The Power Outage Checklist: How to Survive a Long-Term Power Outage

unhappy woman during blackout at home

We've all been in the situation where we're going about our usual day and suddenly, the power goes out. In most cases, you may think to yourself, "What do I do now?".

And usually, we don't have to wonder about that too long. The power is restored within an hour or so, if not sooner.

But what happens if the electricity doesn't come back on? What if you find yourself facing a long-term power outage?

That's when having a power outage checklist can save the day. Let's look at what it is and how you can prepare.

Planning Ahead Is Key

Because you never know when disaster could strike, it's important to be ready at all times. And not just for you, but for your entire family.

As you prepare your power outage checklist, it's a good idea to pack a backpack or a bucket for each individual family member. Put supplies in it that are specific to their needs and wants. That way, when the time comes to use it, they will have exactly what they need.

Store these packs in a basement or closet, along with the rest of your supplies. Keeping everything together will make it easy to access it all when you have to.

Now, what should be on your checklist? Let's go ahead and dive right into that.


It's our most basic need. And one we can only live about 3 days without. Having a supply of water on hand is one of the most important items on your power outage checklist.

Tap water may be the first thing that comes to mind... but not so fast. When the power goes out, purification systems can fail, leaving the water unsafe to drink.

In situations like that, boiling water is an option. Whether it be over a gas stove, fireplace, or portable cooker.

Or, bottled water is a great source. And it's easy to store. You can even get gallon jugs, or bigger, to keep in your storage area in the event of an outage.

And you don't have to stop at just water! Bottled Gatorade is a perfect source for replenishing electrolytes. Bottled or canned juice is another option. Or, if you want to dress up that glass of water, keep packets of powdered drink mix or hot chocolate on hand.


There's no doubt about it - you're going to get hungry. And depending on the situation, going to the grocery store may not be an option. That's the time when keeping a stockpile of food is going to come in very handy.

The kind of food you want to stock up on is non-perishable items. When the power is out, your refrigerator is not going to be able to do its job. So, it's important to have food that doesn't need special storage needs.

This includes things such as canned goods, packaged snacks, and dried fruit. Basically, think of anything you might take camping with you. Chances are, it's going to be food that can be easily stored and eaten without a lot of fuss or muss.

Cooking is still an option, even if the power is out. Gas powered stovetops, fireplaces, barbeques, or portable cookers can be a source of heat to get things cooking.

And don't forget about your furry friends! Keep plenty of pet food stored up, just in case.

Power Supply

Even when the main supply of power goes out, having an alternate source of power can make a huge difference in dealing with a long-term outage.

Portable or diesel generators can be a great source of alternative power. Depending on the size, you can supply electricity to a few appliances up to your entire house. Keep in mind you will need fuel to power the generator.

But if that's not an option, always keep a supply of flashlights, batteries (for the flashlights), candles, matches, lanterns, and anything else you can think of to give you a source of light.

Fireplaces and wood-burning ovens are a great source of heat during the winter months.

Personal Care

Keeping yourself, and your family, comfortable during an outage will make the situation easier for everybody involved.

Because an outage can happen at any time of the year, seasonally appropriate clothing is essential. Moisture-wicking clothing is best in the warm seasons. While thick, insulated clothing goes with the cold seasons.

If you have a baby, a healthy supply of diapers and wipes will be handy.

Don't forget about personal hygiene products. Pack each family members backpack or bucket with supplies that fit their needs and hygiene habits.

And adding comfort to your environment is always helpful! Heavy sleeping bags, extra blankets, pillows, and anything else that can make you comfortable in a rather uncomfortable situation will ease the stress.

First Aid

Whether you're in a natural disaster situation or someone simply bumps into something in the dark, having a first aid kit is a must.

Keep it stocked with the usual supply of bandages, medications, sterile gloves, medical tape, tweezers, and thermometer.

And not only do you need first aid supplies, make sure you have plenty of your everyday prescriptions as well. Nothing could be worse than being without the important medication you need.


Power outages are not the most entertaining of events. So chances are, you're going to get bored.

Keep a supply of board games, playing cards, books, battery operated gaming units, and anything else that can keep your family occupied.

While survival items are most important, entertainment is often the most overlooked supplies for an outage. But, should the power ever go out, you'll thank your lucky stars you checked this item off your list.

Having a Power Outage Checklist Can Be a Real Lifesaver

Being prepared when disaster strikes will give you one less thing to worry about. And making sure you've followed your power outage checklist will take care of you and your family in a time of need.

Want to read more blogs posts about safety and emergency preparation? Be sure to check out our Safety&Emergencies blog!


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