One of the scenarios most likely to occur that has nothing to do with extreme, Doomsday scenarios is the black out. Power outages are on the rise (source) due to aging infrastructure as well as the rising demand from consumers. As we’re using more and more devices to make our lives easier, we’re pushing it thin. Besides this, there are a number of external risk factors, such as EMP attacks (natural or man-made) and hacker attacks.
Prepping for a lights out situation isn’t just for preppers, it’s for anyone worried about small-scale emergencies. The idea is to have a box or a pouch where you keep a few inexpensive yet critical items to assist you in power outages. Some preppers use plastic boxes to keep them items but you can also have a pouch that you can take with you in case you have to bug out.
You can never have enough flashlights! Small or big, battery-powered or hand-crank, you should have at least a few of them inside your lights out kit. Surefire, Ultrafire and Maglite are all good brands that you can find on Amazon with a quick search. To make sure you pick something of quality, all you have to do is read the star reviews.
There’s also the debate between LED and incandescent light bulbs on flashlights. LEDs take less battery but incandescent shine brighter, very useful if you’re dealing with fog. But for bug in situations such as this one, that’s not important. Just keep in mind that LEDs are costlier to replace.
A Small AM/FM Emergency Radio
With the power gone, knowing what’s happening is going to be critical. What if things go from bad to worse and you need to bug out? A company named iRonsnow is selling such a radio for $20 on Amazon that’s hand-crank, has solar panels on it, has a built-in flashlight and even a cell-phone charger; it’s probably the best seller in the category.
A Lantern. Or Two
Lanterns are great because they light up the whole space around them, useful if you want to read a good book until the storm passes or play board games with your family.
You can find battery-powered lanterns online and some of them even have solar panels at the top, so you can recharge them during the day (if the power outage lasts for days or if you’re hiking or if you take them with you hiking or camping).
…and a lighter or matches to light them. The only problem are, they’re a fire hazard. You’re not going to believe this but between 2009 and 2013, an average of 9,300 house fires per year were caused by candles. 86 people died and over 800 were injured (source). If you have small children or pets that live inside your home, you may want to keep the above statistics in mind.
They are brighter than you’d think, they don’t need a lighter or matches to be lit and, best of all, the fire hazard is zero. Chemlights glow through a process called chemiluminescence, which is, in essence, a chemical reaction. They’re a safe alternative to candles and the best part is, they work under windy as well as wet conditions.
A Battery Charger
No that you’ll be able to use it when your town or city descends into darkness but at least you’ll know where to find it when you need it.
The more flashlight you have, the more batteries you’ll need. Even if you don’t, you’ll still use them to power your emergency radio or your other electronic devices.
You can add as much gear as you’d like but keep in mind the volume and the weight. Think about the scenarios you’re preparing for. You should stockpile things that will make your life easier during a power outage that won’t go directly into the kit. Things like:
- a first aid kit
- a water bladder (fill it with water from your sink before that runs out as well)
- a whistle (since phone lines may be dead)
- board games and a deck of cards
- food and water
- a Kindle
- an MP3 player
- a propane stove and a canister of fuel (for cooking purposes)
- maybe even a DVD player
- a first aid booklet
- blankets to keep yourself warm
Blackout kits are one way of preparing yourself and your family for this common small-scale disaster, which is why it’s easier to convince them to do it (if they’re not into prepping). Keep in mind that the supplies you’ll get won’t just be helpful during blackouts. They can assist you in any kind of disaster situation. Your money will be well spent.
However, if you want to do something today that won’t cost you anything, how about you do a little planning for these power outages? You can start with a list of items you will need for your kit or you can look for a convenient place to keep the box. You may even start reading on topics such as first aid, cooking on a propane stove or taking care of hygiene with minimal water.