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Emergency Preparedness

Top Helpful Inventions To Have During A Blackout


All too often we realize what we really needed during an electrical blackout, after the fact. For example, a friend of mine stocked up on canned goods in anticipation of a blackout, however, he forgot that his can opener was electric. I decided to put together a list of inventions that you need/or would want during a blackout, and as added twist, I'll include a bit of history about those inventions.

Flashlight & Candles

Battery Powered Flashlight
First thing you want when the lights go off is an alternative source of lighting. While candles work and can provide some heat, they can also be a fire hazard, and need to be watched, also you can't walk around with candles (stock up on matches and lighters too).

The best flashlights now have led bulbs that are bright and less of a drain on batteries. If you anticipate a blackout, make sure you test your flashlights in advance and keep an extra supply of batteries. Buy several flashlights, so every member of your household can carry one. And buy different types, both handhelds to carry, and lantern types that you can use as a room light.


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If you know that there is a possibility of a blackout happening, start charging every electronic device that you own and that could include your: laptop, cell phones, electric toothbrush, handheld games, cameras, and anything else you can think off.

Make sure you have extra batteries for your flashlights and small radios. There are flashlights and radios that do not require batteries, but honestly, I have not been impressed with the flashlights that you shake up to generate enough power to light up. The light produced has always been dim and short-lived. However, I purchased a small hand-cranked powered radio and it worked like a charm.

Keeping Your Food Cold - Ice & Cooler Box

ice cooler filled with drinks
Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images
First thing you should do during a blackout is keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. If the blackout only lasts a day or two your groceries will stay okay. So if you have to open the fridge or freezer, think about what you want and grab it as quickly as possible, don't stand in front of the refrigerator thinking about what you want like you might be in a habit of doing.

According to the CDC:

  • A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours (add ice).
  • For the Refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice.

Also keep a cooler box on hand for emergencies, as illustrated in the photo, the same kind you use for picnic food or to keep beverages cold while outside. Fill it up with ice, if it is available to you to purchase and use it to keep your foods frozen. You can also put a sealed bag (you don't want water dripping) in your freezer to help keep things cold. Hopefully you can replace the ice if the blackout last for days. Dry ice also works for the same purpose, during hurricane Sandy dry ice was being distributed. Just remember not to touch dry ice with your bare hands.

Besides your foods think about any medicines you need to keep cool, like insulin, put an ice pack close to you medicines but not too close that they freeze.

Keep The Right Foods & Water On Hands

easy to open tin can of baked beans
px photography/Getty Images
It's a good idea to always keep a few days supply of dried and canned food on hand for an emergency. And if you know a blackout is a possibility with an impending storm or hurricane. These are the things to stock up on if you are still able to shop. And don't forget to have a hand-powered can-opener or buy easy to open cans. The following are examples of good foods to have in supply: peanut and other nut butters, canned fish, crackers, power or nutrition bars, crackers, or freeze-dried camping meals. However, resist the temptation to eat junk food, during times of stress you need to feed your body right.

Sometimes your water supply will be still be safe to drink form your tap. Announcements are made to that effect. However, water can be boiled for one minute to kill bacteria. If you can stock up on bottled water, one gallon per day per person.

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