Several years ago, my family was living in Huntsville, Alabama when a hoard of tornadoes passed through, leaving behind a wake of damage.
We were fortunate, as our side of town didn’t receive damage, but we were left without power for nearly a week. Please don’t take that as a complaint.
I was grateful that our friends and family were all okay and that our house was still standing. But I did learn a thing or two about that experience that I’ll share in the hopes that it may help someone else.
I now have an emergency kit, a large Rubbermaid container where I store everything that I may someday need during a power outage, whether that would be a tornado, a severe thunderstorm, ice storm or blown transformer due to any other act of God.
10 Things to Keep on Hand for a Power Outage
1. Keep enough gas in your car that if you need to leave the area, and are able to, you can. Don’t assume that your local gas stations will be open or accessible.
2. Keep canned food on hand for emergencies. Preferably something that can be eaten as is, straight out of a can. Even if you don’t make it a habit to eat processed food- let’s face it- the shelf life for a can of Ravioli is a lot longer than organic fruit. I also have a camp stove with fuel that has come in handy more times than I care to count.
3. We were fortunate to have water throughout our power outage, but it’s wise to have a minimum of several gallons of water on hand at all times.
4. Keep emergency cash on hand. Bank accounts are nice, but if your area loses power, you can’t touch your money- even with an ATM (unless they DO have power). And, if businesses can’t process credit cards, chances are they will insist on cash.
5. An old fashioned radio may be your only lifeline to the outside world. Make sure you have a working radio and once again, make sure you have the proper batteries.
6. Candles are not only useful for making your home smell good- they certainly come in handy when the lights go out. Keep some unscented, long burning candles on hand with matches somewhere you can find them. Have a stockpile of flashlights with working batteries- and a supply of extra batteries.
7. Car chargers for your cell phones are very helpful. If the power goes out, you won’t be able to use your home phone (if you even have one these days). There’s also no guarantee that your cell phone will work, but if it does, you will want to make sure that it continues to work. Depending on its strength, a power inverter for your car can also charge cell phones, run laptops, power TV’s or portable fans or heaters.
8. You should have a first aid kit with a minimum of Tylenol, Polysporin, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sterile bandages, and cold packs.
9. Keep a few extras of anything you wouldn’t want to be without. Think necessities. Can you make it through a week without your medication? How about diapers or toilet paper, assuming you have water and access to facilities?
10. Finally, if you ever needed a reason to keep up on your laundry, this is it. What would happen if you had no clean clothes and weren’t able to do any laundry for a week or longer? Not that I would know or anything.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were without power for several days? What tips and recommendations can you add to the list?