10 items to have on hand in case of a power outage

February 3, 2015

Power outages are all fun and games unless, of course, you're unprepared. There's nothing worse than bumping around in a dark house  trying to find some batteries or a flashlight. Put together a power outage safety kit and be sure to include these 10 essentials. 

1. Battery-operated Radio
It's no wonder this appliance topped the list of power-outage essentials compiled by This Old House. The radio is your lifeline to the outside world, and if the weather doesn't permit any travel, you won't have any other way of knowing what's going on in the world. You should conserve your cell phone battery in case of an emergency. 

2. Loads of batteries
Of course, you're not going to get very far without batteries to juice your electronics. When in doubt, buy double what you think you'll need. Historically, power outages have been known to knock out lights and heat for weeks.

3. Flashlights
Have multiple flashlights for each family member or roommate. A good rule of thumb is you can never really have too many. What with the short winter days and limited sunlight, you'll need to illuminate the house for a solid few hours each night.

4. Phone chargers
Get a phone charger or two that you don't have to plug into the wall. You can even find one that'll plug into your car lighter as a backup mode in case these other chargers are out of battery power themselves.

5. Gallons of water
Aside from a source of power, you're going to need water to stay healthy until the lights go back on. The New York State Department of Health suggested two gallons per person per day.

6. Nonperishable foods
Stock up on foods that are a good source of energy. Examples include nuts, dried meat, trail mix and peanut butter. Don't forget specialty items for babies, elderly relatives and pets.

7. First aid kit
Put together a first aid kit with bandages , medications, scissors and other essentials that you need to keep you healthy in case of injury or illness. 

8. Candles and matches
You'll want to light some candles so that you don't have to use up all of your battery power while you're getting dressed.

9. Cosmetics 
If the roads are awful and the stores are closed, you're going to be without deodorant and other essentials until the storm passes. Make a cosmetics bag filled with backups of all of your products and feminine hygiene supplies.

10. Games and fun
Don't underestimate entertainment when there isn't any power. Packing games or magazines in a safety kit can make the power outage manageable. 

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.