Prepare for a power outage. Download the ultimate checklist.

Many families experience power outages. Preparedness is key to staying safe and comfortable during and after a power outage. Each family is unique and has different needs, making it difficult to find one power outage checklist for your family. 
We want to make the power outage preparedness easier for your family, so we have  compiled a list of power outage preparation items below. We have also categorized some of the tips based on whether your family includes children, pets or members with medical needs. 

Download the ultimate power outage checklist and print it. 

If you want to learn more about the power outage risks you face, check out how long is the power outages are in each state on average. You can also check weather events, disasters and power outages in your state.

Preparation for power outage part I: Before an outage

Safety checklist: 

  • Have enough nonperishable food and water. Have a manual can opener.
  • Review the supplies that are available in case of no power. 
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
  • Create a disaster prep kit for each member of your family to ensure their safety and comfort during a power outage. A basic kit should include bottled water, non-perishable food and battery-powered flashlights. 
  • For peace of mind and no power interruption, consider purchasing a whole house generator. A whole house generator like the Cummins QuietConnect will automatically restore your power the moment it goes off.

Convenience checklist: 

  • Stock up on batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Take inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
  • Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member.
  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.
  • Weather is the leading cause of power outages in the U.S. Sign up for local weather to stay up-to-date on potential power outages. 

Preparation for power outage part II: During an outage

Safety checklist: 

  • Stay away from any downed power lines or sparking equipment.
  • Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • Consider avoiding the use of candles. This is due to the fire risk. Use extreme caution if you must use candles.
  • Operate portable generators outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Convenience checklist:

  • 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.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so you can know the temperature when the power outage is over.
  • Go to a community location with power if heat or cold is extreme.

Protecting your electronic devices:

  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can cause damage.

Preparation for power outage part III: After an outage

  • Throw away any food that might be risky to consume. This includes food that has remained at temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more. Throw away food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • If the power is out for more than a day, consider discarding selected medication. This includes medication that needed refrigeration, unless the drug's label says otherwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Live in a disaster prone area? Additional power outage preparation tips

  • Check your insurance policy. Some traditional homeowner policies don’t cover disasters like flooding and earthquakes.
  • Find out if you're in a flood zone. If so, take immediate steps to get flood insurance. Some policies typically take 30 days to go into effect.
  • Prepare a disaster kit for each member of your household. This includes children and pets. A basic emergency prep kit should include bottled water, non-perishable food, batteries and a flashlight.
  • Keep a mini prep kit in your child's backpack.
  • Keep additional supplies in your car in case if you need to evacuate with short notice.
  • Severe weather and power outages often come together. In fact, severe weather is the leading-cause of power-outages in the U.S. Have a plan for backup power. This is to ensure vital medical equipment and appliances like sump pumps stay on during a power outage.

Have pets? Additional power outage preparation tips

  • Keep a photo of you and your pet together to prove ownership.
  • Have your pets’ vaccinations records and rabies vaccination tag.
  • If you plan to evacuate, know where you can take your pets.
  • Keep extra food available for your pet.

Have a family member with medical needs? Additional outage preparation tips

  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines.
  • Back-up medical necessities.
  • Keep at least a two-week supply of medication on hand.
  • Use an ID bracelet or a USB emergency ID band with important contact and medical information.
  • Consider using a back-up power source to ensure vital medical equipment stay on during a power outage.

Have kids? Additional power outage preparation tips

  • Prepare a mini emergency kit for school.
  • Use an ID bracelet or a USB emergency ID band with important contact and medical information.
  • Keep a favorite toy or security blanket with your family.

If you’re looking for further piece of mind, consider a power generator for your house. A whole house generator can provide backup power in case of an unexpected or planned power outage. Cummins home generators are extremely quiet, aesthetically pleasing and remotely accessible.

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.

Why I sell Cummins generators for hurricane season

Cummins generator powering a home in the rain

This article was authored by Jared Godwin, Cummins dealer at Lawson & Lawson Electrical Services

Years ago, the electrical contractor I work for, Lawson & Lawson in Tallahassee, began selling home generators because we wanted to help our customers power through anything. This is Florida after all, and hurricanes are a constant risk.

How Hurricanes Create Power Outages.

Year after year, we see the damage hurricanes cause. Some of the worst wreckage we’ve ever seen was in 2018 when we opened our Panama Beach office. Hurricane Michael, a category 5, had just hit nearby Mexico Beach.

Destructive storm wind and rain are hard on Florida’s trees, causing limbs to fall on power lines and leaving Floridians without power. Eventually my customers become tired of sitting in the heat and waiting for the power to be turned back on. So, they decide to get a Cummins QuietConnect™ standby generator for their homes. The most common phrase I hear from them is, “I just can’t go another year.”

The Importance of Ordering a Generator Early.

If you’re interested in a home standby generator, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment with your authorized Cummins dealer as soon as possible. Here in Tallahassee, it takes a month to get a permit and up to another two weeks to schedule and install the generator.

Six weeks on the high side is not a big deal for somebody who has already made the decision. But for someone panicked because they see a hurricane out in the Gulf, there’s simply not enough time before the storm makes landfall.

In other areas of the country, permitting times may vary, so it is always best to be prepared. You can find a local Cummins dealer or schedule a free in-home assessment through the Cummins website to get started.

Why We Sell Cummins Generators.

The answer is simple. The Cummins makes quality products and stands behind them. We know if there’s an issue, Cummins is going to work with us to quickly resolve it. That keeps our customers happy and gives us the confidence to recommend its whole-home generators.

When we install our Cummins QuietConnect standby generators, we work with a lot of gas contractors. As they connect their gas lines to the generators, they see just how well they work and are impressed. So, we also get a lot of referrals through them.

Creating a good customer relationship is important to us. I give my customers my mobile phone number and answer texts 24/7 throughout the installation process. This gives them the peace of mind of knowing they are going to be taken care of by me and by Cummins.

At the end of the day, when you sell a good product and do a good deed, it gets around. If you’re interested in becoming a Cummins dealer like Lawson & Lawson, check out the benefits of partnering with Cummins.

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.

What’s the true cost of a power outage without a Cummins home generator?

Home during power outage

Long-term power outages can be both inconvenient and expensive, disrupting your family’s comfort and safety. While every power outage is different for each homeowner, costs can add up to a surprisingly large amount. Plus, if you work from home or have a home business, in addition to any physical damages, you may have to endure the cost of lost work, productivity or wages.

Before you invest in a Cummins QuietConnect™ home standby generator, first consider the cost of going through a major power outage without one. Then, compare that cost against the price of a Cummins standby generator. You can get an estimate on a whole house generator by finding a dealer with our dealer locator tool, or by requesting an in-home assessment.

Whether your power outages are caused by severe weather, an aging power grid or rolling brownouts, here are some of the financial hits your family may have to absorb:

  • Flooded basement — If the electricity goes out and your sump pumps stop working, you may wind up with water damage in your basement. According to homeadvisor.com, the average cost to clean up a flooded basement could range between $500 and a whopping $85,000.
  • Mold remediation — Enduring some flooding means you will likely need to have portions of your home treated to prevent toxic mold. The experts at bobvila.com say the average cost of mold remediation is $2,214.
  • Food spoilage — If the power stays out for enough time, the food in your refrigerators and freezers will spoil. Forbes.com says that many insurance companies will pay up to $500 worth of food spoilage, but only if the cause of the power outage is covered under your policy. If you have a full deep freezer full of meat, the costs could be even more.
  • Burst or frozen pipes — Losing power during the winter months brings additional risks. According to Consumer Reports, the cost to repair burst or frozen pipes can easily exceed $5,000.
  • Hotel stays — If your home becomes uninhabitable during a power outage, your family may need to seek alternate shelter. Statista, which tracks hotel prices, says the average nightly stay costs $90.92. Add in the expenses of travel and meals out and the number begins to rapidly climb.

There are additional costs to consider as well — not all of them financial. For instance, there’s the impact to your health if you use home medical devices and the inconvenience of having your life turned upside down during the power outage.

With power outages becoming more and more common, it’s easy to see how the hidden financial and quality-of-life costs escalate, putting the cost of a Cummins QuietConnect home standby generator in perspective.

To find a dealer to help you estimate the investment needed for your own home generator, please visit our home generators dealer locator map.

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.

Watch Now: What Consulting-Specifying Engineers need today

Wissam Balashe with the Editor in Chief, CSE Magazine - Amara Rozgus

Watch Cummins Business Director for Energy Management Solutions, Wissam Balashe's interview with the Editor in Chief, CSE Magazine - Amara Rozgus here. In this insightful conversation, Balashe discusses what Consulting-Specifying Engineer’s (CSE) are requesting OEM manufactures for while designing energy solutions. He spoke in depth about the work done by Cummins Power Generation to meet these needs. 

He further talks about the shift towards an integrated power solution approach and the considerations electrical engineers should take while designing or retrofitting existing controls systems. He used his industry knowledge to discuss the steps that CSE’s can take to keep up with the emerging technologies in the dynamic power generation industry.

WATCH NOW

Wissam Balshe

Wissam Balshe

Wissam Balshe has been in the power systems industry since 2002 and joined Cummins in 2007. He led the application engineering team for North America (2007-2010), then led the Strategic Business Development efforts for the Power Solutions Business (2011-2015), focusing on Distributed Generation and Micro-grid applications. He joined the North America Power Gen Sales team managing the Rocky Mountain Territory for a brief period in 2016 before joining the Marketing Segment team as the director of the Mission Critical Segment. Wissam currently leads the Global Systems & Controls Business for the Power Systems Business Unit.   

Wissam represented Cummins in multiple codes and standards committees (IEE1547, CSA282, NEMA MG1), and trade associations (Vice Chair of the US CHP Association in 2012-2013). He actively advocates distributed generation incentives at the Federal and State Levels and the board of multiple community organizations in Minnesota (outside of Cummins). 

Wissam has a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and an executive MBA from Indiana University.

Should you choose a whole-home standby or portable generator?

With the increased frequency of severe weather events, you may find yourself considering a home backup generator. What type is best for protecting your family during weather-related outages? The answer: It depends. 

Cummins whole-home standby generators and portable generators have different advantages. To help you decide which one is right for you, here are four things to consider:

Power everything or just a few essentials?

If you want to power your whole home and carry on as if nothing has happened outside, then a Cummins QuietConnect™ standby generator is the way to go. This permanently installed generator will be strong enough to run all or nearly all the devices in your home. With a portable generator, you will have to size the generator set to power only certain essential devices. 

What’s your budget?

Standby generators are more powerful, longer lasting and less work to use, but they are also more expensive. Portables are more affordable because they are less powerful and more labor-intensive to use.

Permanent installation or portability?

One of the advantages of portables is that you can use them for more than just powering essentials in your home. You can take them with you on camping trips, tailgates or to power tools on worksites. Standby generators are permanently installed at your home.

How much work do you want to do?

With a standby generator, you often don’t have to lift a finger. An automatic transfer switch is part of the installation. In a power outage, the switch will automatically detect the power outage, disconnects your home from the utility line and connects it to the generator. Once electric service has been restored, it will reverse the process. 

With a portable generator, you have to get it out of storage, wheel it a safe distance from the house, fill it with fuel, start it and then run a power cord from it to the house…often in bad weather. If your outage lasts a long time, you will have to periodically refuel it. Then, after the outage, you have to disconnect it from your appliances, drain the fuel and wheel it back to storage.

There are other differences to consider before purchasing a home standby or portable generator. Your friendly Cummins dealer will be happy to walk through all of them with you. 

To get connected with a Cummins authorized dealer, visit our find a dealer page. You may also want to use our generator sizing calculator to get a rough estimate of how much power you need. 

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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