By planning ahead, you can stay safe and minimize the inconvenience of a storm-related power outage.

First and foremost, avoid dangerous situations.

The best way to avoid lightning, flash floods and other inclement weather is to stay inside. Stay up to date on current weather forecasts — especially notifications issued for severe weather — and scan the skies overhead before leaving a safe location.

At home, prepare in advance by gathering basic supplies into a disaster supply kit. The rule of thumb is to have enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days.

The kit should contain essential items such as food, water and sturdy clothing in case your power, gas or water services are interrupted. We recommend that you have on hand:

  • Three gallons of water in clean, closed containers for each person and pet
  • A first aid kit
  • A stock of food that requires no cooking or refrigeration
  • A portable and working battery-operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries
  • Necessary medications
  • A back-up power source for life support and other medical equipment that requires electricity to function

Protect your sensitive electrical equipment by installing power protection devices that can be purchased at hardware or electronics stores.

When thunderstorms are expected — during the summer, typically in the early to mid-afternoon — unplug expensive electronics including TVs, stereos, home entertainment centers and computers. If lightning strikes, a power surge can damage equipment.

Air-conditioning units should be turned off before a thunderstorm strikes. Power surges from lightning can overload units, leading to costly repair bills.

Corded phones can be dangerous to use during thunderstorms. Lightning can travel through telephone wires and cause injuries and even death. Cell phones and cordless phones are safer.

Wait to use sinks, showers, tubs and toilets until after a thunderstorm has passed. Plumbing can conduct electricity if lightning strikes outside.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed — food will stay fresh up to eight hours. For longer outages, pack cold and frozen foods into coolers.

Bring pets indoors.

If you’re outside when a storm approaches, go to a nearby large building or a fully enclosed metal-topped vehicle.

Call 911 immediately to report any downed power lines and then stay away.

If a power line comes into contact with your vehicle, remain inside the vehicle until help arrives. Do not attempt to get out of the vehicle. By stepping out of the vehicle, your body can become the pathway for electricity to reach the ground, causing severe bodily harm and possibly electrocution.

For live, mobile information about local power outages, visit the new outage center and map on for updates such as what caused the outage and how quickly service will be restored.

Visit to learn more about storm safety in the desert Southwest.

This content was last updated on the date shown above. More recent information might be available elsewhere on