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Monday, April 8, 2013

Surviving A Power Outage In Reasonable Comfort

Recent long term power outages the last few years have got me thinking about ways to make life bearable during a power outage. The longest power outage I have experienced was about five days. That was during a blizzard when I was a teenager. I can remember we had a coal burning stove in our kitchen and a wood-burning fireplace in our living room. This was during the Energy Crisis in the 70's. My parents had added the wood burning fire place and coal stove to reduce our energy bills. I can remember the neighbors not having it so easy. They depended on electric heat and did not have a fire place. Of course they were invited to ride the storm out in our home but being that the storm was in full force they did not want to risk venturing out into the storm.
Thinking about the past has reminded me that being prepared can make the difference in  having a tolerable experience or suffering a great deal. Now I ask, "How are we prepared today for a long term power loss?"
Below is a list of preparations we have made or are making as a family to prepare for emergency power outages..

1. A non-electrical heat source. Such as a kerosene, gas or propane heaters.
2. A cooking source. Gas or charcoal grill (for outside use only), portable propane camping stove or canned heat with a folding camp stove. Canned heat can be found in most camping supply stores.
Sterno type.
Single burner folding stove.

3. Several light sources. Flash lights with extra batteries, candles, and oil lamps. You can find a DIY for homemade oil lamps here. Do not forget matches or lighters.
4. Portable energy source if possible. Not necessary but highly recommended. A small portable generator would be nice to have. This would keep your refrigerator and freezer working to save food from spoiling. 
5. A non-perishable food source for at least three days. Canned and dried foods will keep for months or years if stored properly. 
6. A battery operated radio. This may be your only news source for a while if phones are not working.
6. Last but not least some little extras to help pass the time. In a world of electronic gadgets we need to remember with out power our entertainment devises may not remain charged for long. A few new unread books, magazines, and crossword puzzle books are great for personal enjoyment. A board game or two might be great for family fun. For our grandchildren we keep a few new coloring books, crayons, puzzles, and a paint or craft set. These can entertain children for many hours. 

I keep most of these items in a plastic tote. With the exception of our kerosene heater, oil lamps and camp stove that are kept in our utility closet. I have recently added to our emergency tote one large first aid kit, hand sanitizer, wet wipes and a list of emergency contacts. 
How are you prepared for emergencies such as a power outage? Do you have any good advice? 


  1. All great tips!! We kind of have our basement ready .. just in case. I even have a rubbermaid container of extra clothes if we need them.

    1. We also have extra clothing for our grandchildren in case they are stranded with us.

  2. Replies
    1. We are still working on getting a generator. I have been watching for a used one.

  3. Those are great tips and did you mention water jugs. sandie

    1. I did forget to mention water. I believe it should be a gallon of water per person per day. That would be for clean up, drinking and cooking.

  4. Your tips remind me of my back to the land hippie days, when I lived in the mountains in Montana with no electricity or running water for two years. I learned a lot. And of course I was prepared because that was normal life. Now if the power went out or the water shut off, I would not be prepared! Thanks for motivating me to take a look at supplies.

    1. It must have been very interesting to live such an adventure. I should take my grandchildren camping for a few weeks and let them see what it would be like. I can't imagine my grandchildren being comfortable with out their high tech gadgets for very long.

  5. Wow. This post is timely as we just had a power outage on Wednesday. Thank you for the tips.

  6. I have never prepared I again have good intentions but don't make up the kits!