Top 10 Ways To Prepare For A Power Outage
How To Be Prepared For A Blackout!
Whether it's Summer: Hurricane & Tornado Season, Winter: Blizzards & Ice Storms, Earthquakes, Wildfires, A Zombie Apocalypse, or any other time of the year.....The power can go out!
Here's a Top 10 List of things to have, in case the power goes out. This article highlights the most important items you should own, so you're not left in the dark and without the means. Survival is the key! Rations & Supplies! The important & relevant info needed! *This page is overflowing with the top 10 items you'll need, as well as some other optional items. There are also a lot of very detailed pointers as it pertains to emergency situations.
*Winter is almost upon us... Snow covered branches taking out powerlines, Ice storms and Blizzard conditions keeping us indoors are only a few reason to be prepared for a possible blackout...
Grab a piece of paper(if you want) and make a checklist for yourself of what items you need and what you already have, while you read through this page....
Make A Check List!
Make A List of What You Have & What You Need!
The absolute essential juice for your electronics!
You should always have a nice surplus of batteries on hand. Batteries of every kind.
Double AA's, Triple AAA's, C's, D's, 9 Volts & in some cases, watch batteries. The majority of emergency electronics use these types of batteries. You're less likely going to need 9 volts & watch batteries. My only need for 9 Volt batteries are for my smoke & carbon monoxide alarms. Watch batteries are generally used, more so, in hearing aids and you guessed it.....watches.
Next up: Some items that use batteries........
Do You Keep A Good Supply of Batteries On Hand?
No Batteries = No Power = No Fun!
Be Prepared For A Power Outage!
Whether or not the power goes out in the daytime or nighttime, it's best to be prepared if the power is still out at night! We need light, that's what sets us apart from the savages. The caveman days are over! Flashlights & Candles are your best bet for light sources.....
*That's a picture of the majority of the flashlights that I own(minus a few). If you'd like to know more about the flashlights that I own and recommend, here is another article I put together: My Top 5 Favorite Flashlights & Why I Love 'Em!
Flashlights are the safest approach to supplying light. Rather than using flame, like candles do, you're using batteries. You need to make sure your flashlights are LED as to not consume all your batteries that you have in surplus. Not only should they be LED's because they're long lasting in regards to their bulbs & battery life. But also because of their quality of light, nice and bright. As I said before, flashlights are better than candles because of safety concerns. You're not going to burn your house down with a flashlight.
*I always carry a flashlight with me when it's nighttime or even when it's close to being dark out. It's always in my pocket. It's definitely come in handy a number of times when the power goes out. People are always shocked when I have my flashlight ready so quick.
The best flashlight to have in your arsenal is a headlamp. Most importantly because you can see where you're going and you can have both hands free and still see what you're doing in low light or no light situations.
This is the headlamp I own and use on a regular basis:
It's water resistant, takes 3 AAA's(Which come with it) and is extremely functional.
This is the best LED Lantern on the market, hands down!
Do You Own More Than One Flashlight?
Candles - Flame & Flameless Candles
Candles are cheaper than flashlights. You could buy more candles, for less, than you could buy flashlights & batteries. You should obviously exercise caution when using candles. Make sure you turn them off when you call it a night. Also you'll need to buy matches or lighters to use your candles.
If you're worried about the dangers of having a candle running by means fire, then you might want to get some great long lasting flameless candles. Flameless candles are widely popular and are constantly being made better, to last longer, using even solar power to run them on top of battery powered ones. They even make scented flameless candles.
Flameless Candles On Amazon
Still don't know what flameless candles are? Check them out and you'll see why flames are out!
When The Power Goes Out, Do You Use Candles?
Do You Own Flameless Candles?
Matches & Lighters
You'll need matches &/or lighters for your candles or for your cooking needs, to light your stove if it uses electricity to spark the gas. So make sure you have some matches or a lighter.
You're best bet with a lighter is to try to get one of those long ones in case you can't reach your hand inside a glass jar that holds your candle. As well as to reach any other small, narrow areas to light something and to not burn your fingers doing so.
Do You Have Matches And/Or Lighters?
Matches & Lighters
Since the beginning of time.... Man has needed fire to survive!
There are 3 different types of radios you should have in your supply arsenal.:
A. Weather Radio:
Maybe the power went out due to a storm. In which case there could be more coming.
So you'd better listen to see what's on the horizon.
B. Fire/Police/EMS Scanner:
Buying a scanner would be a wise investment also. You can listen to your local emergency stations to hear the progress of downed power lines or other emergencies that could be happening. There are plenty of websites online to get all the frequencies you'll need, to enter into your new scanner. You could even see about getting a CB Radio so you can communicate with other people that have one as well. I own a Bearcat Uniden BC-95XLT 200 Channel Portable Scanner. They don't sell it anymore, they have a newer version because I bought mine back in 2006-7.
C. Regular AM/FM Radio:
Use the regular radio for entertainment purposes. Also local tv stations sometimes have their own channel/frequency. So you can listen to the local news and weather as well as some tv shows that are playing. lol You'll be listening to a show like the generations before us used to. When they used to listen to radio shows when there were no tv's.
*Here's a highly rated emergency weather radio, as well as regular radio. It can be powered by solar, hand crank, from your computer by means of USB or plugged into the wall. It can also charge your cellphone and has a built in flashlight: The Perfect Emergency Radio
Do You Own A Weather Radio?
Do You Own A Police/Fire/EMS Scanner?
The police, fire & ems are on the frontlines of emergencies! You might want to hear what's going on with a scanner. I listen to my scanner a lot and I especially turn it on when the sirens in town start wailing!
Did you know that when a siren goes off, generally, the amount of times it keeps going, represents how dangerous a situation is, that requires more serious notice.
Police Scanners On Ebay
Ebay is a good place to check for scanners but also be careful, some scanners can't be owned, don't buy an illegal one. Also, you could try getting a CB.
Do You Own A Portable Radio?
Radios are becoming more and more portable but not many people have thought about getting one before an emergency strikes.
#4. Emergency Generator
#4. Emergency Generator:
Why worry about needing a lot of batteries and the loss of power, when you can hunker in your bunker, in style. Less need for candles or flashlights. Buy some extra long cords so you can hook up your (faraway) top electronics. There are so many portable generators on the market today, to choose from. Their designs and functionality are constantly getting better. They make some quieter ones now! Companies keep making progress in lowering sound pollution, so try and look for a quiet one.
Generators give off a lot of carbon monoxide, due to the fact that they consume gas to supply power. It's the same principle as a car sitting inside your garage with a running engine, a garage that is located inside your house. It's deadly to have a generator running inside your house! You should definitely have it running outside!
If for some chance you decide to have it running inside your house, then you'd better make sure all the windows and doors are open - you need sufficient air flow & circulation. It doesn't take long for the hazardous gas to build up and cause dizzyness, fatigue & light-headedness....the last stage is passing out & inevitably, death! I would strongly advise against running it inside your house or basement.
Too many people die from carbon monoxide! Make sure your alarms are working, test them once a month, or be extra diligent and test them every 2 weeks.
That smoke & carbon monoxide detector is great because it plugs into the wall socket to provide it with electricity. It also takes a 9 Volt battery so that when the power to your house is running, it's using the electricity and then when the power goes out, the battery kicks in to power it. You'll still want to test the battery though, because if the power goes out and the battery is dead, then it won't work. That detector can be bought one at a time or be bought in a 6-Pack version.
You can never have to many smoke & carbon monoxide detectors! You should have at least one on every floor of your house...the basement(where your furnace & boilers are), the first floor(where your kitchen is) and the 2nd floor(where you possibly sleep), of course if you have a second floor. So please be careful when running an emergency generator!
Generators can be expensive but, I think they're worth it!
Do You Have An Emergency Generator?
There are other ways to get power, rather than just a portable generator, that takes gas. There are portable generators that can store electricity by plugging it into a wall and charging it so then when the power goes out you have it. Also, you can get solar panels! We need to stop our dependence on the oil & gas companies and then they will stop their planet destroying ways with demand being lower. They need to change their name tags and put on a different hat!
Emergency Generators On Ebay
Emergency generators are a great item to check on eBay and hopefully the seller will be trustworthy and not bamboozle you with a faulty one. The shipping might be high though, unless you can find someone close and go to get it/check it out. Maybe even check Craigslist or online classifieds for your area.
You'll need gas for that generator! So stock up on gas cans and fill them with gas. If the power is out you might not be able to get to the station to get some gas. Especially if it's a storm related power outage. You don't want to brave the elements unless you absolutely have to, for safety reasons. Conserve the gas just in case the power is going to be out for awhile.
One thing you want to keep in mind for storing gas cans is that when the temperature gets really hot, the cans will expand and can be highly volatile & dangerous. They can explode!
Even the empty cans can explode! Exercise caution in keeping reserve gasoline on hand. The fumes given off can be dangerous as well. Store your extra gasoline in the safest way possible.
*Thanks to Nancy Carol for this helpful addition.*
Another helpful item, that runs on gasoline, that you might want to buy is a Chainsaw.
There might be some trees that have fallen, if it's a weather related power outage. A tree may have fallen in an area that you need to get to, on a road or even on your car! So you might want to cut it up and get it moved out of the way. Becareful when cutting up a tree. Be mindful of how you're cutting it and be mindful of your surroundings.
You should exercise extreme caution when taking care of any downed trees, Especially if they have taken down power lines! The power lines might still be running. It's best not to touch them and you should call 911, your local police department & they or you can call the power company to let them know the situation.
*Thanks to a user named "Stratergy" for this helpful addition.*
Do You Keep Extra Gas On Hand?
If a tree falls down and blocks the road or if you need to cut something heavy duty, you need a chainsaw! Don't forget to protect your eyes and to mind your limbs during the cutting. If you've never used a chainsaw, I would recommend becoming acquainted with using one, before using it in an emergency!
#6. Food & Water
#6. Food & Water:
Obviously the most essential! You can't survive without food & water. Especially water. If you go 3 days without drinking water, it's simple, you die.
You should buy packages of bottled water. If there is a catastrophe from a storm or of other epic proportions..... then the city you live in, their water supply could be polluted.
As far as food supplies go, you should get food that will last. Canned goods are your best shot, or package sealed foods. Make sure you pay attention to what canned goods you get, as far as how to open them. Some cans come with pop tops, some don't. If you buy canned goods make sure you have a handheld can opener. Otherwise you'd be, dangerously, opening the can with a knife and that's not a good idea. Which could result in, unfortunately making you use the next item on the list..........
*One more key thing to remember is that canned food and bottled water have an average expiration date of a year to a year and a half, from the date you buy it. Be sure to check the dates.
Do You Keep A Supply Of Water Bottles?
The picture above is a product they sell on Amazon, Wise makes it. Someone I know buys it and really likes it. He takes it on hikes & outdoor excursions.
Regular store bought food can only last so long. There are other food alternatives you can buy. There are containers of ration type emergency food that you can buy that will last longer and is specially designed. They are individually packaged and split into servings. These packaged meals are perfect for camping or traveling.
They even make food available, to civilians, that soldiers eat. They're called MRE's. You can buy them in a bulk or you can even by singles(which works out great so you can see if you like the taste of a certain brand). They even have pouches of specialty food available like dessert. There's a company called Mountain House who sell pouches of Ice Cream Sandwiches in MRE style. Yum!
Who says you have to eat packaged food that might taste bad, too plain or just generic!?! You Don't! They make a lot of really good quality tasting food that lasts! Even Desserts!
Do You Keep A Supply Of Emergency Food!
Food can be hard to come by if the stores are raided or if you can't even make it to them! Stock up before it's too late....
How To Cook Without A Stove - Portable Cookers
Most ovens or stoves these days are electric. So if the power goes out you won't be able to cook any of the food that you would like to. If your stove is gas then you might be alright because all you would have to do is light the gas with a lighter if your stove won't spark the gas do to using an electric ignition. Some of the old gas stoves still use pilot lights and can light the gas without having to use a lighter.
But if you find yourself without a working stove because of those reasons or you just don't have one, then you can buy a portable cooker. Portable cookers are an inexpensive way to heat up your meals that require heat. One of the top uses for a portable cooker is for camping. Many campers use portable cookers. Some work with your campfire and some work without a campfire. There are many types of portable cookers that use different heat sources. Some use propane, others use butane and of course there are ones that use charcoal, basic barbecue type cookers.
Have You Ever Used A Portable Cooker?
#7. Emergency First Aid Kit
#7. Emergency First Aid Kit
You should already have one of these in your house & your car, always. Bandages, medicine for pain, etc. Emergency personnel in your area could be very busy during a blackout so it's best not to risk getting hurt. Especially if you're without means of contact. Home phones nowadays are digital. They require electricity to be operational. Which brings us to our next item.........
Do You Have Emergency Kits In Your Car & Your House?
Emergency First Aid Kits
Whether you get cut, or in a kids terminology, a boo boo! then you need to have the necessary tools on hand to take care of it.
#8. Phones, Electronics & Adapters:
A lot of people use cellphones as their main housephones now. Why pay for 2 phones, home & cell, when you can just use the cellphone when you're home. In the past, before digital phone, home phones could be used without electricity. The only way they wouldn't work is if the phone lines are down completely or turned off for repair. So you should easily be able to call friends & family or for an emergency, on your cellphone.
If you're without the means of electricity for long, then you're phone battery will die, obviously. If you're also without means of an emergency generator then you can't charge it. So you're next best thing to do is......make sure you have a car charger for your phone, so you can charge your phone in your car and you're good to go! Same goes for your other electronics. Computers, tablets, etc.
#8. Phones, Electronics & Adapters
Do You Charge Your Phone In Your Car?
Phone Car Chargers
Did you forget to charge your phone? Well there's no time, we have to go! If you have a car charger then you can charge it on your way, to where ever you're going.
Cold Hard Cash! You'd better keep some on hand. If the power is out, chances are that the stores power is out too. You won't be able to use your ATM or credit cards. You don't have the means if you don't have the greens! Quick & Simple!
Do You Keep Extra Cash In Your House For Emergencies?
Games & Activities. Whatever games you and your family or friends like to play.
Charades, board games, card games, more!
The power is out, so no one can say they're busy on the computer or etc.
Talk, hang out & just have fun waiting for the power to come back on.
Have You Ever Played Charades?
Games To Play When The Power Goes Out
Comedy and it's effect, laughter, are the best relief to keep your mind off of the recent tragic events of an emergency or to just keep you from being bored and to pass the time in between the darkness and light!
Helpful Tips About Your Gas & Electric Heaters
Water & Home Warming Heaters
Some more helpful hints to prepare you for a power outage are:
Find out if your water heater and regular house heaters are gas or electric?
If it's electric, and the power goes out, then you're water is not going to get warm. So much for washing your hands with warm water and taking a shower!
If your heaters are electric, then you're also not going to be able to keep warm in the winter if an ice storm knocks out the power. If you're heaters are gas then you should be all set.
*Also if your water supply to your house is by means of a well, those are usually pumped by electricity. So that won't work either. Which means you'll have to buy even more water bottles to stock up on. Furthermore, if you flush the toilets or run the water and run out of the water in your tank or pipes before the well can be pumped with electricity....then your toilet and water faucets will sputter and not stop, due to air in the pipes, etc.
Ok I hope you take this advice, on what to stock up on, in the event the power goes out.
When the power goes out, it makes you grateful & appreciative for when it's on. It makes you appreciate the finer things in life. That anything you have or someone you know could be gone at any moment. So remember to be prepared for the worst and make the best, with what you've got!
Do You Use A Well As Your Main Water Source?
How To Go To The Bathroom Without Running Water Or Electricity
If the power goes out and the water supplied to your house is by means of a well. Then you're not going to be able to flush the toilet, due to the lack of electricity not being able to pump the well water. You'd best not use the toilet for relieving yourself of excess fluids. Seeing as how it's just going to sit there and smell, it's not pretty!
They sell portable toilets that can be used for virtually anytime that you're not able to use a regular toilet. Like when you're camping or in this case when there's a power outage and your house uses well water. Not to mention, if your town's water supply is shut off due to a water main break, which seems to happen a lot in my town, then you can't flush the toilet. So look into some portable toilet products if you use a well, want to be prepared for a town water shut off or for your camping trips.....
*Thanks to Barbara Casey for this helpful addition.*
Human excess waste from bodily functions is not pretty if not removed properly. Don't forget to maintain your septic tank if you don't use a sewer for removal! I know how bad that mess can be! It's not fun to clean, but if you ever have to, make sure you use protective wear. Goggles, a breathing mask, gloves and clothes to either throw away or to keep clean while cleaning up the mess.
Are You Prepared If The Power Goes Out For Awhile?
How To Stay Cool In The Summer & Warm In The Winter
Cooling & Warming Stations
Whether the power goes out in the frigid cold temperatures of Winter or the broiling heat of Summer, here is a helpful way to beat the heat or scold the cold!
Warming & Cooling Centers:
If it gets really bad and you can't make it through the power outages without freezing from the cold or exhausting from the heat then you need to find a cooling or warming station. Most towns or cities local Fire Houses or Community Centers will offer a place of sanctuary to ride out the blackouts. So call your local city's office buildings or police station and see if they have a station setup that you can go to.
They'll usually offer free drinks and snacks to pass the time, as well as friendly conversation. They generally have their own emergency power so they can run all of their vital necessities. More people than you think will most likely show up to keep warm or cool. So you shouldn't be too bored either with everything that's going on. It's just another helpful hint to keep the light going while you wait out the dark.
Don't go by just what I have to say! I've tried to cover everything and will continue to update this page with information that needs to be addressed. Be sure and learn all you can......
Preventing A Power Surge
Fusebox & Surge Protectors
2 helpful hints to safeguard your electronics before &/or after, the power goes out:
A lot of times when the power goes out or tries to come back on, after a power outage, our electronics start to turn on or off and this can damage them. You should have your expensive and important electronics hooked up to a surge protector. Just don't hook up a lot of thigns to one surge protector, be sure and check the wattage and volts restrictions for the surge protectors.
When the power goes out you should go down to your fuse box/electrical box and shut it off. This will stop any surges or quick on offs associated with power outages. But then how will you know if the power has come back on? If it's nighttime, then you can see if the streetlights are on. If it's the daytime, you could always keep one fuse running that powers a lightbulb or other electronic in a certain area of your house but just shut off all the most important electronic ones etc.
Use extreme caution & becareful when doing anything with your electrical box/ fuse box, you don't want to be electrocuted and/or die. If you don't feel safe doing anything to your box then by all means call an electrician to walk you through it. You should never touch the wires leading in or out of the box, only touch the black bars, that go left or right when moved, which shut off or turn on the power to certain ares of your house.
Books To Read
Another great way to pass the time is by reading a book, in paper form or by using a tablet or e-reader. Just remember the electronics need power and the books need light!
Reader's Comments On Their Own Power Outage Woes!
Viewers Suggestions, Comments & Preparation Tips
A helpful viewer & great article writer herself, "Tipi", suggested that I showcase some comments that people have left for this article. Which in turn, helps people read first hand horror stories, or helpful hints, that should hopefully highlight to you that you shouldn't be unprepared for a power outage/blackout.
User "GrannySage" writes:
"We are the worst prepared people on the planet. We just went through a 4 day power outage. We live in an RV and the lightening hit the transformer in our campground. We couldn't find where we stored the candles in the under . We did have flashlights but the radio was out of batteries. We did not have enough gas in the RV to run our generator and no money to put any in. Finally someone sent us some money so at least we didn't lose all of our food in the refrigerator, which would have run on propane but we didn't have any of that either. I felt stupid...won't let it catch us unprepared again."
"We had 4 days without power after Hurricane Charlie. It's good to be prepared with food that doesn't have to be refrigerated or cooked."
"Best recommendation is to have a supply of medications you might need (at least two weeks) as well as a copy of your phone book in case your phone dies and you need to check in with family. If you want to be overly prepared, a back-up of your credit card numbers and bank account numbers will allow you to make purchases even if you don't have the cards and you run out of cash. In the past you only needed to be prepared for a couple of days, now we are seeing emergencies lasting for as long as 2-3 weeks."
"Having lived in California we experienced earthquakes and fires, we experienced a two week power outage when we lived in Missouri during a winter snow and ice storm, as well as a Tornado...Now living in Wisconsin we have had a 100 year flood and a windstorm that brought down trees all over town that it looked like a war zone. We have learned from all these experiences and keep ourselves supplied with necessities. DON'T FORGET your pets, they need food and water as well. It was hard when we had horses because you could not go and check on them, but I normally was prepared for the situations....stay safe!"
"My nephew was a firefighter and he is very careful to warn people against using candles, at any time. Fire is dangerous and it doesn't take much for it to get away. Get LED portable lights - they last and provide a safe source of light. If you need warmth, get blankets. And have foods available that don't need to be heated."
"If you know a storm is coming, make sure that you're stocked up on any medications you take regularly. Blankets are great for lots of purposes, and it's helpful to have coolers to be able to utilize at least some of your refrigerated food before it goes bad. I've been through 3 hurricanes, so I've learned from experience."
Mary Stephenson writes:
"When I was a kid the snow storms would result in power outage and it would also mean we had no running water. Had to use the outhouse when we lost power. Nasty in the wintertime! My folks always had flashlights and lanterns handy. We had an oil stove and a wood stove, so we were never cold. Had no TV so other than harder to read with candles and lanterns, life wasn't much different. When I have an outage, which is not very often, I keep forgetting that I can't do this or I can't do that. Everything we do depends so much on electricity it can really stop progress."
"The fires in Canberra in 2003 left me in total darkness in early afternoon. That taught me to be prepared but over time one forgets and this is a great reminder to upgrade some of my emergency equipment."
*I will continue to add helpful & interesting comments left by viewers, so that they don't get buried in the comments section.
This article gets updated every so often, so you might want to bookmark it*
Do You Use Surge Protectors?
Have You Ever Been In A Hurricane?
Have You Ever Been In A Tornado?
Have You Ever Felt An Earthquake?
Have You Ever Been In The Path Of A Wildfire?
Emergency Items & Kits Make Great Gift Ideas!
All of these emergency supplies, kits, electronics items make perfect gifts. Why not buy some and put them aside for your loved ones, so that they stay safe for any time of year when the power goes out or disaster strikes. I've bought family members safety items, like something as simple as a firebox to keep all your pertinent information in, to keep them safe - birth certificates, deeds, paperwork, money, etc. Another great idea is to have a safety kit in your car!
Power Outages On Youtube
Do you have any interesting stories of when the power has gone out before?
What type of games do you play when the power goes out?