Don't Be Left in the Dark - Weathering Floods, Storms and Power Outages

Don't Be Left in the Dark! Weathering Floods, Storms and Power Outages

These pages were developed as a guide for homeowners and others who want to prepare for power outages and other consequences of severe weather events such as thunderstorms, floods and winter storms.

If the power goes out, most homes would be without refrigeration. Many homes would not have running water and proper sanitary services. Depending on the season, many homes would also be without heat. If properly prepared, most families could deal with these inconveniences for a few hours, even a few days. But some families, especially those with infants, elderly or sick people, may need to leave the home.

Whether you stay or whether you leave your home, these pages provide useful checklists and general information on how to prepare for severe weather events and power outages before they happen, when they happen and after they happen. Along with this general information, please take special note of the highlighted health and safety advice throughout these pages. It's important to keep in mind the need to follow all health and safety advice even during an emergency.

Don't Be Left in the Dark will hopefully help you to take the next steps needed to prepare you, your family and your home for what might happen during a severe weather event or emergency.

Having the right supplies on hand can make life a little easier during a power outage, flood, or storm. Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would prevent you from getting to the grocery store for long, you should prepare a reserve supply of food and other supplies that will last three to seven days. This can relieve a great deal of inconvenience and uncertainty until services are restored. Be prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends your way.

There may be times when you have to leave your home until the storm is over and utilities have been restored. Use the checklists to help you prepare.

If you live in an area where evacuations are likely, you should have the bulk of your family's disaster supplies packed in an easy-to-carry container and ready to go quickly.

If the power has gone off or a storm is raging outside, there are things that you and your family must do to stay safe. This basic information will help you get through the emergency.

At last, the storm has ended and the power is back on. If the power has been out for more than a few hours, you need to check the food in your refrigerator and freezer to make sure that it has not spoiled. If you experienced a flood, extensive cleanup is often necessary.

For More Information & Materials

  • New York State Department of Health, Center for Environmental Health

    More information is available from the New York State Department of Health about flooding, mold, oil spills, disposable respirator use, private wells and repairing your home.

  • Local and Regional Health Departments

    Your local health department can provide additional information about the topics on these web pages. Regional, district, county and city health departments carry out environmental health programs to ensure that suitable water, food, housing and recreational facilities are provided to the public. County health departments and district offices identify, investigate and resolve actual and potential health hazards caused by environmental factors. Contact information for regional, district, county and city health departments is found at