When winter storms sweep the country, they often bring power outages in their wake. Fortunately, power outages are not overly difficult to be prepared for.
A supply of food, water, and off-grid cooking appliances is a good start, along with some backup power options, but there are more items that make surviving a winter power outage more bearable.
I have compiled a list of eight items you need to survive a winter power outage.
Winter storms don’t just knock out the power; they often bring flooding and large volumes of standing water that we may want to move.
It is possible that during or after a winter storm, you could wake up to a flooded basement or crawlspace.
A water pump is essential if you live in areas prone to flooding or near lakes, rivers, or creeks.
Even clogged storm drains could cause large pools of standing water that could need some redirecting.
Any water pump you get should be gas, diesel, or hand-operated, not electric.
Being prepared means, we must be ready to be on our own for at least several weeks.
Suppose there are any medications that you need to take regularly to maintain your health. In that case, you must have several weeks of prescription medications on hand at all times.
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Over-the-counter medications are also essential to keep a good stockpile on hand. The middle of a winter blackout is not the time to run out to buy some children’s Advil.
We have an unhealthy reliance on credit and debit transactions to buy our daily essentials. No power means no credit or debit, making cash the only way to buy or sell.
A short-term power outage is no time to dip into your long-term food stores, especially when society is still very much intact and retailers would still like to be open for business.
You don’t need to have large quantities of cash stuffed in mattresses; a few hundred dollars will allow you to get a few groceries even if the power is out.
Don’t keep a wad of fifties and hundreds; your cash reserve should be made up from smaller bills.
The largest denomination should be $20, and you should have a good supply of tens, fives, and ones because when you’re out shopping, the local retailers will prefer not to have to make change.
Hot Drinks And A Way To Prepare Them
Most of us start our day with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
The problem is that we are slaves to modern convenience, and in a lot, of cases, coffee comes from a machine that uses single-use pods.
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So if you want that caffeine fix, you’ll have to plan to either have a power source for your modern coffee makers or an off-grid method such as pour-over or a percolator that you can use on a camp stove.
I like to ensure I have a good supply of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to keep warm during dark, cold, powerless winter nights.
Tarps, Tape, Staple Gun, and Plywood
A power outage caused by a winter storm may also leave holes in your home that need plugging.
Heavy-duty tarps can be stapled over broken windows, draped over roof damage, or wrapped around areas where siding has been blown away or ripped up.
You can also use these items to block any drafts that you discover as the power outage takes away the use of your home’s heating system.
Some cans of spray foam are also good to have available to plug any gaps that you may find.
I am guilty of an overreliance on power tools as much as the next guy.
However, I still have a manual option for many of these power tools ready to go if I do not have access to grid power.
A winter storm may result in damage that you will need to use tools to repair.
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Especially if the power outage lasts for an extended period, we may find ourselves in a situation where we do not want to use our emergency power to run tools or charge cordless tool batteries.
Claw hammers, screwdrivers, handsaws, bucksaws, hand drills, hand planes, wood chisels, etc., are all important components of your off-grid tool kit.
Flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps are vital components of a blackout kit, but another item to add is glow sticks. They produce light for hours and do not take batteries or emit fumes.
The only issue with glow sticks is that they can not be turned off; once they go out, they are garbage.
You can use glowsticks as a light source, but they are well suited to mark obstacles in the dark.
Related: 7 DIY Projects To Have Ready When The Lights Go Out
The local dollar store will often have inexpensive glowsticks in various sizes that you can deploy for multiple uses.
For example, smaller glowsticks can be hung off obstacles that people may encounter in the dark of night
You can also use them as night lights since they give off a soft glow rather than a harsh beam.
The lack of electricity will shorten the list of entertainment options we would often turn to.
Whether we have backup power, using our emergency power options to run a TV, DVD player, or gaming console borders on ridiculous.
When Mother Nature decides we should be denied power for a while, we must find off-grid ways to combat boredom.
A healthy selection of board games will keep your family occupied during the dark winter nights. Even a deck of cards will provide hours of entertainment.
A book of rules for card games is also good to have because the internet may not be working during a severe blackout.
Preparing for a winter blackout is not a difficult task. Of all the emergencies we get ready for, a basic short-term blackout is probably the most likely to occur, especially in winter.
The good news is if you are ready for most emergencies, you are also prepared for a blackout.
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