It has been less than 8 months since my family moved to the PNW. In that time we have experienced a few power outages. They were a rare occurrence back home in Southern California and almost never caused by storms (the storms there were nothing like they are here). The outages generally happened during the Summer when air conditioners and fans were blasting in every home and business. We were lucky enough to have an abundance of candles during our first power outage here. I guess it pays to be a family of Pagans and Heathens with boxes full of candles! After that we started putting extra funds into backup lights and such in the inevitability that another outage would occur.
One thing we did was the obvious. We bought more battery powered lamps and flashlights. We had a few from our camping supplies and our emergency flashlights but as our home is larger than before and we have a mobile toddler now we wanted more. Any sale on or clearance priced lamp/flashlight was something we pounced on. We always keep a lamp in each room (usually in a closet, under a bed or next to the couch) plus small flashlights. The flashlights with clips and strings were great to tie to baby gates when the storm started. We also keep pocket sized ones around to carry with us. Batteries are also of course something to keep extra of. Note that batteries go bad so be sure to refresh your stock.
Another thing we did was made sure we had candles. They provide a little warmth if that is needed and they have a nice soft light whereas the lamps and flashlights can be a bit glaring. I would suggest not getting scented candles. Even a few candles with scent can start to be overwhelming. Especially, multiple scents. We buy a lot of the long burning tea lights to place all over (don’t place them too close. Flames can jump). We also stock up on hurricane candles from Dollar Tree. They burn for a really long time even for $1. They are well worth it to have. They sell some without religious symbols on them unlike most dollar stores that have saints and prayers on them. If I have to resort to those I soak the outside in soapy water or I use mineral oil then scrape off the image. It allows more light to shine through. Walmart carries these candles too. They are unscented and burn well. You can easily find them for $1-2 so don’t pay more! There are also pillars and such you can buy that are unscented and keep on plates or in bowls with a small bit of water on the bottom so you can pop out the wax much easier later. Candles are fairly easy to acquire cheaply. I have found many at Thrift stores and garage sales. Just be safe and cautious when burning. Especially around children and animals. Never leave unattended.
Other things we make sure to have are:
*A propane/battery powered heater (we also have a gas heater from camping but we don’t use that unless we have to and only with good ventilation)
*Battery powered chargers for phones and other devices like the iPad (where we had bought and downloaded movies for our baby when Wifi goes out)
*Camp stove. We already had this for camping and fortunately we have a gas stove so all we needed was a lighter to get it to work. This is a good back up though. A grill would be good as well but we gave ours away prior to moving and have yet to find a one we like here yet.
*Canned food and clean water. Our outages tend to only last less than a day but in the areas we are looking at homesteads they can last much longer as they are farther away from the city.
*Lighters and matches. Long BBQ lighters are great for the hurricane candles. We have used a lit stick of incense to light them in tight situations.
These are just a few of the basic things we do to help prepare for situations like this. We also keep crafts around, books, board games and of course good conversation never hurt anyone. We utilized some of these things during our most recent outage so I wanted to share. There are great preparedness lists that can be found in books and online. We plan to up our game for when we move to our homestead (as we plan to live outside the city) and before that as well. It never hurts to be prepared for anything! Stay safe!