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Supplies to Have on Hand for a Power Outage

Power outages can be extremely inconvenient and at times scary. Keeping on top of a simple stockpile can help make all the difference when an emergency strikes.

In most cases, a blackout can be temporary. When storms hit, they can knock out the power for a few hours or even a few days. Having supplies on hand can simply help make the time more comfortable and peaceful.

Here are a few tips to help you start gathering the right supplies.

Light from a candle, two flashlights, and an electric lantern surround emergency supplies.

Creating an Emergency Kit

Your emergency kit can include anything you might need in the case of an emergency power outage situation. Some of the best items to stock in your kit include:

  • Extra batteries: Ones that will fit important things in your kit, like flashlights.
  • Spare charging devices: An extra charger that connects to a battery-operated item, like a car or even your phone can be helpful. They also have battery- and solar-powered chargers that would be very handy to have in your kit.
  • Flashlight: Headlamps and solar-powered lamps can also be helpful to have on hand, along with a durable flashlight.
  • Radio: Emergency radios can help you keep updated on the news if your devices run out of power. Often these types of radios have a battery option, as well as a solar charger and hand crank.
  • First-aid supplies: Bandages, wound cleaners and rubbing alcohol can be very helpful for any emergency. A whistle is also a good item in case you need to signal for help.
  • Quick-response food thermometer: If your power goes out, a thermometer can help you know if your refrigerated or frozen foods are still good or need to be thrown out for food safety.
  • Insurance information: It's a good idea to have your insurance information on hand–including copies of your policy and your insurance contact information in case you need to get a claim started.

Spare Food and Water Kit

In a separate, locking plastic bin, you can store food easily for an emergency situation. This can be used to keep your stored food safe from rodents or bugs. Remember to swap out items yearly to avoid stale food and watch the expiration dates on things like crackers and dried fruit. Some of the best things to keep in the bin include nonperishables, like:

  • Ramen noodles
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruit
  • Nut mixes
  • A package of energy or power bars
  • Water flavor packets with electrolytes or vitamins

There are other items that can be kept outside the storage bin if you have additional shelf space. These items are already packaged to stay safe from bugs and rodents:

  • Canned goods (salmon, chicken, soup) and can opener
  • Peanut butter (or another nut butter)
  • Water (bottled and jugs)
  • Bottle of honey
  • Coconut or olive oil

If you want to be really prepared, you may want to stock up on some of these items as well:

  • Styrofoam coolers for longer outages to save food from going bad
  • Lighter and cooking fuel (like charcoal) for a backyard/patio meal
  • Unscented candles for light so you aren't wasting flashlight batteries
  • Cash in case you need to make a purchase and card readers are down
  • Generator–convenient and can prevent food loss during an outage
  • Gasoline for the generator and your car (in case gas stations are down)
  • Entertainment items (playing cards, board game)

Stay Prepared for Better Outcomes

Disaster prep will look different for everyone since different households will have different needs, restrictions or potential challenges. Different areas of the country also have to be prepared for various kinds of weather and types of disasters. Your plan should fit your needs.

For more information on how to stay safe, check you can check out resources made available through the Red Cross or FEMA.

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