No matter where you live, or what size house or apartment you live in, you should be prepared in case the power goes out. Especially if you live in an area prone to extreme weather!
Preparation is the name of the game and can contribute greatly to your survival!
So before the big snowstorm, or the hurricane season, or the tornadoes hit – here are some things to get ready, if you can.
Take into consideration the amount of space you have for storing some of these items, many of them can fit in a large backpack, or plastic storage tub, which would fit into a closet easily enough (and also make it easier to grab and take with you, if you need to evacuate) – so let’s look at the stuff you can pack ahead of time, first:
- a roll of duct tape
- pocket knife
- waterproof matches in a waterproof container and some candles
- paper and pencil
- small fire extinguisher
- two signal flares
- photocopies of: your pets vaccination and license records; any prescriptions for your family and/or pets; your ids (drivers license, passport)
- a bit of cash (you decide how much you can set aside – just know if no power, no atm or ability to run a debit/credit machine.
- a list of shelters/hotels that accept pets
- emergency phone numbers (if your phone battery dies…)
- toilet paper, tissues, sanitary napkins or tampons, diapers, if needed. a roll of poop bags for the doggydoo
- extra leash and collar (if you have dogs)
- manual can opener
- flashlight and extra batteries
- 3 or 4 pair of clean socks (they can be used as mittens, in the cold. Or as potholders, in a pinch – if you are heating something up on a camping stove).
- first-aid kit and antibiotic cream
- if possible, a radio with batteries or hand-crank for power (something like this – click here)
If you have cats, keep your cat carriers with your emergency kit in same place. That way you can grab everything you need and go.
If you are a regular camper, keep your camping stove and camping gear stored with your emergency kit.
Also – if you are staying at your home, having these emergency supplies in one place makes it easier on you and your family.
Now the perishable items:
- Try to keep a 3 day supply of water available. That would be 1 gallon of drinkable water, per person or pet, per day. So 2 adults, 2 children and 1 dog = 5 gallons of water per day, times 3 days = 15 gallons of water. You can buy bottled water, or save plastic gallon containers (washed out of course) and fill when you a preparing for a storm that you know is coming. Another trick to consider is filling those gallon jugs, and setting them outside to freeze (in winter) then using them in your coolers to keep your food cold, if the power is out.
- Check your pantries to be sure you have at least 3 days of non-salty non-perishable foods. You can stock up on canned goods, granola and granola bars, dried fruits, protein bars, nuts and also remember things like peanut butter and crackers. Don’t forget to stock up on baby formula for your baby, and pet food for your pets.
- Make sure that if any of your family has a special dietary requirements, you have enough food to accommodate that.
- When ever you have warning of a weather event on its way, double check your family’s prescriptions to see if they need to be refilled, and do so, that way you won’t be stuck without critical medications!
If the power goes out in winter, designate one room for everyone to “hang out in” and “camp out” there. closing the doors and blocking drafts, put blankets on windows, to conserve the heat in the room. You can leave a south facing window unblocked to get natural light and some warmth of the sun from there, but block it after dark.
If you can afford it, and you live somewhere that the power goes out frequently – you might invest in a generator. There are several small ones that recharge through a regular outlet or car battery or a solar panel (usually special for that generator), but on the plus side there is no gasoline required or loud noise or fumes. You can see a sample of one of these generators here, and its associated solar panel is here.
I know that you all cannot always afford to have all of these items ready and sitting in your closet, but this list can give you a head start on gathering what you DO already have into a single “kit” (plastic storage box or backpack) so you have something ready in an emergency.