home generators are extremely quiet, aesthetically pleasing and remotely accessible. If you have not yet taken the step to purchase a backup generator, consider scheduling a painless home assessment with your nearest Cummins dealer. In just a few minutes you can know exactly how little the ultimate peace of mind can cost.

Catherine Morgenstern - Cummins Inc.

Catherine Morgenstern

Catherine Morgenstern is a Brand Journalist for Cummins, covering topics such as alternative propulsion, digitalization, manufacturing innovation, autonomy, sustainability, and workplace trends. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, holding leadership positions most recently within the Industrial Capital Goods sector.

Catherine began her career as a marketing writer for a biotechnology company, where she learned to take complicated and highly technical information and make it accessible to everyone. She believes the concept of “storytelling” is more than a trendy buzzword and loves to find ways for her readers to make personal connections to her subjects. Catherine has a passion for technology and innovation and how its intersection can make an impact in all our lives.

Catherine recently moved back to her hometown in the Hudson Valley, New York after a several decades in Los Angeles and Chicago. She is a graduate of UCLA and enjoys gardening and spending time with her husband and three children.

Компании Cummins Power Generation исполняется 100 лет

D.W. Onan and sons Robert and C. Warren with original Ten Lite 1926

В этом году компания Cummins празднует 100-летие с момента основания подразделения Power Generation. Все началось в 1920 году с создания Дэвидом У. Онаном семейного предприятия под названием Onan Corporation.

«История компании Onan во многом схожа с историей Cummins Inc.. У ее истоков стоял предприниматель с коммерческой идеей и большими планами на будущее. Компания, которую Дэвид Онан основал как небольшое предприятие в штате Миннесота (США), успешно развивалась в течение 100 лет и стала мировым лидером в своей отрасли», – говорит Алекс Савелли, исполнительный директор подразделения Cummins Power Generation (CPG).

Как и Клесси Камминз, Дэвид Онан был новатором и высококлассным специалистом. Проработав десять лет в автомобильной ремонтной мастерской, Дэвид решил попробовать заняться предпринимательством, учредив компанию Onan Corporation в 1920 году. В то время его единственным штатным сотрудником был П. Дайк. В наши дни продукция CPG проектируется в четырех технических центрах и выпускается на шести заводах по всему миру. Итого, в компании Cummins работает более 5 000 сотрудников подразделения Power Generation; создана глобальная сервисная сеть.

Прежде чем стать одним из глобальных лидеров на рынке генераторных установок, в Cummins Inc. произошло множество важных событий. «Приобретение компании Onan Corporation в 1992 году и компании Power Group International (PGI или «Petbow») в 1994 году были важнейшими вехами в истории компании Cummins. Ранее мы были поставщиком двигателей для приводов генераторных установок, а теперь мы стали международным производителем комплектного оборудования для генераторных установок. Интеграция с компаниями Onan и Petbow открыла новые горизонты для «мощности компании Cummins»», – говорит Джино Бутера, вице-президент CPG.

В настоящее время компания Cummins сочетает в себе умение работать на рынке с современными инженерными и производственными технологиями, давая миру безотказные решения для широкого ряда различных применений. Везде: от крупнейшей в мире шахты по добыче железной руды вблизи Северного полярного круга до самых отдаленных мест в бразильских джунглях, от центров широкомасштабной обработки данных до автофургонов для проживания в лесной глуши вдали от цивилизации, компания Cummins надежно обеспечивает заказчиков в электроэнергией, вне зависимости от их местонахождения и направления перемещения.

Новаторский дух Дэвида Онана по-прежнему жив. Он был не только механиком-энтузиастом, но и гуманистом. Сегодня забота о заказчиках – это корпоративная ценность, пронесенная через 100-летнюю историю. Как заметил Дж. Ирвин Миллер: «Клиентов не интересует, сколько вы знаете, до тех пор, пока они не узнают, как вы о них заботитесь». Этот подход по-прежнему действует в компании. «Нам действительно должно нравиться, чем мы занимаемся, и мы должны четко представлять, почему мы этим занимались последние 100 лет и почему мы продолжим этим заниматься следующий век. Этот подход применяется в отношениях с нашими заказчиками, с нашими сотрудниками и с жителями городов, в которых мы работаем», – говорит Даг Санкел, директора завода в г. Фридли (штат Миннесота, США). И добавляет: «Мы ежедневно прилагаем максимум усилий для превращения нашего завода в производственный объект компании Cummins мирового класса и для создания дополнительных производственных мощностей для выполнения новых заказов. Увеличивая нашу долю на рынке и улучшая характеристики некоторых из наших существующих моделей, мы также готовимся к переходу на следующий уровень технологического развития».

С 1920 года, когда была учреждена компания Onan Corporation, в мире произошли значительные изменения. В современном мире способы производства и потребления электроэнергии меняются постоянно. Такие заметные тенденции развития, как децентрализация коммунальных служб, использование возобновляемых источников топлива, а также новые требования к цифровизации являются определяющими для нашей конкурентоспособности и совершенствования. Cummins Power Generation празднует юбилей своего основания и своей приверженности разработке нового поколения технологий для выработки электроэнергии. Приглашаем Вас вместе с компанией Cummins отметить первый 100-летний юбилей подразделения Power Generation и обсудить перспективы на следующие 100 лет.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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