When the Power Goes Out

I first want to say, that I am no expert on any of this readiness stuff.  Just like you may be-I am just an everyday wife and mom who knows I need to have some better things in place.  When the tornadoes came through three years ago we lived without power for almost a week.  I remember the first night as the darkness over came our house and town.  Not only was it dark-it was quiet.  A kind of quiet I had never heard.  Soon over the next few days that quiet was filled with the hum of generators and chain saws.10179047_10201590939751558_1096325659_o

We struggled to find batteries.  We had no communication to the outside world.  Our phones had no service.  We were in a crisis state.  We knew what ever happened was bad.  I had heard the F5 tornado not far from our house.  I had heard it roar as it tore the world as we knew it up side down.  We knew a smaller one hit by our house because of the damage.  Either way,  we made it through that week.  Finally got batteries by driving 20-30 minutes to get gas and buy batteries (no power meant no power for pumps for gas).  We listened to the radio every night.  We were blessed with hot water because we had a gas hot water heater.  We were playing “Little House on the Prairie” we told the kids some days.

Lessons I learned from that week:

  • Have flashlights ready with batteries that work.
  • Have a battery power radio with batteries.
  • Have a battery power weather radio. (We realized on the TV and internet for the weather all day, it was evening when the power went out.  We were helpless in knowing what the next storm was doing, cause I didn’t know were our weather radio had been placed.)
  • Learn to grill a lot of food fast!
  • You get a clean fridge and freezer after a week
  • We charged our phone in our cars
  • We got all our text ready-when we got signal, we quickly hit the send button.
  • The little battery power tea lights are great for the kids to take to bed with them.

Things we said we would do differently:

  • We didn’t rush out and get a generator.  We had our RV-hybrid pop out, that we did use it for little things. Only if we fill our freezer with a cow will we get a small generator.
  • We needed a box of all our power outage stuff together.  Instead of rushing around looking for stuff.
  • We would have like to have more solar items to charge things.
  • Walkie Talkies would have been nice to have.  Or known where they were.
  • Make sure we had enough flash lights for all kids.
  • Make sure we had lanterns to use for family time.
  • Get more of the battery candles
  • Use the solar outside lights inside-like in the bathroom
  • Get glow sticks

We have created a Power out box.  It will keep extra flashlights, radio, batteries, candles, matches,  battery candles,  and instructions on what to do.  While I hope to never be in a Katrina situation or Sandy- a week without power is enough.  But long term power outage- would be like living off the grid.  And a kind of living we only think about once in a blue moon.  But basic power outages is what we are prepared for.  From storms or natural disasters.  Something bigger-we would need bigger planning.

Web pages and ideas good for getting prepared and surviving a power outage.

      • Red Cross is always FULL of great information.
      • Here is a great site on survival about food safety.  I think I needs some thermometers for our fridges and freezer!
      • Check out all the Flashlights!
      • Having a portable Generators is always handy.  If you want a big time one, check out your local hardware stores for suggestions.
      • Solar Panels would be handy to have.
      • Maybe a hand crank weather radio would be handy?
      • Check out gdonna’s idea for a battery power fan!  Now that is handy living in the south!!
      • Sometimes the power goes out when it is cold.  Direct Energy gives some tips to survive that time.
      • If you know a storm is coming, like a hurricane or bad thunderstorm, charge all phones, iPads and other electronics.

What is in our Power Out Box

  • Big flash ($5)
  • Little flash lights ($1 each)
  • Battery power Tea Lights  ($10 for 24)
  • Other flash lights (I buy the cheap ones with batteries-cause if we use them-they will disappear) ($8)
  • Radio (note-leave batteries out) (Had in the house along with the batteries ($9)
  • Mason jars with tea lights and matches (these may hide somewhere else-more tomorrow. (had candles, jar, waterproof matches ($2.5)
  • So you can see I didn’t spend that much


Things we still want to put in there:  Bigger Power candles (will wait for a good sale:)), glow sticks (those should be in the dollar section of Target soon), and some lanterns.

We do have two good flashlights by our bed, so if we need them at night time, we have them.

Also our check list-to remind us of things to do during a power outage.

What to do when the power goes out

  •   Stay Calm
  •   If it is storming, make sure you are listening to the weather radio. Be Safe.
  •   Get the flash light
  •   Get Power out box

Power Out Box

  •   Hand out flash lights
  •   Have everyone turn off lights and radios
  •   Keep Living Room light on so we know when power comes back on.
  •   Mom or Dad can check on reason for outage.
  •   If it looks like it is going to be a while- unplug small appliances.
  •   Put out battery candles and other lights
  •   No Candles inside-unless mommy and daddy light them
  •   Remember no flashing light in others eyes
  •   DO not open fridge
  •   The weather outside will determine how we handle keeping warm or keeping cool.

In the next coming weeks I am going to be looking at different ways to be prepared in an emergency.  I would love for you to share with me how your family is prepared in these different areas.


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  1. Cassie Keichline Slossar says:

    we would be lost without our generator, we could have one tv, stove, fridge (although at night whe we turned off the gen the fridge would be off too…ok though), the kids rooms (we needed them to have heat at night) we have two big lanterns (take 4 D batteries) 4 small lanterns ( AA batteries) plenty of rechargeable batteries, large , thick pillar candles to place in front of mirrors (that trick does actually work), and a grill is awesome!

  2. Cassie Keichline Slossar says:

    and if worse came to worse we could take the top off our well and cyphin the water out

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