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Most power outages in the US last briefly but there are times when the power goes out for more than a few hours or even for days. In the best-case scenario, you will get properly warned beforehand such as when power outages are likely during heavy thunderstorms or snowstorms. In many cases, you won’t have the time to prepare as the power suddenly goes out. This is why it’s crucial that you prepare an emergency survival kit specifically tailored for the unpleasant situation of interrupted electricity in your home. Check out the essential things that you should get ready in the event of a power outage.
1. Nonperishable Foods
If the power goes out, it’s very likely that you will be unable to cook food as usual. It’s recommended to maintain your pantry stocked with nonperishable foods that can be conveniently eaten without cooking. Having a good supply of shelf-stable foods on hand can come in handy during power outages because you may also be unable to make grocery store trips through very bad weather.
Even if the power outage is unrelated to hazardous weather events, going to the store to get food isn’t a good idea. Most people in your area will also be affected by the outage so crowds can form at supermarkets. Make sure your pantry is well stocked with nonperishable staples like peanut butter, canned products, and powdered milk. Keep an eye on the expiration dates to ensure that your supply of shelf-stable food is still good to eat.
The water supply isn’t always disrupted when the power goes out but it’s important not to depend exclusively on tap water during an emergency. It’s a good idea to stockpile bottled water for at least 3-4 days. Although unlikely, severe weather events that cause power outages might also affect the water supply. It’s best to stay prepared with enough water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. If you have a well, consider installing a hand pump as well to enjoy the water supply even when no electricity is available.
3. Flashlights and Lanterns
No power means no light so it’s essential to have flashlights and lanterns prepared. Although it’s not a bad idea to have some classic battery-powered flashlights on hand, it’s also recommended to buy manual tools that can be activated through motion such as mechanical winding. Keep a nice assortment of lanterns in your home to be prepared when the power blackout strikes. Don’t forget to maintain a proper supply of batteries if some of the flashlights require them.
Get one of these hand crank emergency flashlights.
4. Blankets or Sleeping Bags
Power outages can happen during any season but it’s particularly unpleasant when you have to deal with this problem in the winter. Your heating appliances won’t have power so you need to make sure that you’ll be able to stay warm without depending on electricity. Prepare some thick blankets that can be used in case of a power blackout emergency. Sleeping bags can also be practical if it gets really cold at night in your region.
5. First Aid Kit
It’s always a great idea to have a first aid kit at home, regardless of the nature of the emergency. Power tends to go out during severe weather events when you will also have a difficult time getting proper medical access. Minor injuries can be treated easily if you have all the necessary supplies conveniently at hand in one place. Even a basic first aid kit does a great job and enhances your preparedness in case of an extended power outage. Try this first aid emergency kit.
6. Portable Battery
It’s advised to keep in your home some disposable batteries for flashlights or other small devices like emergency radios. You should also have portable batteries that can be recharged. This kind of item can prove to be a lifesaver in an emergency like a power outage. You will be able to charge a smartphone and make emergency calls when needed. A portable power bank like this one on Amazon represents a great investment. If you have more demanding needs, try opting for a larger power station and keep it charged to have backup power ready.
7. Candles and Matches
Although candles are not as safe and practical compared to flashlights, it’s still a good idea to stock up on them. Both candles and matches are essential to have in case of extended power outages. You might run out of batteries for the flashlights or experience some problems with any other more reliable light source. When all else fails, you can still count on candles and matches to light the way. Just pay close attention to how you use lit candles and never leave them unattended.
A radio can be a useful device to have prepared in case the power goes out. In some situations when the power outage takes time to resolve, you might not have any reliable sources to keep in touch about any weather warnings. Having a radio becomes particularly important when the power outage is caused by a hurricane or another extreme weather event. Whether you choose a satellite radio or a classic battery-powered model, this is an essential thing to prepare. As a bonus feature, you also get to enjoy some music until the power gets back on. This emergency radio is perfect for these situations.
9. Surge Protector
Aside from taking care of yourself and your family, it’s also important to protect electronic devices in your home that can be damaged when the power goes out. Normally, the sudden loss of power isn’t something to be concerned about, but sometimes the grid blinks on and off repeatedly. This flickering effect can send a surge of power that will essentially destroy common household electronics. If you want to avoid that, it’s highly recommended to purchase a surge protector like this reliable model on Amazon.
10. Fire Extinguisher
With the help of a fire extinguisher, you can enjoy some peace of mind during a complete power blackout. There could be a serious risk of starting a fire if you or members of your family use lit candles carelessly. Emergency services like firefighters might be busier than usual during power outages. It’s best to be prepared and stop any small flame before it breaks out into an out-of-control fire. A fire blanket is also useful to have and can fulfill a similar purpose.
What if a power outage happens when you’re working from home and you don’t want to suddenly lose your current project? Thanks to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), you will be able to get rid of this worry. This device lets you keep using a PC or another item like an external hard drive even after the power goes out. The battery backup won’t work for a long time but it should be enough to allow you to save your work and power off the computer. You can also buy a UPS for a modem, router, or another small device that you need to keep functioning during a power failure. Here’s an advanced UPS system.
12. Board Games and Playing Cards
Many people tend to focus on the emergency survival aspects of a power outage and overlook other aspects such as entertainment. It’s important to remember that no electricity automatically means no working TVs, PCs, or Wi-Fi. Therefore, it can be a good opportunity to make use of some old-fashioned ways to pass the time until the power comes back on. Make sure you get your hands on some fun board games such as Dixit and Catan. Even some simple card games can enliven the power outage atmosphere.