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Before an Extreme Solar Event

Space weather can have an impact on our advanced technologies, which have a direct impact on our daily lives. To begin preparing for the potential loss of electrical power in an extreme geomagnetic storm case, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. Other steps you should take to prepare for an emergency:

  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there's room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one because water expands as it freezes. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
  • Most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • If you have a garage, find out where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
  • Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
  • Keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger. These chargers are good emergency tools to keep your laptop and other small electronics working in the event of a power outage. If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger because you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
  • If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power.
  • Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.
  • Make back-up copies of important digital data and information, automatically if possible, or at least weekly.
The vast majority of NOAA Geomagnetic Scale 5 level storms (G5) will not cause catastrophic damage to the electric grid. On average, the Earth is impacted by such storms about four times during every 11-year solar cycle, so many large storms have impacted the planet since the Carrington Storm with much less signification impact.