We get a lot of power outages in our area so we have to be prepared all of the time to be out of power at least for the night if not for the weekend.

Preparedness Habits

Having a kit is well and good, but daily habits can do even more to ensure you’re not caught with your pants down when the lights go out.

  • Keep your gas tank full. If your power is out, your gas station might be out too. Keep your tank full, refilling at a half tank instead of waiting for it to be empty. You may need your car for light, heat or transportation to a safer area, or the nearest takeout restaurant. You’ll also need to charge your phone and your car will help with that. It may or may not need to be turned on for that.
  • Stock up when you go grocery shopping. Shopping for a week or two at a time means that you’re more likely to have supplies on hand, even if you don’t have an intentional stockpile.
  • Unplug your electronics when they are not in use. Not only does this save you money on your electric bill, it protects those electronics from power surges when your electricity goes wonky.
  • Keep up with the chores. I know. It’s hard. But what’s really hard is trying to sort out the complete lack of underwear situation in the dark, with no running water and no working machines.
  • Learn to love your clothesline and other low tech goodies. I love drying laundry on the line so when the dryer isn’t working I’m perfectly happy. I don’t like handwashing though and trying to rescue the laundry from a washing machine that quit in midcycle is also not fun. We also will use any excuse to grill.
  • Keep a flashlight in every room. I like to have one tucked into the top shelf of every closet and one in each bathroom cabinet. I also have a solar-powered lantern sitting in my kitchen window getting charged, all the time. Of course, I use it pretty regularly to check on the beasties at night too.

Preparedness Kits

I am not going to address emergency generators because I don’t know anything about them. My plan is to win the lottery and hire an electrition to handle that for me one day. In the meantime, I am pretty good at living without electricity. What you need is light, heat, food you don’t have to cook, water, and a way to heat water so you can cook food anyway.

Item Quantity Purpose
Charcoal 2 bags It’s grilling time
Flashlight 1 per person So you can see in the dark. Of course, you should have a flashlight stashed in every room. I stash one in the top of each closet in a little one in the bathroom cabinets.
Water 2 gallons per person For drinking
Sterno cans 2 For cooking or heating if necessary.
Canned baked beans 1 serving per person When I say 4 servings, I don’t mean to go by the servings on the container. Go by how much you know your people are going to eat. Its not a satisfying lunch by itself, but my boys like it for a snack.
Canned ravioli 1 serving per person Everyone in my family can eat a can of ravioli by themselves, so four servings is 4 cans for us.
Canned fruit 1 can per person For dessert, after the ravioli.
Canned sardines 4 We love sardines and crackers as a snack, but if you think its gross, don’t buy it!
Box of crackers 1 box Crackers are good with soup, sardines or tuna or peanut butter and jelly. They only stay good for about 6 months though, so update these frequently.
Peanut Butter 1 jar Also good with crackers. Or eat it by the spoonful.
Granola bars, breakfast bars or energy bars 3 per person These are good for breakfasts and snacks.
Vegetable Soup (not condensed) 1 serving per person This can be eaten hot or cold for lunch.
Instant Coffee 4 servings per person My husband does not function without coffee.
Canned or shelf stable milk 4 servings per person The kids like milk, you may also want it for your coffee.
Cereal 2 servings per person You could use the individual serving containers or just get a couple of big boxes. Cereal with shelf-stable milk is a satisfying snack that doesn’t require heating up. Cereal doesn’t last forever though, so switch it out every few months.
Instant Ramen 2 per person Just boil water on your sterno heaters and pour over your cup o’ ramen for a tolerable lunch
Hot hands Box of 40 If the power goes out in winter, you will need a safe heating alternative.
Wool Socks 1 pair per person An extra pair of socks you don’t have to go searching for in the dark might be welcome.
Baby wipes 1 box per 2 people We’ve got a little bit of water that stores in a bladder in our basement but once that runs out we are out till the power comes back on. Baby wipes for cleaning peoples.
Disinfectant Wipes 1 canister per 2 people For cleaning surfaces when there’s no water.
Hand sanitizer 2 large bottles, 4 to six travel sized Hand washing is best, but when you can’t wash your hands, sanitizer is the next best thing. Keep the little ones in your pocket.
Green beans 1 can per 2 people As a side with your ravioli.
Fruit cocktail 1 serving per person For dessert or breakfast
Can Opener 1 Your canned food won’t do you any good if you can’t open it.
Extra batteries 6 of several sizes In case your flashlights and such stop working.
Electric Company Information Sheet It isn’t easy to look up the power company’s number when the power is out. Keep all that information in your power out kit.
Plastic sheeting or tarps 4 If the power goes out in the winter and you need to heat a small space, you can insulate it with plastic sheeting or tarps so that it takes less energy. Be safe.
A battery powered radio 1 So you can listen for updates or just for entertainment.
Matches 2 packs For lighting fires, and candles
Candles a dozen or so I find votives make the most sense. They come with their own holder and they can be used as a heat source as well. A very small heat source, granted.
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