Be Prepared, All Year Long

Plan ahead and know what to do in case of a power outage.

It's hard to know when you might have a power outage. Power outages can happen because of storms, vehicle crashes, ice, tree branches, and even animals.

Make an outage prep plan that works for you and your household so you can get ready and stay ready before a power outage ever happens.

Top 10 List for Outage Prep

  • 1. Know how to report a power outage, view the Outage Map, and sign up to receive Outage Alerts
    You have three ways to report a power outage: online, by text message, and by phone. When you sign up for Outage Alerts, you can report an outage and receive Outage Alerts and updates via text message. Learn how to sign up for Outage Alerts or view the Outage Map.
  • 2. Ensure that Austin Energy can contact you in case of emergency
  • 3. Gather all important paperwork and information
    Keep it in a safe, waterproof place. Keep all necessary information somewhere you can easily access. This can include legal and insurance paperwork, personal records, your Austin Energy account number, emergency phone numbers, and family and neighbor contact information. Have a printed copy of helpful contact information in case you lose cell phone power.
  • 4. See if you qualify for the Medically Vulnerable Registry
    If you or someone in your household has a medical condition that could become life-threatening during a power outage, the Medically Vulnerable Registry can help. Though customers on the registry are not guaranteed uninterrupted power or priority restoration during an emergency, they will work with a designated team member to establish a personalized emergency backup plan.
  • 5. Make an emergency kit

    The best emergency kit is one specific for you. You might have medicine, animals and/or people to plan for in your home. Storm kits may include flashlights; extra batteries; backup chargers for devices; glow sticks (not candles — they can start a fire); blankets; paper fans; hand warmers or gloves, an ice scraper for your car; a first-aid kit; a portable, battery-operated radio; bottled water; canned or dried food for people and animals; and a hand-operated can opener. Your emergency kit should be easy to grab if your power goes out. Be sure everyone in your family or business knows where the kit is located.

    Learn how to make a basic emergency supply kit (pdf)

    emergency supply kit

  • 6. Create an evacuation plan
    If the power is out for multiple days, you might need to spend time in a place away from home. Whether you just need a place to charge a device, or a place to stay overnight, you need a plan specific to your needs. Consider who you could call, where you could go and what arrangements you might need to make to take care of your household away from home. Check City of Austin resources for alternative places to stay if staying at a hotel or a loved one’s home is not an option for you.
  • 7. Consider external power sources for your devices
    Even if fully charged, devices like cell phones, tablets, and laptops can quickly run out of power. You can buy external power sources that use batteries or solar energy.
  • 8. Think ahead for safety: generators, downed power lines, food safety, preventing falls, tree trimming

    While portable generators can help during a power outage, operating them indoors is dangerous. Learn more about portable generator safety. Remember to stay away from downed power lines and keep your fridge and freezer closed. Store non-clumping cat litter or rock salt so you can prevent slippery sidewalks, driveways and decks. Contact Austin Energy about trimming trees away from power lines.

    Get more safety tips

  • 9. Regularly backup your computer, unplug during a storm
    It's a good idea to back up your computer’s hard drive. If your computer is plugged in, a lightning strike can damage the hard drive and you can lose valuable records.
  • 10. Plan how to pass the time
    In extreme situations, such as extended ice storms or flooding, a power outage may last quite a while and you may be housebound. A battery-operated AM/FM radio can help to pass the time AND keep you up-to-date on the news. Board games, card games, books and puzzles offer a distraction, too.
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Date last reviewed or modified: 04/16/2024