Tips for Long-Term Power Outages

Hurricanes, snowstorms, or even just a heat wave can knock power out for days or even weeks. That’s why it’s important to be prepared not only for when a foreseen storm is coming—but all year long. We’ve assembled a list of some necessary items that will help you make it through the next big power outage.

Needed Supplies

When a power outage strikes, it’s usually associated with a storm or other disaster of some kind. Whatever causes it, remember to stick partially to the basics and know that you should have a supply for at least three days for each person in your household. Don’t forget to account for pets if you have them, as well.

  • Non-perishable Food. Make sure to have at least three to seven days of food for each member of your household. This includes small, preferably single serving cans that should not require cooking or refrigeration.
  • Extra Batteries. Always be sure to have extra batteries on hand that can power flashlights, radios, or other electronic devices.
  • Flashlight. Make sure to have multiple flashlights on hand for when the power fails. This will help you keep rooms bright.
  • Medications. Keep a 7-day supply on hand and make sure to include any other medical items.
  • Cell phone with chargers. Limit your cell phone use during a power outage, and keep it available for any emergency calls.
  • Multi-purpose Tool. Include a multi-purpose tool in your kit in case you need it for any repairs.
  • Backup Power. If someone in your household is on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, make sure that there is a source of backup power.
  • First Aid Supplies. For a power outage that occurs over multiple days, make sure you include a first aid kit among your supplies.

Sanitation and Personal Hygiene Items

  • Drinking Water. You will need at least one gallon per person per day in unbreakable containers. Remember to rotate your drinking water each year. This is largely useful for events, such as hurricanes, where water may be shut off.
  • Sanitation Water. You will need extra water for sanitation purposes, such as cleaning, flushing toilets, and bathing. Make sure to have at least two quarts minimum per person for each day. In addition, don’t mix the sanitation water with drinking water. This is largely useful for events, such as hurricanes, where water may be shut off.

During the Power Outage

There are also some things you should do during the power outage itself. Make sure to unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment. Also be sure to disconnect any appliances that you were using when the power went out. Also make sure to be careful with a generator, grill, or any device that uses propane, natural gas or charcoal. Never use any of these devices inside, so as to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also be sure to install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations in your home and outside sleeping areas to provide an early warning system.

Next time the power goes out, be prepared. Always make sure to check your supplies at least once a year to make sure they’re still fresh. It will help you live comfortably and safely during a power outage or other disaster.

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