Power Outages in Delaware

Power Outages

Power outages can occur due to rolling blackouts, extreme weather conditions, or can accompany other disasters such as earthquakes. Blackouts can happen anywhere and to anyone.

  • Before a Power Outage

    • Make a plan now case of a power outage. The power may be out for a few hours or a few days. If it is summer time, make a plan for how or where to go if it is extremely hot. If it is winter, make a plan for how or where to go if it is extremely cold. Remember your pets! (link opens in new tab) Think about any restrictions or closure due to COVID-19. Learn more from FEMA (link opens in new tab) and the U.S. Humane Society (link opens in new tab).
    • Know if you live in an area that has rolling blackouts. A rolling blackout occurs when a power company turns off electricity to selected areas to save power. The blackouts are typically for one hour, then the power is restored and another area is turned off. Hospitals, airport control towers, police stations, and fire departments are often exempt from these rolling blackouts. They can happen at any time of day and may affect the same area more than once a day.
    • Get a high-quality surge protector for your electronic equipment.
    • Turn off all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners, and other electronic devices when they are not being used.
    • Fill plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one for the frozen water to expand. Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold for several hours if the power goes out.
    • Back up computer files and operating systems. Consider buying extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop computer.
    • If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it.
    • If you have a telephone that requires electricity to work (such as a cordless phone), plan for alternate communication, including having a standard telephone handset, cell phone, radio, or pager.
    • Learn how or refresh your memory on how to use your generator (link opens in new tab), and make sure your generator is powerful enough to power everything you want. Different generator sizes and features will dictate what you can and cannot power. If you want to install / hook up a generator to your house, have professionals do it for your safety, the safety of your neighborhood, and the safety of utility workers that may be working in the wider area.
    • Keep your car fuel tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power the pumps.
    • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) may not work during a power outage, so make sure you have extra cash at home.
    • If you have a business, make a plan to keep your business and your staff safe during and after a power outage. It may take several hours or several days to restore power.
  • During a Power Outage

    • Turn off and unplug appliances and computers. Leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
    • Avoid using candles. They are fire hazards.
    • Do not use a gas stove for heating or operate generators indoors (including the garage). Both could cause carbon monoxide poisoning which is silent, odorless, tasteless, and deadly. Visit ESRI for Generator Safety information (link opens in new tab).
    • If a traffic signal is not working, treat it as a stop sign.
    • Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed to help keep the cold in longer. Learn about food safety for when your refrigerator’s power is off.
    • If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • After a Power Outage

  • Downed Power Lines

  • Portable Generator Safety