Whether you’re off the grid, waiting out a storm or navigating your way through a catastrophic disaster, having what you need during a power outage is very important. Being properly prepared can turn a sometimes annoying and scary situation into a fun adventure. If you live in an area where the power goes out often or are one of those people who expect the unexpected, it’s a good idea to designate a drawer in your kitchen or a box in the hallway closet for easy access with some of the following items.
Power Outage Checklist
- Light. Some items you’ll want around are flashlights, candles, matches, lighters, and extra batteries for the flashlight. If kids are in the house, no lights can be scary. Try and find ways to make it fun. Throw a few packs of glow sticks in the emergency box and make it a party!
- Radio. No blackout party is complete without music to shake the glowsticks to. Be sure to have a self-powered radio/mp3 player around so you can keep informed about what’s happening on the outside and bump some tunes when things get boring.
- Games. Board games and card games are a great way to keep you and your friends, families and roommates sane when the hours start to drag on. No board games? How about a fun drinking game like I Never or an old fashioned game of Truth or Dare? Take advantage of the TV not working and have some meaningful conversations with the people you’re sharing this time with. All alone? A good card game like Solitaire can occupy you for hours!
- First aid kit. Safety is key. You may bump your shin against the coffee table or take a tumble down the stairs as you find your way in the dark. Be sure to have bandages, gauze, tape, hydrogen peroxide, scissors, pain medications, antiseptic ointment, and prescription medications handy, and in one place.
- Food & Water. You’re going to get hungry. Snacks, canned foods, and a can opener are important. A camping stove, a propane tank, a grill and charcoal will come in handy, too. Remember to not open the refrigerator too many times so that the food inside will last longer. If the power has been out for a while and you think the food will spoil, get creative and cook up a feast for you and the neighbors. If you have a cooler, fill it up with ice and store some food in there. It’s always a good idea to have a few gallon jugs of purified water around, too. A gallon per person per day is a good way to go to stay hydrated.
- Communication devices. Your cell phone may run out of power and you’ll want to be able to contact people. It’s a good idea to have an extra cell phone car charger around for these occasions.
- Emergency Contact Information. Have a list of important phone numbers printed out in case your cell phone dies. Put your family, friends and neighbors on it as well as the local fire and police department and power company.
- Money. You may run out of supplies and you’ll want to have some cash around in case the ATMs aren’t working.
- Heat. If you live in a colder climate and you are trying to stay warm, be sure to dress in layers: scarf, gloves, sweatshirts, socks, etc. Body heat and lighting candles will help, too. Block off door way drafts with towels. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, break out the firewood. A portable propane heater will do the trick.
- Sanitation needs. Sometimes when the power goes out, the ability to clean things becomes difficult. Be sure to stock up on some paper plates, paper towels, disposable cups, flatware and garbage bags. Hand sanitizer will help keep everyone healthy. If your house works with a septic tank, you should fill your bathtub up so that you can add water to flush the toilet. Take a look at how your system works in the house you live in and take the proper steps to be prepared.
- Tools. You never know what you’ll need, but it helps to have some tools at your disposal. Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer, duct tape, super glue, sewing kit and bungee cords will help you out in all kinds of predicaments (especially if the power is out for a few days or weeks).
Anything missing? If yes, add it to the comments below!