Turn off or disconnect all appliances and fixtures; leave on a transistor radio and one lamp to let you know when service is restored. Keep lit candles away from drafts and children. Don’t tie up telephone lines with unnecessary calls.
Open the refrigerator as seldom as possible. Food will stay frozen for up to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer that is kept closed; for 24 hours in a half loaded freezer. Use defrosted food within 1 or 2 days; don’t refreeze food that has thawed out completely.
When a blackout occurs during the winter, close off colder rooms and confine your activities to warmer, well-insulated ones. If you have a fire-place, bum wood or rolled newspapers in it. Some gas-fired heating systems can be operated manually. Familiarize yourself with the procedure before the heating season begins (if necessary, have a gas company representative show you how it’s done); watch a boiler closely during the manual operation period.
If your house is to be without heat for a prolonged period in below freezing temperatures, the best way to pre-vent pipes from freezing is to drain the plumbing system (see Boilers, Closing a house). If you’re not pre-pared to do this yourself, turn all faucets on to a trickle and flush the toilets periodically. Try wrapping pipes in several layers of newspaper tied with string. These measures may delay freezing. (See also Frozen pipes. )
When power is restored, wait 10 minutes before turning on lights and appliances, one at a time.
Keep on hand emergency supplies of bottled water, canned and dehydrated foods, dry snacks such as cookies and crackers. a non electric can opener, and a camping stove with spare fuel. Store candles, matches, fresh batteries, flashlights, and a transistor radio in an accessible place known to all family members.
If you receive advance warning of a storm that could disrupt power and water supplies, fill clean containers and bathtubs with water for drinking, cooking, washing. and toilet flushing (a pail of water poured into the toilet will flush it). ‘Turn the refrigerator and freezer controls to the coldest setting.