What to Do When Your Power Goes Out in the Winter

Heat is precious during the winter, and that can make a winter power outage disastrous. But don’t get stuck in the cold! Prepare yourself so that you’ll be ready for disaster if and when it strikes!


  • Make sure you have operating flashlights and a portable, battery-powered radio. Your radio will be a valuable resource for information about weather and emergency information during winter storms.
  • Have an emergency source of heat, whether that’s a generator that runs space heaters, a fireplace, or a wood burning or pellet stove.
  • Ensure that your home is properly insulated. This will also help increase the energy efficiency of your home during the rest of the year, so there’s no reason not to invest in some good insulation!
  • If your source of water could be affected by a power outage, try preemptively filling your bathtub up with water before a large winter storm. If you do lose access to water, you’ll at least have one tub worth of clean drinking water.
  • Create an accessible emergency kit for your family. It should include non-perishable food, warm clothes, and many of the items listed above. Try to plan your emergency kit to last 72 hours.


  • When in the middle of a power outage, dress accordingly. Wear several layers of light, warm clothing instead of one thick layer—this will better insulate heat. Also be sure that your outer layer is water resistant, as this will protect the rest of your layers (and your actual body) from becoming wet, as well as keeping you warm and toasty.
  • Always wear a hat—your head is the place where most of your body’s heat escapes.
  • Be vigilant for signs of frostbite and hypothermia, and seek medical attention immediately if you notice signs of either of them.
  • If you completely run out of water, you can resort to melting snow as an emergency supply of drinking water.
  • A snow bank can actually make a trusty makeshift freezer for your food—but be wary that you aren’t attracting animals.


  • Be cautious of downed power lines when inspecting damage to your home or walking around outside.
  • Assume all downed wires are live, and inform your utility company right away when you spot them.
  • Continue to stay off the roads if you can afford to. Wait for conditions to improve before putting yourself at risk.

Got winter on the brain now? If you want some further reading, check out this Bright Insights blog post to learn how to prepare your home for the winter season!