Your blackout preparation guide: What do you really need?

Prepare your family for a blackoutWhen dealing with a frigid forecast, most people think of wearing extra layers under their winter coats or adding an extra blanket and flannel sheets to their beds, but there is actually a lot more to consider when expecting a blast of arctic temperatures.

In December and again a few weeks ago, thousands of Michigan households went without power because of the below-freezing temperatures, ice and snow. As the mercury drops again this week and weekend, it is important to prepare yourself and your family for a power outage. How to do that? With advice from the American Red Cross, we compiled a list of items to keep at the ready.

  • An emergency generator They can be pricey, but getting power up on your own can make a huge difference if you rely on electric heat or if a family member requires electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment.
  • One gallon of water per person, per day If pipes freeze, these will become necessary very quickly.
  • Non-perishable food and easy-to-prepare items Think peanut butter, whole-wheat crackers, nuts and trail mixes.
  • Flashlight Candles can be risky, so double-check that the batteries in your flashlight are fresh.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio Get an NOAA Weather Radio, if possible.
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • A 7-day supply of any medications
  • Family and emergency contact information Most people don’t have phone numbers memorized, but if your cell phone dies, you’ll need the numbers to be accessible.
  • A non-cordless telephone A phone that plugs into a jack is likely to work even when the power is out.
  • Extra blankets and board games A blackout presents a unique opportunity to spend quality time with family without distracting electronics, so make sure you stock up on things that can keep everyone entertained.


Photo credit: Jer Kunz

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Read 2 Comments

  1. I have a flashright that re-charges when I wind it up. It’s very handy. I also have a wind-up Victrola, which makes it possible to play music when the power is out.

  2. Hello

    I was just looking through your black out preparation article – (

    I noticed you included the Red Cross’s advice on what to keep in your first aid kit. I’ve actually just finished putting together an image based on this advice.The image makes it easier for people to understand what they need in their kit. It can also be saved and printed, making it even more useful.

    Would you be interested in taking a look ?

    Best regards


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