Graves County advises families to plan ahead for winter power outages

The ice storm of 2009 left thousands of people without power, some for days and others for weeks.

"The grocery stores were closed," says Noel Coplen.

That caused families, like Noel Coplen’s, to fend for themselves.

"Trying to figure out how I was going to heat the house and stay warm," says Coplen.

Coplen says his family learned a lot during the storm of 2009, like the importance of having a manual can opener.

"Through that, we’ve learned that we need to be prepared for at least three days, possibly longer," says Coplen.

Which is why Coplen, who is also the director of the Graves County Health Department, is using a billboard to remind families to plan ahead this winter.

"Failing to plan is planning to fail," says Coplen.

He says it’s important to stock your cupboards with enough nonperishable food to feed everyone in your family for at least three days, including pets.

Don’t forget the water. One gallon per person, per day is what’s recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Make sure you have plenty of garbage bags, Coplen says they can be used for a number of things.

"For protection, but also if they need to use it for waste, you know, they have it available and duct tape to seal that up," says Coplen.

Also, have some extra blankets on hand. Coplen says it can get pretty cold at night when there’s no electricity to heat the house.

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