17 Power Outage Supplies You Need in Case of an Emergency
Power outages are usually unexpected. That's why it's smart to keep these essential power outage supplies on hand.
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Prepping for a power outage is no easy feat. That’s why we called in one of the experts, Paul Riegel, to give us a few pointers. Paul is Milwaukee County’s Emergency Management Division Director. Follow along as we share his expert tips along with the essential power outage supplies you’ll need to stock up on.
Flashlights need to be on the top of your list of power outage supplies. While this one may seem like a no-brainer, you’ll want to make sure you have a long-lasting flashlight, like this Anker flashlight that shines for up to 20 hours. Plus, this flashlight is super durable—it’s waterproof and can last in freezing temperatures (a must for winter power outages!). Make sure your kids know where your flashlights are in the house, just in case the power goes out when they’re home alone or with a babysitter. They should know these other simple home safety tips for kids, too.
When the power’s out, you’ll want to limit water use. That’s why you need an ample supply of water just in case the outage lasts longer than expected. (Some outages can last several days!) Have a few gallons of water on hand, just in case. Water bottles and smaller water jugs work for shorter outages.
Non-perishables and pantry items are a must because you’ll want to refrain from opening your fridge and freezer. That way, you can keep food from spoiling as long as possible. Your food options don’t have to be bleak. Snag your favorite crackers, granola bars, soups and canned fruits. You can also make these recipes without using power.
Power outage or not, you should always have a first aid kit handy. If you already have one in your home, make sure to restock it every few months so you have enough bandages and other first aid equipment at the ready. You could also stock your first aid box with other small essentials you’ll need during a power outage, like batteries for flashlights or matches for lighting candles. Check out these emergency kit ideas.
Headlamps are a smart backup to using a flashlight, especially if you plan on venturing around your house or outside at night during a power outage when you might need hands-free mobility. This Black Diamond headlamp option is also storm-proof so you won’t need to worry about it getting wet during a downpour.
Paul’s tip: If you’re planning on leaving the house and a severe storm blew through your area, make sure to stay away from fallen power lines and watch out for falling debris.
When you’re out of service or out of cell battery, you can rely on a weather radio to provide you with the updates you need. You can use batteries to power this FosPower weather radio, but if you don’t have any, don’t fret. This radio has two other power source options—solar and hand crank—that you can use instead. It doubles as a phone charger and includes a flashlight and reading light, too!
A modern essential! You’ll definitely need a portable phone charger to keep up to date with weather and safety conditions, along with keeping in contact with family members and friends. INIU’s portable phone charger is a great option for power outages since it also includes a flashlight. This pack comes with two chargers with both Android and Apple compatibility, making it easily accessible for the whole family to have fully charged phones throughout the outage.
Paul’s tip: Make sure you discuss an evacuation plan with family and friends who still have power in the area (check out Ready.gov for advice). This is crucial for long-term power outages, especially ones in the dead of winter or high summer so you’ll have access to heat or air conditioning.
If you’re in a power outage for the long haul, you’ll want to have a lantern for consistent lighting for lounging, reading or playing games with your family. This Coleman lantern lasts for up to 14 hours of consistent light and beams light for up to about 50 feet.
Gather or shop for insulated sleeping bags or heavy blankets for winter outages. During the nighttime, make sure to bundle up in extra layers or jacket and have the whole family cuddle up in the same room to use body heat as a heat source.
Paul’s tip: You should keep extra layers, blankets or sleeping bags in your car during the winter, too, along with a shovel, salt, sand and weather radio just to be safe.
You may be wondering…a bucket? We hate to break it to you, but this will be the way you’ll be force-flushing your toilet until your power turns back on to conserve water. Both one- or two-gallon buckets should get the job done.
While you’re stocking up on human food, don’t forget to snag your desired brand of pet food for your fur baby. It’s essential to have some extra bags on hand in case a one-day outage turns into a multiple-day event.
Just because the power’s out doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Whip out a deck of cards to play a round of rummy, war or solitaire—the options are endless with a simple card deck. Hide and seek, charades and shadow puppets are some other ways to pass the time.
Limiting water use also means you’ll have to use other means for keeping hands clean. Grab a few bottles of Germ-X, which kills 99.99% of germs so you know you’ll be in good hands.
Here’s a power outage essential you might not think about. Having a backup stock of prescription medications (if possible) or just keeping them within arm’s reach is essential, especially if you have to evacuate your home. You don’t want to leave without these.
Save your fancy candles for a cozier occasion. This emergency candle is better suited for power outages since it lasts for up to 115 hours. Don’t forget to gather matches or a lighter! Just make sure you’re not lighting too many candles or leaving any unattended. Here are more things you should avoid doing during a power outage.
You’ll thank yourself later for having a few battery-operated fans on hand during a summer outage. Many reviewers of this Treva fan love that it’s super quiet, making it easier to fall asleep at night. If you’re still feeling overheated, try dunking a bandana or rag into ice-cold water (from your water supply) and place it on your forehead or behind your neck.