As the stating goes, an ounce of avoidance is much better than a pound of cure. This claim came all so true to me and my family a couple of years back throughout a significant city-wide power failure. Taken totally by surprise, my better half as well as I never ever assumed we’d face the challenges that go along with a power outage. And, we certainly weren’t ready for seven straight days of this type of ordeal. It just so happened that our neighbors were kind enough to lend us a power supply from their generator.

However, we quickly understood that we were lucky this time and knew that we had done ourselves a serious disservice by not being adequately prepared. It was at this point that we began to take note of some of the things that are needed to avoid hardship and despair during power outages. Here are the top five items that we noticed a need to have during such times:

1. An abundant supply of clean drinking water. You can never have enough drinking water. Being one of the most basic needs for the human body, a clean supply of drinking water should be the first item on the list. With electrical companies being out of service during these times, the main water supply provided by the city may become contaminated due to the disruption of the normal sterilization procedures. To avoid this type of situation, having clean, fresh water on hand for drinking and cooking is paramount.

2. Dry or can foods. Anytime a power outage occurs, you never know how long it will last. So, accumulating food items that have long shelf lives is needed. Any type of can food will meet the need. Of course, once each can has been opened, all of its contents must be eaten or discarded within 24 hours to be safe. Dry foods like raisins, nuts, potato chips, dry cereal, dry milk, dry oatmeal, etc are really good choices for daily provisions. And, if you desire a wider variety, you can always purchase military MREs – just be prepared to spend a little extra for these items.

3. A power generator (gas-operated or solar-operated). Having a power generator gives you the ability to keep the necessary appliances up and running (i.e. refrigerators, lighting, microwave ovens, portable stove top burners, charging devices for cell phones, etc). With any power generator, you will need to have a professional look at it beforehand to make sure that it is properly set up and running correctly.

Of course, with a gas-operated power generator, you’ll need to store up an emergency supply of gas that is mixed with a fuel stabilizer. This should allow you to keep good quality gas on hand for up to 6 to 9 months. On the other hand, if you choose a solar-operated power generator, you’ll need to make sure that you have a well-sunlit area designated ahead of time.

Doing so will allow for maximum energy consumption from the sun for optimal power supply. You may also want to look into portable solar charging devices which are usually less expensive than your solar-operated generators. These little nifty devices can provide a source of power charging using natural energy from the sun for items anywhere from car batteries to laptop computers, cell phones, mp4 players, gaming devices, etc. Such a device that supplies power from the sun is just the ticket during a power outage.

4. Emergency first aid kit. There are several types and brands of first aid kits that will meet the need for emergency situations. In order to be prepared, you can purchase a first aid kit at your local drug store, at a Red Cross facility, or you could simply assemble your own. If you decide to assemble your own, search the internet to find the needed items. Make sure that once your first aid kit is assembled, it is stored out of the reach of children but easily accessible to adults to ensure safety.

5. Cooperation. Power outages call for homes, neighborhoods, and communities to cooperate for the good of everyone affected. Because power outages (especially lengthy outages) can produce underlying feelings of fear, uncertainty, and despair, being able to work hand in hand with others is vital for mental well-being and survival. As in any emergency situation, cooperation is one of the main ingredients for resolving issues while facilitating order and harmony in the midst of adverse conditions. It’s best to be mentally prepared to incorporate a sense of teamwork and unity to make sure that all needs are met and issues resolved during emergency situations.

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