A good deal of the tasks that are done during the course of a normal day will still have to be accomplished during a power outage. For the sake of this article let us assume the crisis that caused the power outage is not an immediate threat to you and your family, and that you plan to shelter in place.
At some point during any disaster, the disaster itself becomes less relevant, while the day-to-day tasks needed for survival take center stage. You and your family are a world unto yourselves at this point and your goal is to survive until the power is restored.
If you Do Not Have It Now You Will Have to Live without It during a Crisis
That is fine providing you can actually survive without certain things, so it is important to know before something happens what it is you really need for survival.
Water is something you cannot live without for very long, so it has to be a priority. Water also needs certain protections so it does not freeze and damage the containers and it must be protected from contamination and damage.
Tossing a few gallons on a shelf is not adequate for any extended crisis, so it is important to know how much you really need to meet the daily requirements of you and your family. When you have arrived at a figure, add 15 percent, for waste, damage and charity. You may have friends, other family members and neighbors in desperate need, so calculate charitable giving into your figures if you are so inclined.
For hydration alone, the average adult needs at least two quarts/liters per day and another two quarts/liters for oral hygiene, face and hand washing and other personal grooming needs. The one gallon per day does not include washing of clothes and proper bathing, nor does it account for cooking, dishwashing and area cleaning such as sanitation of countertops and food preparation surfaces.
Considering all this, you will need roughly five to seven gallons per person per day. Keep in mind anyone can go a few days without bathing or washing clothes, but after three days, you need a proper bath, and clothes will have to be hand laundered. You should never forgo proper oral hygiene even for a few days.
In this case, materials to maintain your shelter, so consider what it is that would be needed to make emergency repairs to your home.
Most insurance companies would expect you to do all you can to mitigate damage to your home by making emergency repairs. For example, if a large limb fell onto the roof and created a hole where rain or snow could get in you should have the materials such as tarps and plastic to temporarily cover the opening so as not to allow anymore damage, or at the very least limit the amount of damage. The same would apply to windows and walls.
Of course, the insurance company may not be a top priority during the crisis, but you would still need to have materials to make repairs for your own comfort and well-being.
Heavy-duty tarps, rolls of heavy plastic, plywood sheeting along with nails/screws and duct tape can be used to make emergency repairs to your home. You know your home better than anyone else does, so start a list of supplies that could be used. Additional items would include brooms, shovels, gloves, safety glasses, heavy shoes/boots, garbage bags/trash barrels and dust masks.
If you need medication every day now, then of course you will need it every day during a crisis. You will also need medications for stomach upset, allergies and for pain relief among other medications, all of which can be purchased over the counter. You should have a 30-day supply of maintenance medications (ones you take every day) on hand. This would be beyond what you currently have on hand for daily use.
It may be difficult to get a 30-day supply of prescription medications just for emergencies, but speak to your health care provider about your concerns. It is not recommended you buy prescription drugs over the Internet unless you can verify the source and that the providers do require a doctor’s prescription.
Injuries to persons increase during a crisis because people are often times performing physical tasks in which they are not accustomed to doing. Machines and tools powered by electricity may have performed many of the tasks that now need to be done by hand.
Broken fingers and limbs, strained muscles and twisted ankles would need medications and splints/wrap bandages for treatment along with hot and cold packs.
You would have to assume that your ability to cook would be limited during a power outage unless you have taken specific steps to ensure you can cook and heat foods when the power goes out. Otherwise, you are limited to foods than can be eaten from the can or package.
Eating canned foods cold is okay for a few days but knowing a hot meal is coming can boost the morale of everyone in the family. Junk food is not nourishing, and its consumption should be limited during a crisis. On the other hand, canned spinach is nourishing but not necessarily, something you want to sit down and eat for a meal. The point is you have to plan. You cannot take the attitude it is only a few days and you and the others can “rough it”, by eating cold foods along with Slim Jims and chips.
Food and the storage of food must be carefully considered, and once again, if you do not have the means or plan to have the means to boil water then make sure you do not stockpile foods that require this type of preparation.
You do not want to stockpile dehydrated/freeze dried foods and then realize you do not have enough clean water for reconstitution of the foods or enough fuel for heating the water. Having one thing may require you to have something else to accomplish what you need too, so when stockpiling foods consider the energy and water needed for preparation and make sure you stockpile accordingly.
Candles are considered a fire hazard so use with caution. Propane and oil lanterns can give you hours of illumination along with battery-powered flashlights and other devices. You will need light and if the crisis is an extended one you will need enough batteries and fuels for the entire period. Plan your chores for the daylight hours so you can conserve on fuels and batteries.
It Is Just a Start
The above list is certainly not a comprehensive one. It is a starter list if you will of the very basics needed. Each situation is different and personal wants and needs do vary as well, but regardless of all that, you will need what is listed above regardless of the crisis.
You do not have to be a Prepper to realize the need for emergency supplies. The logic is simple. If you cannot leave your home because of a disaster then you need everything in your home to survive the disaster.