A Blackout Kit – Essential Items to Surviving a Long Term Power Outage
Preparing for a blackout or power outage is one of the fundamental areas that many people avoid. Making your own blackout kit is a smart way to take steps in preparing yourself and your family for an impending power outage.
Power outages can be very disruptive and chaotic, and if not prepared, could lead to real safety issues for you and your family. Having a blackout kit is a prudent way to prepare for these types of emergencies if they occur. There are several areas to consider when defining your blackout kit; food, communication, water, light, and heat.
Food and access to fresh water are the two areas of highest concern. If an extended outage does take place, ensuring you have enough to sustain your family for the duration is the most important aspect of the blackout kit. Can goods and dry goods are commonly stored for this purpose. As your refrigerator and freezers begin to warm due to lack of electricity, these items will be consumed first, but if an outage lasts for several days, these items will eventually spoil. Bottled water is also important as some homes will be unable to provide water to faucets if the pumps that require electricity are inoperable.
The other basic items to store are the typical blankets, batteries, flashlights and radios. However, if a major disaster were to occur, battery powered items are only good for so long. It may be in your best interest to look at more reliable and sustainable sources of power in case the power outage lasts for longer periods. In the case of a natural disaster like hurricane Katrina, power was unavailable to many parts of the city for days and even weeks.
There are newer technologies that can provide longer term power needs if this avenue is pursued. There are flashlights and radios that are not powered by traditional batteries, but generators that derive their power through a hand crank device. Once the crank is turned several times it stores the energy within an internal generator to power the device at will.
A power inverter may also be something that would be added to your blackout kit. This small portable device will take a normal DC battery from a car or boat and convert it into an AC current source of power sufficient to run items in your home like a microwave or other small appliances. You can literally run some of your home electrical devices from your car, which can be important.
Another reason this device is a must for your blackout kit, is that some systems in your home may not run unless a small amount of electricity is provided. Even though you have a natural gas or fuel oil boiler used to heat your home, it may not kick on unless a small electric current is provided. The power inverter can supply the needed electricity to enable your boiler to operate. This alone would pay for the device, if your home is without power in the dead of winter and your heating system needed a small amount to warm your family.
In summary, a blackout kit can be easy to make and an important aspect of surviving a long term power outage. The items you select can make a big difference in your family’s comfort and safety.