Almost everything in a modern home requires electricity, like food prep, heating, entertainment and communication.
Before SHTF and you lose power for a week or longer, make sure you have enough supplies for summer and winter. (h/t to FoodStorageMoms.com)
What to stock up on for a winter power outage
On a regular day, short-term power outages are annoying and inconvenient.
However, things are more serious if you’re suddenly facing a power outage in winter. Aside from the lack of electricity, you need to keep your family warm and cook food in cold weather.
Before disaster strikes in winter, stock up on these essential prepping supplies:
Several ways to heat your home
Stock up on items and devices that you can use to stay warm when the power goes out.
- Extra warm clothing like hats, gloves, snow pants, thermal underwear, socks and coveralls
- Hot water bottles
- Indoor gas heater
- Indoor kerosene heater
- Sleeping bags
- Warm blankets
Ideally, you should have a supply of non-perishable food year-round. Even if it’s freezing outdoors, fresh food won’t last long if you don’t have electricity.
If you’re just starting your food stockpile, you should at least have enough food to feed your whole family for one week. You also need to prepare several ways to heat or cook food without relying on electricity.
If you have a gas stove, make sure you also stock up on fuel.
Stock up on the foods in the list below and learn some recipes so you can throw something together quickly when SHTF and it’s cold outdoors.
- Canned fruits, vegetables and meat
- Canned soup
- Cooking oil
- Dried fruit
- Grains like couscous, oatmeal, quinoa, or rice
- Herbs and spices
- Nut butters
- Nuts and seeds
- Pet food
During winter the lack of sufficient heat in your house might freeze up your pipes. If you have a well and the pump runs on electricity, it won’t work during a power outage.
Make sure you have enough water for every member of your household. You should have at least four gallons of water per person per day since you need water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
If there’s enough space in your stockpile, get a week’s worth of water or more for the whole family. (Related: Prepping tips: What to expect when you lose power for one week.)
Small tools and electric devices will require lots of batteries so stock up before SHTF.
Flashlights and candles
Once the power goes out, you’ll need flashlights and candles to navigate when it’s too dark to see. If you’re using flashlights, get extra batteries. When using candles, get matchsticks and lighters.
Be careful when leaving candles in rooms, especially if you have pets or small children that might accidentally knock them over. Never leave lit candles unattended before you go to bed.
If you’re lucky, a power outage in your neighborhood will only last a couple of hours. But sometimes, they can last several days or weeks. When this happens, you need a battery-powered or hand-crank radio to monitor the news.
A full tank of gas and extra gas
Before a power outage, make sure your car always has a full tank, with extra gas secured somewhere in your garage.
If SHTF, you might need to evacuate and it’s better to have too much gas than not enough when you have to leave immediately.
It may sound silly but you’re not going to camp outside during winter in a tent.
If the weather is freezing, gather the whole family in one room in your house. You can huddle under blankets and stay warm in the tent to conserve heat.
Reminders for a winter power outage
Once you’ve stocked up on supplies, do these things if the power goes out during winter:
- Shut off the main water valve to prevent pipes from freezing.
- Make a warm room. Even if you still have a heating source, it might not be enough to heat your whole house. Choose one room big enough for the whole family and sleep there to keep warm. Cover the doors and windows and insulate the room with blankets.
- Store perishable food items in the freezer instead of the refrigerator to keep them cold a little longer. Don’t open the fridge or freezer unless you have to.
- Store perishables outside in the snow. If it’s cold enough (less than 32 degrees), you can leave some items outside in the shade to keep them cold longer.
What to stock up on for a summer power outage
While a summer power outage isn’t as dangerous as a winter one, you still need to stock up on supplies.
After a few hours of the power being out your food might spoil quickly so stock up on a week’s supply of non-perishable food items.
You can get dehydrated faster in the summer, so store enough water for drinking, cleaning, cooking and gardening.
If you have frequent summer power outages, it might be a good idea to get a propane or electric camping refrigerator so you can keep perishable items cold without electricity.
Heat blocking curtains
Certain states can reach temperatures of over 100 degrees in the summer. Without electricity, your home will feel much hotter.
To stay cool, get quality heat-blocking curtains.
Battery-powered fans and batteries
Stay cool with battery-powered fans and extra batteries. You can also get backup power sources that you can recharge with solar panels.
If you don’t want to spend too much money on batteries, get hand fans instead.
- Spraying yourself with water from a misting bottle or wrapping a damp scarf around your neck if you need to work outdoors.
- Wearing loose-fitting clothes.
- Eating lighter meals with more veggies and fruits instead of fatty foods.
- Drinking lots of water.
Candles are handy when it’s getting dark, but they’ll make the room hotter as they burn. To keep your home cool in the summer, use flashlights or electric lanterns with extra batteries.
Reminders for a summer power outage
After you’ve secured your supplies, keep these things in mind during a summer power outage:
- Keep your fridge full since it will stay cold longer than an empty fridge.
- Keep the refrigerator door closed so the food stays cold longer. Decide what you need before you open the door.
- Keep out the sun to keep your house cool and comfortable. Use heat-blocking curtains if you can.
- If you’re feeling too warm, cool off with a cool bath and let your hair and body dry on their own. Don’t waste the graywater; use it to water your plants.
Get your preps and survival stockpile ready before SHTF so you have everything you may need for a power outage in summer or winter.