The top 10 must-have items for surviving winter power outages

December 19, 2008

By Staff

NEW — 1:39 p.m. Dec. 19, 2008

You can never be too careful in making sure you are prepared for the winter power outages. Depending on how much damage is done by a storm, your power could be out for several hours to several days. Here is a list from the CampSafe Coalition of “must-have” items to ensure that you and your family are safe during those long power outages:

1) Battery powered lighting – When evening rolls around, battery-powered lights and lamps provide a safe and reliable light source. Flashlights are handy for temporary uses, but battery-powered camping lanterns can be used to light rooms, hallways, and stairs without the fear of an open flame candle.

2) Bottled water – Don’t wait until the last minute to buy bottled water. Having several cases of bottled water on hand for drinking and cooking is a smart safeguard. You can never be too cautious when it comes to using clean water.

3) Propane stove - While crackers and chips may hold you over for a short time, you may need some alternative foods. A propane stove is an excellent way to boil water and prepare hot meals. Portable propane stoves also use 1-pound propane cylinders and are easy to use.

4) Canned food and high-energy snacks – Keep a stock of canned food and items that are easy to cook on a portable propane stove. Also, keep a variety of energy bars and snacks available to eat throughout the day. This ensures hot meals for your family.

5) Portable propane heater – When it comes to having an emergency heat source, it’s best to have a portable heater that is indoor safe approved. Portable radiant models feature an oxygen depletion sensor that automatically shuts the heater off when air circulation is reduced. Whether you use a radiant heater or a catalytic heater, the CampSafe Coalition warns never to sleep overnight in an enclosed space while any fuel-burning appliance is operating due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  

6) Sleeping bags – They keep your body heat inside while keeping the cold air out. Some sleeping bags are designed for colder temperatures than others. Be sure to wear a stocking cap on your head to prevent losing body heat. Having a sleeping bag combined with a head covering is a sure way to keep warm at night.

7) Cell phone – In cases of emergencies, a cell phone is good to have for contacting emergency services, relatives, or calling for information about weather, roads, etc.

8) Weather radio – Having a weather radio helps you to plan ahead. They broadcast alerts for emergencies, tornados, thunderstorms, blizzards, etc. Knowing what the weather is expected to do can help you plan how you will use your supplies of food and fuel.

9) Gas-powered generator – This is a good investment to have during long power outages. A generator can be used for recharging batteries and keeping the refrigerator cold, just to name a few. However, you might want to run your generator conservatively to save on gasoline.

10) Gasoline and propane supply – Having the necessary amounts of fuel to run your generator, snow blower, propane heater, propane stove and other small appliances is important to keep in mind. Many small propane appliances can run five to eight hours on one 1-pound propane cylinder. Generator fuel use varies from one to four gallons of gasoline in about a 15-20 hour span. Never use a portable generator inside.

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