With old man winter starting to extend his cold reach, millions of people in the Northeast find themselves without power right now. Many being forced to survive without power for several days before power companies expect to have it restored.

If the outage were here in Wyoming, would you be prepared?

As a winter storm warning is bringing snow and ice to Wyoming, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about what we can do to be prepared and what we should do if the power goes out.

Power outages can create panic around the house and can be frustrating if it should last more than a few hours. Being prepared will help put your mind at ease.

Here are a couple of tips that may help you in the event a winter storm should force us to lose power for any length of time.

Staying out of the dark:

• Placing a strip of glow-in-the-dark tape to your flashlights can make them easier to find in the event of a power outage.
• Purchase a couple of hiking/running headlamps. Working hands free in the dark can make things like cooking, or reading easier.
• Stock up on kerosene lamps (stop by garage sales or secondhand stores), lamp oil, and replacement wicks. Keep them in a safe dry place that will be easy to access.
• Save a few bucks and buy candles when they are on sale. Grabbing a box of candles can be inexpensive after any holiday. When the lights go out, no one will care that your emergency candles are shaped like pumpkins!

Plan to keep warm:

• As soon as the power goes out, be proactive and drape all weather exposed windows with blankets to improve insulation. Uncovering south-facing windows during the day can let the Sun's warmth in.
• Plan to make one room in the house the main room in which people and pets can spend most of their time. Close off the doorway and try to let the collective body heat accumulate in that room.

Cooking and eating:

• Use your BBQ or gas grill for cooking, but only outdoors. Never use one indoors.
• If you have a wood burning stove, you can use it to cook on as well as for heat.
• Open your refrigerator or freezer door only when absolutely necessary. Plan ahead to minimize the time the door is open.

Avoid damage to your home:

• Protect water pipes from freezing by wrapping them with layers of newspapers and then plastic wrap.
• Avoid damage from falling branches; don't park your cars under trees.
• Fill clean plastic milk jugs with water and put outside to freeze solid (if the weather is cold enough). Put these jugs into coolers, which can serve as temporary refrigerators.
• Move your houseplants to your workplace or a friend's house (if they have power).

Water usage when the power goes out:

• Fill up your bathtub with water when a severe storm threatens the region, this will be valuable for washing and toilet flushing.
• If available, collecting snow in buckets and bringing it indoors to melt, can help to keep your water storage stocked.

Click here for a detailed list of tips and things to do in the case of a winter power outage

Have any helpful power outage tips you'd like to share? Please share them with us.