20 Things to Have on Hand for Power Outages
I moved from Southern California to a tiny town in the wet wilds of Oregon four years ago. Three months after moving, we had a hurricane (seriously!) and lost power for five days. Five! The cell phone towers went out as well. Basically, it became the 1800s, and there are important things I learned from that experience. Here is a list of affordable items to make sure you have when you're heading into a possible power outage. Peace of mind is priceless, and these staples are sure to make your “lights out” experience more comfortable.
1. A Coleman stove and plenty of propane
Even better are the stoves you can use indoors. Never cook indoors with a propane portable stove. Ever. I don't care how cold it is outside and how much you need your coffee; bundle up, and cook on the back patio. That's why the indoor stoves are superior in my mind. If you have a gas stove, lucky you. Disregard this one. (See also: Cooking Without Electricity: Hurricane Preparedness With Style)
2. A french press or camping coffee pot for coffee
Instant coffee bites.
3. A stash of pre-ground coffee...
...if you usually grind your own every day.
Cs and Ds seem to power all those lanterns and things. But get AAs as well.
6. A lantern, either battery-powered or oil
We have both. The kids get the battery-powered one, and we get the romantic oil one.
7. A spare bulb or extra oil for the lantern
You should get extra batteries for the electric one as well.
We use the long-burning ones. Never leave them unattended, though. It gets easy to forget about them.
9. A car cell-phone charger
10. A car inverter
These little things can run power off of your engine. Go ahead; check your email in your car. That is, if your internet is working.
11. A cord phone
Cordless phones lose power and won't work when the power goes out. (Go figure.) Keep a cord phone in case your cell phone's dead and you need to make an emergency call.
You need lots of ice and a cooler to keep your fridge stuff inside.
13. Powdered milk
Stock it if you have kids or really like milk. You can buy rice milk on sale and store it in your cupboards as a cheaper alternative.
Everyone told me to have a bottle of this on hand. I don't drink it, but it's got to be good for something.
15. Canned goods...
...of things you'll actually want to eat. Think warm chili, soups, or creamed corn, if that's your thing.
16. Sleeping bags
For cold weather.
17. Baby wipes
If it's been a while in between showers, no hot water and cold weather makes for one awful shower experience. Just focus on the hot spots.
18. A weather radio
Get one that is either self-charging or runs on AA batteries. I lived off this thing. I got all my news from the local station. I learned where to get hot coffee and where shelters were. I also learned where people were using generators to host a community movie night for the kids. These little things make you feel human when things get rough.
19. Board games
These will make a hard experience more bearable.
Have some chocolate, cookies, or some other sweet things around. The little things help your psyche a lot.
Hopefully, you won't lose your power for too long. But even if you do, you can rest assured that you're prepared.