There has been a lot of buzz around electricity lately. I’ve seen multiple news sources, including my own locally, reporting on it. As I mentioned to someone on Instagram, this cannot be just a happy coincidence. Michigan has never experienced rolling blackouts in my lifetime (30+years) so this is a whole new territory for us. All I can think of is the episode of criminal minds where the killer strikes each time during the blackout so there is nothing the people can do about it. Yikes. I don’t think anything that extreme will happen but I do think it is possible we could see some blackouts. Even if we don’t, power outages can happen from storms and other weather events so they are worth being prepared for. Here are 10 power outage essentials to help you through!
Emergency Weather Radio
This is one of those things that you should have in your preps for all different kinds of situations, but it’s essential for power outages. It’s particularly important when the power goes out because you may not be able to charge your phone to be able to see what is going on and, obviously, you can’t turn on the TV either. This will help keep you updated about what could possibly be coming your way and how to best prepare yourselves at that moment.
Flashlights & Batteries
I feel like this one is a no-brainer here but I’m going to mention it regardless. Have plenty of flashlights and batteries stocked on hand. Sure, you can have candles too but taking a candle outside isn’t going to work nearly as well as having a nice flashlight. As a stocking stuffer one year our parents got us flashlights that automatically turn on in the event of a power outage. They are plugged into the wall at all times so they are constantly charged. As soon as the power goes out they flip on so we are still able to see where we are going. I’ve used them a few times when the weather knocked our power out and they have been highly useful. I would definitely recommend them!
If the power is only out for a few hours you might be just fine without water. However, if it’s out for any length of time you are, most likely, going to need something. This can be as simple as having some gallons or bottles on hand. Or you could choose to set up a rainwater collection system that ensures you have a larger amount of water on hand. What you do and what you need is going to be based on your family’s needs. For instance, we will need water for ourselves but we’ll also need water for our animals too. I explored water options pretty in depth in this blog post so check that out for more ideas.
Food & Food Preparation Tools
Best case scenario for food is that you have things on hand that don’t need to be cooked. This would be more of your canned or boxed items. Worst case scenario is that you need an alternate method to cook on. If your home runs on propane or natural gas you are good to go. However, if you have an electric stove you will, obviously, be out of luck. It’s good to have at least a small grill on hand so that you have something to cook on but even having the tools to cook over a fire will come in handy. I’ve written several other posts about food supply so you can refer to those to get a better idea of what to have on hand.
Manual Can Opener
I realize I put food and food preparation already but this one is so important it deserves it’s own bullet point. A manual can opener, folks. If you are like me, this is what you use in your kitchen all of the time so you should be fine. However, there are a lot of people out there that use the electric ones and that won’t do you any good in a power outage. Sure, you could struggle and try to stab through the cans of food but who wants to do that.
First Aid Kit
At the very minimum, you should have a first aid kit on hand. Think of that killer running around. If something happens you may not have a phone to be able to call someone. Now, you may not be able to save someone who has been stabbed but you would be able treat at least some minor injuries. I have another post on first aid supplies to stock up on and you can choose to take this as far as you want. For just a simple power outage a small first aid kit will definitely suffice.
Portable Phone Chargers
These are another great stocking stuffer idea! Don’t you love how I’m thinking of Christmas in May?! Anyways, these are a great item to have on hand in case of a power outage. I actually have several of these and utilized them a bunch when I was traveling internationally. Sometimes I couldn’t get to a place where there was an outlet to charge my phone so it was a quick easy way to make sure I still had service. These come in all shapes and sizes so they can keep your phone running for a long time. The other thing to note here is that you can also get solar chargers for your phone. This may work well if it is warm and sunny where you are but I’d first invest in the power banks.
Seasonality will matter here because in the middle of summer in TX you probably won’t need a sleeping bag. For the situations that we are discussing now (rolling summer blackouts) you probably won’t need a sleeping bag. However, they are good to have on hand should your power go out when it’s cold. Since this post is strictly on power outages it’s definitely worth including. Extra blankets will also work in a pinch.
I hate to say it but if there is no power that means no showers. I can’t imagine not showering in the middle of summer. Thankfully, we could jump in our pool (as long as we can somehow keep it clean) and that would help. However, it’s good to have some hygiene items on hand. I like to keep baby wipes around for this purpose. At least you can wipe off all the grime and sweat from the day before. It might also be helpful to keep some hand sanitizer too because you may not be able to wash your hands either- yuck!
Flashlights are perfect because they will help you see outside and while you are walking. Candles and sternos will help you keep light for a longer amount of time though. This will make it so that you aren’t trying to hold a flashlight while also trying to prepare food. We don’t use candles in our home due to toxins but I do keep a bunch on hand just in case. I’d rather be able to see and be breathing some toxins than to be completely in the dark for long periods of time.
Of course we have to include some bonus items:
- Books (the paper kind, not electronic)
- Medications (these could be essential, depending on what they are)
- Buckets (for hauling water)
- Fire Extinguisher (if you can’t call someone, you need to have the supplies to handle it)
- Glow Sticks (extra bonus because they are fun for kids)
- Battery Operated or Solar Lantern
In Summary: Power Outage Essentials
Even just a good storm will knock out the power and can make some of these supplies useful. I remember one Christmas when a freak ice storm knocked out the power at my parent’s house. It was almost a disastrous Christmas! Thankfully, my dad had gotten the house ready for a generator so they went and bought one right away. Christmas was saved! You just never know when power will go out and, even worse than being hot or cold, it would be horrible to lose everything in the refrigerator/freezer every time.
Have you lost power at an inconvenient time? How did you recover?