wikiHow to Prepare for a Power Outage

Two Methods:Power Outage ChecklistPreparing for a Power Outage

If you need to know how to prepare for a power outage, then this is the article for you! Perhaps a storm is bearing down on you, or a power line has been compromised. Follow these simple steps to stay one step ahead of a power outage.

Power Outage Checklist

Power Outage Checklist

Preparing for a Power Outage

  1. Image titled Prepare for a Power Outage Step 1
    Purchase light producing objects. Gather all the things that may provide light, such as a flashlight, candles, glowsticks, etc., and place them in an easily accessible area.
    • Attach iridescent or glow in the dark stickers on flashlights so that they can be easily located in little or no light.
    • Keep glowsticks in the freezer. The cool temperature in your freezer will slow the rate of reaction in the glowstick and make it last for 4-5 days instead of one or two.
    • Stick candles in pots that are deeper than the candle is long. That way, the light will reflect off of the side of the pot, creating more light, and will lessen the likelihood of a fire.
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    Keep a first aid kit handy. You never know what emergency might happen during a power outage, so it's wise to stay prepared with a few days' worth of medication.
    • Your first aid kit should include bandages (various sizes), gauze, tape, scissors, antiseptic solution such as hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin, and pain medicine. You can buy first aid kits at various drugstores or assemble your own.
    • Keep a stash of batteries. Make an inventory of the different kinds of batteries your electronics use instead of assuming they all run on double-A or triple-A. Buy batteries in bulk — more than you think you'll need — so that you'll have a good amount in case of a prolonged outage.
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    Have your power company's number stored. If and when the power outage does occurs, inform them (once will do) and they'll give you an estimate of when you can expect to get electricity back. Knowledge is power.
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    Purchase and use self-powered radios and self-powered flashlights. Self-powered radios and flashlights employ a hand crank to get the device going, so it's a good alternative to have if you happen to run out of batteries.
    • Radios will help you stay informed of what's happening. Try to keep abreast of what's happening in the case of severe storms, as the authorities might issue an evacuation notice or other pertinent information.
    • Radios will also be a good distraction for when your other distractions aren't up an running. When your TV and computer won't turn on, you can always settle for an entertainment on the radio waves. Hey, Garrison Keillor beats twiddling your thumbs!
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    Have car chargers for your cell phone. So the electricity won't work, but that doesn't mean you can't use your car as one big battery. Be careful not to kill your car battery when you're charging your phone. Not being able to start your car is probably more problematic than not being able to start your cell phone.
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    Stock your pantry with non-perishable (canned) foods and water. It's always nice to know that if your food source runs out, for whatever reason, you have a backup nearby.
    • As a general rule, keep enough food to last your family for a week. Soup, chili, vegetables, and fruits are all popular choices. Be sure to have a mechanical can opener nearby.
    • Keep a three week supply of water in storage. Humans can live without food for prolonged periods, but water is a more immediate necessity. In dire situations, the water coming from the faucet may be tainted, and you'll have to rely on a bottled source.
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    Purchase a gas camping stove or hibachi grill. If your kitchen stove is all electric, it obviously won't work during a power outage and you'll have to rely on another means of cooking.
    • Keep propane tanks and/or charcoal in storage. In wet weather conditions, propane is probably preferable. Know how to fit the propane tank into the grill beforehand, so that you're not learning the roles in a more serious situation.
    • Never use a barbecue grill in an enclosed area, as it may cause carbon monoxide or dioxide poisoning.
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    Fill spare space in your refrigerator with water bottles. Frozen water bottles in your freezer will act like ice blocks and keep it frozen longer while the power is off. When they thaw out you will have a fresh supply of drinking water.
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    Get some engaging, non-electronic games. Believe it or not, people used to live without the internet. Having a ready supply of tried and true board or card games to play with your family is a great way of relieving boredom and staying optimistic in the event of a power outage.
    • Have a couple decks of playing cards. Some card games require more than a deck of cards, and often individual cards simply get lost.
    • If you or your family is brave, you might even consider singing, dancing, or storytelling together instead of games.
  10. Image titled Prepare for a Power Outage Step 10
    Use a landline telephone instead of your cell phone.
    • If you have a landline you are most likely will not lose your phone service. Cellphone towers can freeze in a power outage, wireless home phones and home phones that require a modem to run don't work in power outages especially in the winter.
    • If you don't have a battery clock that works, then you will most likely will have to wake up with the sun and go to bed with the sun. Remember that the days are longer hot in the summer, and shorter and colder in the winter.


  • If you smell gas or know of compromised gas lines, do not use candles.
  • If your water depends on a well it won't work with the power out. Fill your tub with water if an outage is likely. Then you can pour it into the back of the toilet for flushing.

Things You'll Need

  • Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Glow stick
  • Matches
  • Candles
  • Non-perishable food
  • Water

Article Info

Categories: Disaster Preparedness