What Should You Have Ready When The Power Goes Off
Today it’s all about being ready when the power goes off. Yesterday, about 4:20 P.M. our little town in Southern Utah lost power for a few hours. I think it was off about 3-1/2 hours. I was sitting on the couch petting my dog and sipping some limeade, yes it’s full of sugar and tasted fabulous. I heard that sound of a “beep” when the power goes off. You know, at first, you think “is it just my house or is it more widespread.” I looked on my cell phone to check out the Washington City FaceBook page. They mentioned there had been a car accident and a power transmission pole had been hit. The city had a team of people trying to get the power restored as quickly as possible. That’s cool, I was glad it wasn’t a terrorist attack or something that would be longterm.
I read a few comments and got the giggles because people were asking for an ETA…. people let’s be patient. There’s been a car accident and the workers were just getting started to assess and repair the equipment. Then one lady left a rather strong statement to the effect, “FYI, you will” as in Washington City, “have to replace the food I am fixing for dinner if it goes bad because the power is off.”
Let me explain, I usually never read those comments on FaceBook, but I was curious to see if someone from the city had responded to any questions about the power outage. This morning I got the giggles again thinking about that statement I read last night. I’m not making fun of her, I don’t know who she is and I would feel sad if her food went bad. But, I also think she should be prepared to cook a meal when the power goes off. Period, it’s that simple.
Mark and I sent a few text messages to some neighbors to see if they wanted some soup I was making with my gas stove. I used a match to start the flame and we had soup/chili in just a few minutes. You may not remember me telling the story about why I wanted a gas stove. I lived without a stove/oven for three months until my plumbing friend could run a gas line for a gas stove from the garage near the gas water heater into my kitchen area. I gave my electric stove to my daughter because her’s had gone out, so we got to wait a while for the plumbing job to be completed.
My sister had ordered takeout yesterday so they were set for dinner. Her husband drove in and that restaurant was open. A few neighbors sent a text back telling us they had steaks and kabobs on their barbecues. LOL! My chili/soup tasted great and cost a whole lot less to prepare.
I had just gone to the store about two weeks ago when a local store had a case-lot sale of canned goods. I mentioned to Mark I wanted to pick up some chili beans that were on sale. These three cans make a fabulous chili/soup. Of course, we need a hand can opener, you can make chili/soup in minutes, no meat, no spices and it’s fabulous and cheap. This is a great Can Opener and my favorite saucepan: Farberware Saucepan and my favorite emergency stove: Butane Stove and Butane Fuel if you do not have a kitchen gas stove.
If you are into preparedness a gas stove is critical for survival. Yes, I have several different cooking and baking devices, but a gas stove is #1 on my list. When the power went out it was getting later in the afternoon but still light enough to see in the garage area, I grabbed my solar lanterns and all my solar flashlights to put on the coffee table. You never know how long the power will be off. This is so dumb, but I kept thinking, “I sure hope the power comes on before my favorite Sunday night shows start tonight at 8:00 P.M.”
My Shih Tzu puppy does not like the dark or when the power goes off, his name is Bentley. I have to leave the kitchen light on for him in the morning and at night so he can find his food and water and the trail to his doggy door. Is he spoiled or does he just hate the dark, I don’t know. So I put a lantern in the kitchen for him once it got dark and I could see the power was going to be off a little longer than we had hoped.
When the Power Goes Off:
Now keep in mind I’m suggesting these items be already in your possession so you can locate them ASAP when the power goes off in your home.
I don’t buy flashlights with batteries, the batteries do not last here in Southern Utah for more than 6 months. Yes, it drives me crazy, but it’s fact. So, I only buy solar flashlights, lots of them, yes too many to count. You may even call me a hoarder, I do not like the dark. If you watch the Costco Roadshows you can get Goal Zero products cheaper, but I suggest you be ready ASAP before the power goes out in your area. Who knew a car was going to crash into that power pole and knock out the power to most of the city! You just never know when something like that catches you by surprise. So, just prepare NOW so you are ready for whatever.
If you use flashlights with batteries be sure and stock up on batteries. If you have some extra pillowcases you may want to get a group together to make a few of these for all your bedrooms: Emergency Bed Bag by Linda
Goal Zero Large Solar Integrated Flashlight
Goal Zero Smaller and Nomad 7 Solar Panel
Lanterns or Lights:
I love lanterns because you can set them on your bedroom dresser, coffee table or your kitchen table. No fuel is required, just sunshine to recharge them. I love solar. I have headlamps, but they give me a headache, yes they are needed sometimes.
Janet reminded me a good reading light would be awesome if the power is off for weeks. Grab a good book and read with Reading Light
These were recommended to me by Dmwalsh and other readers, I’m ordering some today, just so you know. Luci Lights
You can hang the Little Sun around your neck and walk around, plus it has two levels of light.
I love this one, I put it in the kitchen for Bentley.
This one I can charge via my laptop with a USB charger and I keep it in my living room where it’s ready to go ASAP.
Solar Generators for CPAP’s and Nebulizers:
This particular one works well. I gave one to my son-in-law who requires a CPAP to help with sleep apnea to try one night and it lasted well over 8-1/2 hours with power still showing in the solar generator. CPAP Article by Linda
Goal Zero Yeti 400 With Solar Panel
Food and Water:
You know the drill, we need at least four gallons of water per person per day and food that you would eat directly out of a can or fresh food from your garden. I need cans of food that I can open and eat cold or heat on my gas stove.
This is a good one if you are not evacuated and don’t want to use up your propane gas via your barbecue.
Janet mentioned she was without power for a week, this non-electric Bissell Dual Brush Sweeper would come in handy.
If you think about it, when the power goes off we can get by during the day without air conditioning by opening the windows to hopefully catch a few breezes. If it’s cold outside, we can bundle up with extra clothing by layering and using blankets. If you have a wood burning stove and the fuel, you can stay warm and cook your meals if your stove is designed to do the cooking on the top of it.
I actually thought today’s experience was a good dry run for when the power goes off. Here’s the deal, I gathered all the solar flashlights and lanterns and recharged them today outside in the sunshine so I’m prepared for the next adventure.
47 thoughts on “What Should You Have Ready When The Power Goes Off”
After reading “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel, I use every power outage as a learning experience. In rural Ohio, we have been without electricity for up to a week. I even have a non-electric carpet cleaner.
Make sure you get a book light, and have actual physical books to read. Since I love music, I also have an mp3 player that runs off batteries.
Hi Janet, I’m going to add that to my list. I grew up with something just like that! Great tip! I wish everyone would read that book, I believe it will happen sooner than later. The equipment is so ancient and needs to be replaced. A good book like is another great tip. Adding it also. We all need a few hours or a week without power as you experienced to humble us and remind us to be prepared because it will happen. Love this, thank you. Linda
I keep a flashlight in each room of the house so if the lights go out I can easily grab a flashlight without moving too far in the dark. Of course I have my smartphone in my pocket which can act as a flashlight, as well as the standby generator, but it’s good to have redundant backup solutions. 😉
In my stockpile, I have only LED flashlights, but I have hand-crank, battery operated and ‘shake to charge’ units (they have an inductive generator inside the unit where a magnet moves through a wound wire coil to charge the integral batteries.) I also have a few of the Luci lights in different sizes if I need area lighting. Two are stored by a window so they are always charged up, the rest are in the faraday cages in case loss of power is an attack rather than just an accident. For non-electric light I have hurricane lamps, candles and some UVPaqlite gear that glows in the dark if left in the light for a while. For a short-term power outage those are overkill, but in a long term outage it’s nice to have options.
For books, I have critical ones in paperback or hardcover, but most of my library is on a few Kindles that I can keep charged with my SunJack solar kit assuming I get a few hours of sunlight each week. If I need to use it to charge a cellphone then I need a few hours of sunlight a day since the phones are power hogs compared to the Kindles even when using the LED light on the Kindle case.
Hi Dmwalsh, great tips, please tell me the name of the shake to charge flashlight, I need to know about those. I need to add the Luci lights right now too. You know I love comments because we learn from each other. Linda
I think it was the Shake Light Flashlight from Forever: https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Light-Shake-Flashlight/dp/B000BPJ262 which isn’t available, but a virtually identical flashlight with different description is at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EJ0XB8O/ref=psdc_2445457011_t1_B000BPJ262
Not 100% sure since the flashlights are currently sealed in my faraday cage at home and I’m at work, but those look right.
Thank you!!!! Linda
This past Saturday at our Super Saturday (Centerville Ward, Snellville, GA), we learned to make oil lamps. This is SO COOL. If they turn over, they automatically extinguish themselves. You fill a bowl, mason jar, small jar, whatever you can find with water. You can use olive oil (2 tbsp lasts 2-3 hours), vegetable oil, cooking grease in a real pinch. The wick can be made in a variety of ways including a bottle cap with the wick pulled through it or just a cotton ball. They can be made to be decorative. Mason jars can have wire wrapped around the top and a handle formed. The part I liked best was if they tip over, they extinguish immediately. There are definite directions concerning the wick being burned. I don’t have the directions with me but I could e-mail my sheet to you if you would like.
Hi Ida, I would love the instructions, I have never used oil lamps. I love to hear that organizations are teaching the people how to be self-reliant. I love that you had this class at your super Saturday. Love it! Linda Please send the instruction sheet to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great info for a power outage!
Hi Carol, well we had a first-hand experience on Sunday! Linda
thats a great way to look at these “emergencies”…..as adventures!
Hi Dave, you rock! Linda
Hi, Linda. This Saturday evening overnight was a planned power outage by our electric company. After we went to bed my volunteer firefighter husband received a page to attend to a motor vehicle accident. We got up, had no idea what time it really was with daylight savings time ending, and in our groggy state flipped the switch in the bathroom – opps, the metaphorical lightbulb came on! We always have flashlights around and he puts his glasses, hearing aids, clothes and boots in the same place each night, just in case, so he was out the door fairly quickly. (He received the nightowl award last year as he responded to more night time calls than all the other volunteers. Guess who should have gotten the spouse award, ha ha.) Good reminders to keep back ups available. I keep intending to make my mom one of those bedside pillow cases. I’ll put it on my to do list to take to her at Thanksgiving.
We’re apartment dwellers, but a gas stove/oven is definitely at the top of my list, right after “ground floor location”. Power goes out relatively often here, about once a month though usually not for very long. Usually we just “grin and bear it”. There’s very little that we actually *need* power for. We keep a battery charged that will charge our phones & the ipad once (or our phones a few times) in case the power is out longer term. We’ve got the usual assortment of battery powered lanterns and flashlights, and some solar patio lights that stay up all year round.
My favorite bit of advice regarding power outages comes from Steven Harris (emergency power guru), he says “when the power is out, the first thing you should do is take the ice cream out of the freezer and eat it. Melted and refrozen ice cream is terrible. Take the milk out of your fridge and put it in the freezer where the ice cream was, because milk is the one item in your fridge that will go bad the fastest.”
I think this is fabulous advice, and I think it’s a good idea to keep ice cream in your freezer….just in case of power outage 🙂
Hi K, oh I love this advice, I better go get some ice cream! Good tip about putting the milk in the frig. I LOVE this idea! Linda
I keep big bags of ice (I have 4 small freezers, one for backup if one fails) for putting in a 5 gallon bucket for perishables from the fridge just in case. Or use what you have….even a bath tub!!!!
Hi JJ, I was just telling ark when we had this last mini 3-1/2 hour power outage, “this is why I keep those frozen containers of water in the freezer”. I leave enough room for the water to expand. Great comment, Linda
I have heard that using your washing machine as a cooler works. Put food in with ice on top an close the lid. What’s your opinion?
Hi Gen, that’s an interesting concept. I’ve got bottles of water frozen in my freezer to keep my freezer good for a few days, depending on the weather. I don’t think I would put my food in the washing machine. I have a few coolers. But whatever you have to do, do it. Linda
We live in the Napa Valley. I assume you heard about the fires we had last month (wow, 1 month ago today it started!). We were on notice to be ready to leave, so we got busy and put our go bags and other stuff in the car. We never had to leave, but we were without power for more than 48 hours. I went out the the shed where all of our emergency supplies are and got the stainless steel camp percolator, brought it in the house and proceeded to make us coffee on the gas stove. Wow, like you I love my gas stove! When it was apparent that the power would be off for a while, we bought us that generator that we’ve been talking about buying for about five years! Our biggest challenge was getting in contact with family. The fire destroyed the cell towers, so we had no cell service, and no home phone because it needed electricity to work. We have a battery operated radio, so we were able to listen to the local radio station, who kept us updated as to what was going on. So glad we had 3/4 of a tank of gas, cause we had to drive to family. Sorry this is so long, and I’m kind of rambling, but I wanted you to know that so many of the things I’ve learned came in really handy when we needed help!!
Hi Kathie, oh my gosh, thank you for this wonderful comment. No comment is ever too long. I read all of them. Now, this is good for me to learn because I was assuming we would have cell service, but not if the cell towers were burned. This is why it is so critical for us to hear from people just like you. THANK YOU! You are not rambling, I am taking in every word. WOW, I actually have chills running up my arms thinking about not being able to contact family because the cell towers were down. This is so good to hear, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m glad you had 3/4 of gas in your tank. I’m glad your family is okay. Huge hugs, Linda
no home phone because it needed electricity to work
Which is why everyone should keep an old phone, not the portable type. I had one thirty years old and when it died, I got a no perp phone at radio shack to replace it.
What’s a no perp phone? I looked on the Radio Shack site and a search turned up nothing.
Hi Kathie, I have never heard of a no perp phone. I even looked at Google and Amazon. I don’t know, Linda
Living in the country, our power goes out a lot. I have flash lights in every room. I also have multi powered (solar,hand crank ,battery,plugin) flashlights. we have several oil lanterns we bought from Lehmans as well. While I do have an electric cookstove at present, I am planning to buy a gas stove. But that does not mean I can’t cook. I have a charcoal grill,propane cook top and oven and a wood stove. I have home canned soups, beans, meat and stews. No power ? no problem. I always try to keep a full tank of gas in my car and a few 5 gallon cans of gas on hand. Thank you for another informative article. We all need to be ready ,come what may. God Bless and keep on prepping.
Hi Judy, you know I love hearing this comment, you are one prepared woman and you rock! I need to look into Lehmans oil lanterns. I feel like I have so many solar items to give us light and I only have so much storage space. I love the fact you have home canned soups, beans, meat, and stews. Keep prepping my friend, hugs! Linda
Love the idea of oil lamps–the old fashioned kind. I did a bunch of canning this year. Put up about 100 pints of green beans. Hubby said he missed my home-canned beans! Awww….Thank you Linda, and all the people who respond to your posts. I for one, print these off and keep. Please keep them coming!!
Hi, Joanne, I miss my home-canned green beans. You rock my friend, keep up the good work! Linda
Funny thing is that here in Florida we have also come to expect loss of power out of the blue. Even if it’s not raining a drop outside, sometimes the lights flicker and the TV and cable boxes suddenly restart themselves. And then it happens a second time a minute or two later. I assume it’s just the power companies way of dealing with fulfilling the load and maybe as a result, getting people to turn off a few lights or appliances.
I like the idea of the ready to use supplies in the bedside holder. I always keep my cell phone, pocket knife and a flashlight, sometimes a watch as well, within arms reach. Of course I have loads of gear in my room, but it’s good to have easily reached items if awoken late at night or by dogs that wait until I am asleep to let me know they need to go outside. And in an emergency it’s safer and you’re more prepared to act.
For those who like to D.I.Y., all you need are two boards. One lies flat under the mattress and the other is attached by screws or nails and/or some small brackets to the first board so it sits vertically and against the side of the bed. Bags, plastic, metal, cloth tape, canvas straps or kydex can be attached or even gun holsters, flashlight or knife sheaths. I plan to do this myself, but I am temporarily sleeping on an inflatable bed until the house remodeling is all done.
Hi, Frank, I love the DIY idea for a holder designed for emergency things. I hope you’re getting some sleep on that inflatable bed. You have to be prepared in Florida like you said your lights flicker, etc. You know what is needed for any emergency! I love it. Linda
This may not work for all, but my husband retired his CPAP in the closet after a few months and I discovered the following regimen works for him.
A mild sinus tablet before bed and a floor lamp aimed at him kept him breathing well and he got a good night’s sleep.
This has now worked for four years.
Hi JJ, wow, this is amazing!!! It’s actually a blessing because he can breathe without the CPAP. God bless you and your family for trying something different. We know our bodies better than anyone. Linda
This is Prepper 5th Wheel John in PA (also CostaRicaJohn1@gmail.com). We spoke (by email) 5 or 6 months ago about your friend who has a 5th Wheel so he is mobile during a catastrophe. I have done the same. I expressed I was writing a book about the Latter Days.
It is finished. I have plugged your website ‘FoodStorageMoms’ in my book.
The name of the book is ‘Murder?…by your Favorite Pastor!’ by Jeremiah John at Xulonpress.com/bookstore/ or on Amazon as well. I would like to send you a copy.
It is about convincing all the 10’s and 10’s of millions of Believer who think there is no need to prepare because they think the ‘rapture’ of the church comes before this 7 year period (Tribulation) catastrophe. It does not. These would be new converts who would be wide open for instruction like you offer and give. You are invaluable. Everyone needs to know about you and FoodStorageMoms.com.
I just need your address. It is a rather short book of 150 pages or so. Very similar to Lights Out by Ted Kobbel.
Hi John, I would love to have you send me a book, but if I buy it on Amazon, I can write a review, what do you think? I can’t find it on Amazon. You are so kind, you are the best kind of prepper, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving my website a plug. Be safe, Linda
I actually lived in Hurricane, UT for about a year at the ‘Willow (something) RV Park.’ Turn right at the Windy Hamburger store.
So I actually know where Washington, UT is. How about that. And I think we went there one day or maybe through it every time we went to St George. Little fuzzy on that part right now. We went mostly to St George though when we would go shopping. It has been about 5 years ago.
I found the book on Amazon Books.com under ‘Murder?…by your Favorite Pastor!
I will send you a copy in a day or two when I go out to the store next.
OK, God Bless,
John & Mary Ellen McGee
John, I bought the book!!!!!! I bought the last one, it says more on the way! I can’t wait to get it!!! Hugs! Linda
John, this way you don’t have to pay to ship it! I know exactly where Willow Park is, I love it!! Life is good! Linda
WOW!, That was very nice of you to buy the book. In fact YOU are the 1st person that I KNOW who bought the book. I have not promoted it yet and will have to learn how to do so. That is very nice and very special as the author to hear. I hope you like it.
Thanks so much again.
God Bless, John and Mary Ellen McGee
Hi John, yay! I will read it and write a review, that helps every author on Amazon! Linda
That would be just awesome. WOW! Thank you so so much.
You are on page 77 and page 147.
Most Kind Regards, John
Hi John, two pages, thank you so much!!! You rock! Linda
Solar is not good for long term outage as they need rechareable
Batteries which over time lose their ability to hold a charge.
Greatdas long as the battery will hold a charge. Usually they hold up
well for a year. Best to just dig out yout camping gear that will get you throug
most short time power failures.
Hi, NO, I have several solar devices I have had for 5 years and they are still going strong. I did lose two cheaper model flashlights, thank goodness I have so many different brands. Camping gear is great! Linda
Hi! My first comment or question. Love your tips! My question ya sound silly but we have a nice new gas stove but it has an electric igniter. Do I dare try a match to light it? We don’t have a sun oven yet.
Merrikay in NC.
Hi Merrikay, oh how I love your name. That is not a silly question at all. I just used a match to light mine when we lost power. Of course, if a gas line is broken in our neighborhoods, we will be evacuated. You go, girl, we are prepared for the unexpected. I had to have a gas stove for this very reason if the electricity goes out. Linda
We get bad snow storms. One year we knew it would be bad. We planned ahead and brought the wood in for the stove, precooked some foods to warm on the wood stove, put flashlights and lanterns together. Got extra blankets to block the heat off during the day, etc. We lost power for three days, we the only family on the streets to stay at home. Two neighbors came over to say they were leaving and would we watch out for their homes, but as they started to talk to their surprise they said “wow its warm in here!”,(if you call low 60’s warm) We usually keep heat at 66 so 60 was doable for us. It was the best feeling not to have to worry about a hotel or getting to family in bad weather. We had warmth, light, food and a plan. One part of the plan was if one person had to go out, we all did. Clearing snow for the chickens, dogs and house. We only went back in as a unit so we were not opening and closing the door too much loosing heat.
Hi, Gen, oh my goodness this is such a great comment! I have to laugh I could not live with the 66 degrees, I applaud you for that! Yes, 60 degrees would be doable for you! You guys rock! You have a plan, and yet your neighbors left, wow!! I’m too cheap to pay for a hotel/motel. I will always have a plan and it sounds like your family is absolutely the best family on your street! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this comment! Happy Thanksgiving, Linda