Our lives are driven by electricity. We use it to pump our water, cook our food, and charge our devices that keep us together. It is so important that it’s easy to forget it might not always be available or imagine our lives without it. But in a power outage, or worse yet, a natural disaster, you could find yourself without electricity and other creature comforts you’re accustomed to. No need to panic. With a little forethought, and some ingenuity, a power outage can be handled with ease.

Here are five important things to keep in your house in case of a power outage.

 

1. Non-perishable foods

Of course, the first priority is to have a stock of non-perishable foods available and stocked in your cupboard. When the power goes out, foods kept safe and edible by the refrigerator will be at risk and will need to be consumed quickly to avoid waste. You can cook them using a bunsen burner and cooking fuel but, depending on the length of the outage, you may need to resort to back up options for you and your family.

 

Examples of good non-perishable foods to have around are: crackers, trail mix, protein bars, canned food such as tuna, soup, vegetables, dried fruit, and non-refrigerated individual cartons of milk (pasteurized for your protection). Keep your supply in a cool, dry area of your house such as the cupboard or a safe place in the basement or attic. Check on your supply every so often to check for spoilage. Refresh the stash every 3-5 years to be safe.

 

2. Water Purifying Systems

No matter what, you will always use way more water than you think you will. Water is vital and we use it for a multitude of everyday household chores; washing, cooking, hygiene, etc.

 

Stock up on storable water. Water bottles do not last forever. Overtime, the water leaches chemicals from the plastic bottle that make the water toxic, not to mention with an awful taste. Storing them in the heat accelerates this process. Donate bottles or containers that go bad.

 

In addition to storing as much water as you can, store water purification tablets and a filtering system. That way you can purify any water you may find, if the worst should happen.

 

3. Medication

It’s good to have back up stores of important medication on hand. In cases of emergency, diabetics are often at risk of losing access to insulin and asthmatics often experience more attacks. If you or your family have these conditions, see if you can store extra insulin and inhalers. They may save a life. Additionally, store important medications for chronic diseases to wait out any lasting emergencies.

 

Also for good measure, keep an emergency safety kit around. You never know when you might need it.

 

4. Light Sources

It may go without saying, but without electricity you won’t have… well, light. You’ll need to keep emergency sources of light around. It will be necessary for performing some basic tasks and its easier to stay safe when you can see your way around.

 

Store extra sturdy flashlights and unscented candles around the house. Don’t forget the matches! Store an array of batteries of different sorts. You might consider investing in a few portable solar panels, which will help to charge a phone or refuel another important device. They can be a lifesaver when you are going an extended time without power and are reliable and easy to use.

 

Store all of your light sources in a secure, dry place, easy to find if an outage strikes.

 

5. Entertainment

Without smartphones, computers, video games, and Skype around, you and your family might find yourself bored in a power outage. High tension paired with boredom is a dangerous combination. Keep some constructive entertainment around the house to keep your minds occupied. Board games, books, and a crank radio are all good options.