We are all vulnerable to unexpected power disruptions, but with a few preparations made in case of an emergency, potential inconveniences and dangers can be avoided, or at least minimized.
As a starting point, every home should have emergency supplies set aside that include:
- Candles and matches
- Flashlights (at least one per member of the household plus a spare)
- Extra batteries
- Paper and pencils
- A selection of dried foods and/or canned goods
- Manual can opener
- First-Aid Kit
- At least one large jug of water
- Prescription medications
- Extra set of keys for your car and house
- Small amount of cash in small denominations ($5, $10 bills)
- Copies of important family documents and contacts
- Emergency plan
- Pet food
The quantity of certain items and the duration you need your emergency kit to last depends on many factors that are unique to you including;
- How many people does your kit need to support?
- How long do you need your emergency supplies to last?
- How often do emergencies like power failures occur in your area?
- What temperatures and weather do you need to be prepared for?
- Do you have pets, small children, or a family member(s) with a disability that may require other items?
If possible, it is always advisable to have an even more extensive emergency kit ready for emergencies. Consider keeping one all-weather emergency blanket per household member, waterproof clothing and footwear, and a small cash of consumables like fuel and food supplies.
If you take daily medication, be sure to renew your prescription before it runs out to ensure a sufficient supply in case of emergency. If you or a family member use an epi-pen, keep a spare on hand and check periodically to ensure that it has not expired. Likewise, all battery-powered devices should be kept charged - including computers, mobile phones, and mobility vehicles.
For some, the inconveniences of a power-outage can outweigh the cost of installing a gas-powered generator. Whether you’re ready to incur the expense or simply plan to stock up on supplies, it's always wise to take steps that will see you and your loved ones through a power failure.
Check out these pre-made kits you can purchase to take the work out of creating your own emergency kit! The Red Cross also has a great checklist for creating your own, as well as a link to where you can purchase their approved kits.
If having a bigger emergency supply cache sounds like a good idea to you, here are some more items to consider including:
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask for every member of the household (in case of contaminated air, or a global pandemic)
- Battery powered or wind-up radio
- Wind-up flashlight
- Water (2 litres per person per day)
- Hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfectant wipes
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes for hygiene
- Garbage bags and plastic ties
- Multi-tool or a small selection of tools (wrench, pliers, hammer)
- Pocket knife
- Local maps
- Cell phone back-up battery
- Non-prescription medications like pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, laxatives...etc.
- A spare pair of prescription eyeglasses
- Femenine hygiene products
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream (if you have small children)
- Pet food, water, and dishes if you have a pet
- Sleeping bag per each member of the household
- Fire extinguisher
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, plastic utensils...etc
- Books, games, puzzles, cards, or other activities for children
- Toilet paper
- Plastic sheeting