If a catastrophe happened today and knocked out your power, are you prepared?  

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that major events caused people’s electrical power to be interrupted for an average of 7.8 hours. However, some states averaged as much as 15 to 42 hours. 

If you find yourself living without electrical power or unclean water, you’ll need to have certain things on hand in order to provide for your basic needs. Like having food and water, adequate clothing and other items to keep you safe.

Here are some suggestions for what to put in your survival kit.

Clean Water

The Center for Disease Control recommends storing at least one gallon of water per person and pet per day in survival kits. Store a supply that will last between 3 days and 2 weeks if you can. You will need water for drinking, cooking and hygiene purposes.

They also suggest storing a bottle of unscented chlorine bleach to use for disinfecting water, if necessary. So include a one-gallon collapsible water container in your kit to use for this purpose, too.


For food, you’ll need to put together a supply of food that doesn’t require refrigeration or cooking. Choose ready-to-eat foods you will eat. Looking in your pantry will likely give you a list of options to stock up on.

There are plenty of non-perishable options to choose from, so be sure to choose a variety so you don’t grow tired of eating the same thing for each meal. The following are good options:

  • Dry cereal and canned milk
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Canned ready-to-eat meats/meals (soup, pasta, chili, stew, tuna, chicken)
  • Dried noodles and soups that just need water added
  • Trail mix, granola, dried fruit, fruit leather
  • Nuts and peanut butter
  • Protein bars and cereal/granola bars
  • Juice boxes
  • Ground coffee, tea bags, and sweeteners of choice
  • Jerky

If you have infants or pets, be sure to include food appropriate for them as well. 

And don’t forget items you’ll need to serve and prepare these items. You’ll need a can opener, eating utensils, paper plates, and cups, along with any other specialty items depending on what you put in your food kit. Add a few trash bags and a roll of paper towels too so you can keep your cooking area tidy.

Cooking Kit

If you have access to a barbecue, fire pit, or a propane camp stove, be sure to include the items you’ll need to cook on and care for your heat source. Such as a fire starter, kindling and wire brush.

Saucepans are versatile for warming up water for coffee or tea, soups, and ready-to-eat meals. A larger pot can be used to boil water, if necessary.

You’ll also need spatulas, heatproof stirring spoons. Along with a sponge and small container of dish soap to tidy up after cooking.


Add clothing to your survival kit list. You’ll need a few changes of clothes appropriate for outside nighttime weather conditions. Without heat, you’ll need to bundle up, even if you are inside.

So pack a blanket and/or sleeping bags for each person. If you live where it gets really cold, you may want to include an emergency space blanket as well.

Work gloves, rain gear, and sturdy shoes should be included as well. Depending on the type of emergency, you may need to move debris and avoid stepping on broken glass, nails, etc.

Light Source

There are plenty of battery-powered lighting options to choose from. Long-range flashlight, headlamp, or lantern are all great choices. Just be sure to include extra batteries.

Add some waterproof matches and/or a couple of butane lighters to your survival supplies. You may need them to light a fire for warmth.

First Aid/Medical/Personal Hygiene Kit

A good first aid kit should include items to treat minor cuts and burns. You should include bandaids in a variety of sizes and shapes, safety pins, rolls and pads of gauze, scissors, and adhesive tape. 

Your kit should also include a thermometer, disposable sterile gloves, hand sanitizer, tweezers and packets of individual sanitary wipes for cuts and abrasions. As well as creams for various purposes: antibiotic, antiseptic, skin rash, and insect bites.

Also include a 7-day supply of any prescription medications, too. Don’t forget pets who may have medications as well. Over the counter medicines for coughs, colds, pain relief, and eye flushes are other good choices. 

To keep your body clean and hygienic, pack a plastic ziplock bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, Q-tips, baby wipes, soap, and deodorant. If applicable, include feminine sanitary items. 

Since flushing the toilet may not be an option, you may need a bucket. Place rolls of toilet paper and small-sized trash bags inside for storage until needed.

Alternate Power Source

Having a generator can be an invaluable item to have at your disposal. You can use it to plug in a heater, electric hot plate, phone charger, and more. Click here for more information on how to choose the proper type of generator.

Communication Devices

To stay connected with the outside world, pack a battery-powered AM/FM radio so you can receive up-to-date information on your local emergency situations. Two-way radios and a backup charger for your cellphone are also smart choices.

Start Putting Together Your Survival Kit Today

An emergency situation can arise without warning. Electrical power can go out at any time due to power grid issues unrelated to a natural disaster occurring.

So start putting your survival kit together today. Start with the items you have on hand. Then make a list of things you need to add so you can pick them up when your budget and time allow.

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