Yesterday’s post about a 72 hour battery kit was pretty good but I realized that I haven’t done a simple blackout kit.
Basic Blackout Kit
Something every family should have, is a blackout kit.
At the most basic level that would include:
- food that doesn’t require cooking
- some bottled water, particularly if your water company needs power to get water to your home.
- flashlights and batteries
- portable radio and batteries
- morale builders like books, board games and the like
The flashlights are probably the most important thing if it happens at night. Having controllable light at night is a major morale booster. An LED flashlight last 10x as long as regular flashlights on the same number of batteries. What is really good are those flashlights that plug into the wall that come on when the power goes off. Good places to put these would be near the main blackout box and at the top and bottom of the stairs and by the exits.
The food can be as simple as canned soup or peanut butter and crackers. Or you could go all fancy with dehydrated meals, MREs or food bars. Heck, GORP (Grand Old Raisins and Peanuts) would be just fine. If you have a grill then you can go with food that can be cooked. You will need some ovenproof cookware that you can use on the grill without melting the handles.
Get a case or two of bottled water and hide it under the bathroom sink or something. It isn’t like water goes bad, despite the expiration date printed on it. That comes from an old New Jersey law that required expiration dates on all packaged foods, they dropped that requirement ages ago but the water companies have found it works quite well as a marketing trick.
A portable radio is really handy to find out what is going on. How you react to a blackout really depends on how big it is. If the blackout covers several states in your region because a power plant exploded, that represents a different kind of problem from one that only covers your neighborhood, because a squirrel chewed through a cable. One you can take a short drive to normalcy, the other you’d have to drive further then your car can carry in gas. Actually you can count the radio in your car as a portable battery operated radio but that is not very convenient. A really good radio can use more then just batteries like solar or a crank. A great radio allows you to receive the AM and FM bands, the weather bands, and the shortwave bands.