It can be unbearable when the power goes out for more than a few hours. Whether it’s during the cold month or the hot months. In this post, we will be learning how to prepare for a power outage no matter the time of year or the weather!
Stay tuned until the end to see my Extended Power Outage Preparedness Kit suggestions and a Printable Power Outage Checklist!
Are You Prepared For A Power Outage?
Living in Florida, power outages occur frequently during our violent storms. Yes, we get threats of hurricanes here, but the thunderstorms here are excessively violent, some of them worse than a category 1 hurricane!
Just last week we had some pretty crazy storms. The power flickered several times, but luckily it didn’t go out…But what happens when the power does go out? Are you prepared for an extended power outage?
How To Prepare For A Power Outage
One of the most basic things you need to prepare for a power outage is light. From my experience, I suggest having a small battery-powered lantern (linked to Amazon, but they are cheaper at Costco) on each toilet. It can be difficult to go to the bathroom in the dark…or while holding a flashlight. You want a light source that is hands-free…
Typically, throughout the house, I set up those little lanterns and battery-powered candles (again cheaper at Costco!)…I like this set, which I got from Costco because they mimic real candles. I also use them around Christmas time because they are pretty…
Most of our power outages don’t last long, and we don’t need much more than a few lanterns…and maybe a few board games (for something to do)…and some food that can be eaten without heating. However, what happens when you find yourself without power for a few days or even weeks?
Before The Storm Hits…
There are a few things you need to do when an impending storm is about to hit. If you have time to prepare here are a few things to do before a power outage…
- Gas – Fill up your car…Exchange Propane Tanks (or buy extra ones)…Fill Up Extra Gas Cans – for your generator, chainsaw, and other gas tools that you may need for cleaning up the aftermath…
- Buy Some Essentials, like water, toilet paper, paper plates, bread, and peanut butter. Other than that, you should have a long-term food supply that will feed you just fine if you follow my blog at all. If not…I’ll be linking to those posts later so you can start!
- Grab Some Snacks! – Storms can be stressful and I always stock up on snacks. A little comfort food goes a long way in stressful situations. It’s not a must, especially if you have a long term food supply however, it’s nice to have…
- ATM/CASH – Pull out some extra cash from the ATM just in case the power outage is extended and the card machines are down. Cash is king in a power outage!
- Charge Phones and other devices – Before the storm hits, make sure all of your phones and devices are charged.
- Charge Portable Power Banks – A portable power bank is a small device that can charge your cell phone or other small devices.
- Long Term Food Supply – I mentioned this above, but everyone should have a long-term food supply. At the very least get some rice and beans! I’ll be linking to some food lists a little later that will help you build your supply.
- Bug Out Bags – You might think it’s not necessary, however, you never know. You might need to get out quick and a bug out bag might just save your life! I’ll be linking to a few of my lists for these too a little later…
- Make An Evacuation Plan – Learn how to make a plan at ready.gov.
- Buy A Weather Radio
- Sign Up For Weather Alerts on your phone too. That way you can have multiple ways of being notified when trouble is near. A few weeks ago a tornado touched down a few miles from my home. I’m not going to lie…I read the alert and it said a tornado has been spotted IN YOUR AREA…And I kinda freaked! I’ve never seen it say “in your area” before. So we knew it was serious!
- Unplug everything except one light and the fridge and freezer. They say this helps to prevent a surge when the power comes back on. A surge would hurt your electronics.
- Generator Maintenance – Make sure your generator is gassed up and starts happily with glee…Just kidding. Make sure it starts up and will run…Preferably before a storm…Make sure you have a backup fuel can just for the generator…
- Clean Up Outside – Remove any debris that can be thrashed around. Items thrown by the wind could damage your home or vehicles or even someone else’s property. Don’t forget to place your trash cans in a garage or at best up against your home, or in a shed.
Obviously, a generator is nice to have during a power outage…Not everyone can afford them. If you live in a power outage-prone area…It might be a good idea to save up to get one.
After many power outages, our family bought a generator…It’s nice to be able to run the fridge for a few hours to keep everything cold. However, it can’t run the entire house. So we run the fridge for a while then lights and TV and switch off for what we want and need…
There are generators that can run an entire house but they are thousands of dollars!
Summer Power Outage Tips
Keep Cool – Living in a subtropical climate keeping cool is on top of my list! Below you will find ways to keep cool…
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water
- Close the blinds and the curtains – Keep the sun and all its heat out!
- Buy a battery-operated fan – I suggest this one because it’s rechargeable.
- Dress in lightweight clothing that wicks away sweat!
- Hang out in the coolest area of your home
- Book a hotel or hang out during the day somewhere that has air conditioning like the mall, a coffee shop, etc…
- Play in the sprinkler, if it’s not storming…
Winter Power Outage Tips
Keep Warm – I haven’t always lived in Florida…I used to live in Tennessee. While we don’t have harsh winters there, I did survive through the 1996 blizzard! I only wish I had the T-shirt to prove it. Lol…Here are some tips for combating the cold during a power outage…
- Wood Stove – A wood stove is one of the best ways to keep warm. I grew up with a wood stove in the house and we were never cold. They get really warm and some of them you can even use as a cooktop.
- Fireplace – Yes, of course, this can keep your house warm. Make sure you have plenty of firewood!
- Buy A Tent (like this easy pop-up one) – The smaller the area you are trying to heat…The better the result. Get a small tent and put it in one of the rooms of your home. I do want to caution everyone here to remember that you also need oxygen! Humans breathe out carbon dioxide. This should not be breathed into the lungs. In your tent, you need a vent so this can escape and new oxygen can make its way into your small area. So keep that in mind…
- Make A Heater With Candles – When the Texas snowstorm hit, many people were reduced to using candles as a tiny heater. While this can help in a tiny space like a bathroom…It also comes with many warnings. Having an open flame is always dangerous and even more so around children. So weigh your options. Also, this isn’t the best option for heating. If you are truly prepared, you would have a fireplace or wood stove with plenty of wood to burn!
- Close off Other Rooms – Close doors, and tack blankets or even sheets to keep the heat in. You can do this in open doorways and to windows and doors leading to the outside…
- Layer Your Clothes – You probably already know that layers can equal heat! However, it’s important to note that the first layer matters! Many northerners will agree that you should not wear cotton as the first layer. Learn more about layering at Teton Sports.
- Have Plenty Of Blankets – I store extra blankets in vacuum storage bags (these are my favorite…good seal)
Food Storage & Cooking Tips
Food Storage – One of the biggest losses during a power outage is typically with cold food storage. Here are some tips to help you keep your food good during a power outage…
- Keep The Doors Shut! – Not opening the doors can help immensely. Don’t let the cold air out.
- Freeze Water in freezer-safe containers or use reusable freezer packs like these…- Many people just keep jugs of water in the freezer and during a power outage, they move them to the fridge to help keep items cold…It’s also a good idea to have many of them stay in the freezer too, to help keep those items frozen…
- Eat Perishable Items First – I know I said don’t open the fridge, but take out all the stuff that’s going to expire and cook it up first.
- Coolers – Having a Yeti cooler or something like it can help by preserving your most valuable items (like medication) for days at a time. I like to use those reusable freezer packs in coolers too. They are less messy than ice especially if you put them in a ziplock bag!
- Long Term Food Supply – Having a long term food supply can be a huge help during a power outage. That way you don’t have to worry about the perishable items so much. Check out my emergency food lists here…
Long Term Food Storage Lists
- How Much Food To Store For Emergency – Plus a 2-week menu!
- Meals In A Jar – Dry Ingredients Only
- Foods To Hoard
- Non-Perishable Food List For Hurricane Season
Cooking When The Power Is Out
If you were to go camping, you would cook differently than when at home. Grilling, cooking over a fire, or using a camp stove…These alternative cooking ways can also come in handy during power outages. Don’t start fires indoors unless in a fireplace…
- Grilling – You can use gas or charcoal grills to cook with. I like gas just because my gas grill has a burner, that makes it easy to boil water (and make coffee with…of course!)…It also makes cooking a whole lot easier…
- Camp Stove – If you can’t afford a grill and don’t have one yet, a camp stove is much cheaper. It’s nice to have a stove rather than cook over a fire…Which takes more work…
- Cooking Over A Fire – You’ll also need some cast iron pans or a mess kit. Don’t use any pans that have enamel or coating on them.
- Sun Oven – I have a few sun oven recipes on the blog, including pot roast, s’more pie. Knowing how to use a sun oven is important before an emergency…
Some people still have access to water when the power is out. However, people who are on a well typically don’t have water. Regardless, it’s smart to have water on hand in case of an emergency.
I have a whole post about storing a backup water supply but I’ll go over it briefly here…
First of all…bottled water is great for drinking in emergencies. However, if the power is out for quite a long time, you’ll want at least 1 gallon of water per person per day. That’s a mouthful! Why so much water? …We use water not only for drinking but for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and flushing toilets!
You can buy cheap storage cubes that stack nicely or you can buy a tub reservoir for cheaper options. Alternatively, you can buy rain barrels or bigger water storage tanks, but those typically cost a pretty penny…
Prepare An Extended Power Outage Kit!
- Bottled Water – For drinking
- Rain Barrels or water storage tanks – For cooking, cleaning, bathing, and flushing toilets…
- Bug Out Bags – Having emergency bags prepared in case you need to leave quickly is always a must! Check out my frugal bug out bag list and my Amazon bug out bag list.
- Many items I would put on this list are located on my bug out bag lists! So be sure you prepare them for your family!
- Personal Hygiene Products
- Duct Tape – Well because if all else fails…
- Paracord – It always seems to come in handy one way or another. It’s good to have in any emergency.
- Manual Can Opener
- Make a makeshift sink! – In my post backup water supply I talk about making a hand washing station.
- Hand sanitizer
- Wipes – Baby wipes come in handy for bathing without water if necessary…Plus they can clean up spills…
- Portable Power Banks – For charging cell phones and other devices
- Emergency papers – If you have a bug out bag you should have copies in those bags…
- First Aid Kit – I suggest also having a trauma first aid kit, just in case someone has a more serious injury…
- Extra cash in case the credit card systems don’t work…
- Battery-Powered Lanterns
- Battery-Powered Candles
- Generator or Whole House Generator
- Battery-Operated Fan
- Vacuum Storage Bags
- Reusable Freezer Packs
- Wood Stove
- Weather Radio
- Gas Grill or Camp Stove
- Non-Perishable Food/Long Term Food Supply
- Yeti Cooler
- Popup tent
- Sleeping Bags
- Board Games…Card Games
- Prep for pets – please don’t leave your pets behind. If you have livestock or other farm animals please check out this post. I shared many helpful tips.
During A Power Outage
- If your fridge and freezer are without power for multiple days, you’ll probably have to throw out the food…It sucks I know.
- Stay away from downed lines and trees.
- Call your electric company to let them know about downed lines and trees.
- Help your neighbors out, especially those that are elderly or disabled. They’ll need the most help!
How Do You Prepare For A Power Outage?
Please let us know what you do to prepare for a power outage in the comments below.
Prepare For A Power Outage With This Printable Checklist
I’d love To Know what you think!… Leave me a comment!
Share On Pinterest!