According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2019, there were an estimated 1,256 power outages in the United States, affecting an estimated 18.5 million customers. The majority of these outages were caused by severe weather (such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or high winds), accounting for about 64 percent of all outages. Other causes of outages included equipment failure, vegetation-related issues, or issues with the power grid itself. On average, customers experienced about 1.4 outages in 2019.

Preparing for a Power Outage: Tips and Strategies

Here are some steps to prepare for a power outage:

  1. Have an emergency kit ready, including items like flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, non-perishable food and water, and a manual can opener.
  2. Keep important documents and valuables in a waterproof and fireproof safe.
  3. Invest in backup power sources such as a generator, portable power bank, or solar-powered lanterns.
  4. Make sure all appliances and electronics are unplugged during a power outage to avoid damage from power surges when the electricity is restored.
  5. Consider getting a backup heat source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater, if you live in a cold climate.
  6. Have a plan for staying in touch with friends, family, and emergency services, such as having a charged cell phone and a backup charging method, or a landline telephone that does not require electricity.
  7. Keep your car's gas tank at least half full, as gas stations may not be able to pump gas during a power outage.
  8. Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food from spoiling. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. If the temperature goes above 40°F, discard any perishable food items.

Foods for a power outage:

  1. Non-perishable items such as canned goods, dried fruits and nuts, crackers, and peanut butter.
  2. Foods that do not require refrigeration, such as bread, crackers, and granola bars.
  3. Ready-to-eat items, such as instant noodles, canned soup, and canned fruits.
  4. Foods that can be cooked without electricity, such as canned stews and canned vegetables.
  5. Bottled water and sports drinks for hydration.

What should you turn off during a power outage?

 During a power outage, it is important to turn off any major appliances, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and ovens. This will help reduce the risk of an electrical surge when the power comes back on. Additionally, it is wise to turn off any lights and electronics, as well as unplug sensitive equipment to protect them from power surges.

wire power outage

Safety Tips for After a Power Outage

 After a power outage, it is important to take safety precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay away from downed power lines or fallen trees.
  • Be aware of the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning and open windows and doors to ventilate.
  • Never use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or any other gasoline-powered engine indoors.
  • Make sure food that has been refrigerated is stored at a safe temperature.
  • Inspect your home for any water damage or electrical issues before turning on any appliances or electronics.
  • Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles.
  • If you are using an emergency generator, make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and take all necessary safety precautions.

What Types of Light Bulbs are Helpful During a Power Outage?

There are several types of light bulbs that can help during a power outage, including:

  1. LED Flashlights: LED flashlights are a portable and reliable source of light during a blackout. They are energy-efficient, durable, and can be powered by batteries, making them an ideal option for a power outage.
  2. Battery-operated LED lights: Battery-operated LED lights can provide bright and long-lasting light for several hours during a power outage. They are easy to install and can be placed in various locations to provide light where needed.
  3. Surge Bulbs: As previously discussed, surge bulbs or emergency lights are equipped with an internal battery that provides light during a blackout. They are a convenient option for short-term power outages and provide immediate light without the need for additional equipment.
  4. Solar-powered lights: Solar-powered lights are an eco-friendly option for providing light during a blackout. They work by converting sunlight into electricity, which is stored in a battery, and can provide light even during an extended blackout as long as the sun is shining.
  5. Portable generators: Portable generators can provide backup power during a blackout by generating electricity from gasoline or other fuel sources. They can be used to power lights, appliances, and other essential equipment.

It is important to consider the duration and type of power outage you are preparing for when choosing the right bulb. Some bulbs may be more appropriate for short-term blackouts, while others may be better for extended power outages. Additionally, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and use to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the bulb during a blackout.

Do Surge Bulbs Turn On Automatically During a Power Outage?

Yes, surge bulbs can help during a power outage. Surge bulbs, also known as emergency lights or backup lights, are a type of light bulb that can provide light during a blackout. The main purpose of surge bulbs is to provide an immediate source of light in case of a power failure, making them a useful tool in the event of a blackout. However, it is important to understand the limitations and capabilities of surge bulbs to determine whether they are the best option for your needs during a blackout.

Surge Bulbs

How do surge bulbs work?

Surge bulbs are equipped with an internal battery that is charged when the electricity is functioning normally. When a blackout occurs, the bulb switches over to the internal battery, providing light for a limited period of time, typically several hours. Some models of surge bulbs also have a motion sensor that automatically turns on the light when motion is detected in the room, while others require manual activation.

Advantages of using surge bulbs during a blackout:

  1. Convenient: Surge bulbs are easy to install and do not require any additional equipment or setup.
  2. Immediate light: The internal battery of surge bulbs allows for immediate lighting in case of a blackout, providing a source of light without delay.
  3. Energy efficient: Surge bulbs are designed to use low levels of energy from the internal battery, making them a more efficient option than traditional backup power sources such as generators.
  4. Safe: Surge bulbs do not produce heat or emit harmful gases, making them a safe option for use during a blackout.

Disadvantages of using surge bulbs during a blackout:

  1. Limited duration: The internal battery of surge bulbs typically provides light for only a few hours, so they are not a suitable option for extended blackouts.
  2. Limited coverage: A single surge bulb may not provide enough light to cover a large area, and multiple bulbs may be required to adequately illuminate a room.
  3. Maintenance: The internal battery of surge bulbs needs to be recharged after each use, which may require regular maintenance to ensure the bulb is ready when needed.

In conclusion, surge bulbs can provide a useful source of light during a blackout, but it is important to understand their limitations and capabilities. For short-term power outages, surge bulbs can provide immediate and convenient lighting, but for longer blackouts, alternative backup power sources such as generators or battery-powered lights may be a better option. It is also important to have a well-stocked emergency kit, including food, water, and other supplies, to ensure that you are prepared for any eventuality during a blackout.


In conclusion, preparing for a power outage is important to ensure the safety and comfort of you and your family during an extended blackout. Essential supplies such as non-perishable food, bottled water, and a first aid kit should be readily available. Keeping refrigerator and freezer doors closed and separating raw and cooked foods can prevent food spoilage.

Emergency light sources such as LED flashlights, battery-operated LED lights, surge bulbs, solar-powered lights, and portable generators can provide light and power during a blackout. It is important to follow manufacturer instructions and consider the duration and type of power outage you are preparing for when choosing the right equipment. By being prepared, you can minimize the stress and discomfort of a power outage and keep your home and family safe.