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Power outage "bag"

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Javelin377, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Javelin377


    Jun 13, 2012
    Recent threads and events have got me thinking about preparing for a week long power outage. I figure a week is reasonable, any more than that it's time to go into survival mode. My question is what should a week long power outage bag contain?
  2. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    1. forget the bag concept. There isn't a bag large enough.

    Consider what happens when there is a week long power outage and what is affected - perhaps:

    1. electricity;
    2. heat;
    3. traffic lights;
    4. businesses that rely upon electricity such as:
    a. stores;
    b. supermarkets;
    c. any business with a refrigerator;
    d. filling stations;
    e. taxi services

    Consider the time of year: which season.

    Consider your family circumstances. I will tell a story. Shortly after 09/11/2001, a young man bravely announced that he would take to the hills and fight (ala Red Dawn). I asked him what he was going to do to support his wife and children. I also told him that I had just spent a week above the timberline with a group of people and there wasn't enough food there to support just one person.

    So, there is no clean, clear cut answer to your question.

    I will tell you this though. If you never were an Eagle Scout, brought up on a farm, or served in the US military service on the front lines, you probably don't have a clue as to the problems you will face.:wavey:

  3. Toyman


    May 6, 2003
    West Michigan
    Well, pretty much a little of everything. However, if you have a closet/room/whatever with preps, you'll already have everything you need.

    Do you already have TEOTWAWKI or PAW preps?
  4. Javelin377


    Jun 13, 2012
    I live on/manage/partial owner of a 300 acre cattle farm. I've been trough about all you can imagine. I have water wells, gas wells, ect. His thought that the folks here were fairly knowing as far as preps. Jus thought I would ask.
  5. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
  6. Brian Lee

    Brian Lee Drop those nuts

    Jul 28, 2008
    Up a tree.
    It's not what the "bag" should contain.

    It's what your garage should contain..... A portable generator.
  7. It might be a magic bag.
  8. RED64CJ5


    Jul 7, 2003
    I don't have a "bag," per se, but I do have a box in my shop that is our "go-to" box for a major power outage. It has adequate extension cords of the proper length, tools specific for the generators, some glow sticks, some extra headlamps and flashlights. It's a box we open up annually to assess whether or not it's still viable.
  9. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    A flashlight.

    I don't flee my house when the power goes out:upeyes: - you may handle it differently. All I need for a power outage is a flashlight and that isn't a necessity. Then I can take the flashlight and go get a lantern and some candles and whatever.

    Yes, I have been through week-long power outages, in the middle of winter, due to an ice strom that coated everything with so much ice it pulled down trees and power lines. So? I was still in a house.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  10. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    Not to sound facetious or sarcastic, but it really is one of those "it depends" things. My recommendation would be to think in terms of 'categories' - categories of things that you depend on now that you'd lose in a power outage. If you had to take care of your family and the herd without grid power, going through a list of "how would you do ________" kind of questions would be a good start; and when doing so, create a list of things that would be necessary.

    On a cattle farm, water pumping might, or might not, be a huge concern; situation-specific things that only you'll know the answer to. Refrigeration (food & medications; both human and veterinary), cooking/cleaning/laundry, heating & cooling, water-pumping, septic pumps, mechanized feeding systems if you have those, stall manure-channel sweeps (common on dairy farms; don't know your setup), etc. Is it necessary to keep any electric fencing up & running; that's another thing that may be an important issue for you that wouldn't be a concern at all for a lot of folks.

    Generator(s) is the first and easy answer, but do you need that generator's power to be portable (or distributed); or is a simple, fixed-place generator sufficient. If it needs to be portable, would a normal generator on a trailer with a substantial fuel tank be best, or would maybe a PTO-driven generator be better? On a dollar-per-watt basis, a PTO unit may be more cost-effective (since you're only buying a generator head, with no engine), but only if your needs are large. They also have the advantage of being transferrable between tractors. One tractor won't start; just hook the generator to a different tractor. With a normal all-in-one generator, you're stuck relying on it's one & only engine. Once you've gone the generator route, then you get into the accessories & maintenance items - fuel & fuel-storage additives, grid-tie-ins (or not), transfer switches or not, HEAVY extension cords of the right connection type, etc.

    Some things, like electric fencing and battery charging, you may be better off going with a localized solar/battery setup, as a generator is usually overkill - and horribly inefficient - for those kind of needs.

    Then there may be a bunch of those categories for which you can come up with a completely power-less alternative - is manual feeding an option if your automated feed systems are dead, etc.

    All that said, it's a topic that's really difficult to determine someone else's needs for. Recommendations for food, water, shelter, defense, etc, are all fairly simple to come up with, but workarounds for gridpower failure are much more situation-specific in nature.
  11. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    I think a week long power out kit is the same as any other week long emergency kit.

    Water (usually the water stays on during a outage)
    Fuel for heating and cooking (if you have natural gas it generally will keep working during a power outage)
    Appropriate clothing
    Generator if need be

    Having been through a couple outages in difference kinds of weathers I suggest the following...

    Candles and gas/propane lanterns are good in the winter, they give off heat. Not so good in the summer, they give off heat. Use LED flashlights, lanterns in the summer and lightsticks for ambient lighting at night. They give off enough light at night to be able to move around once your eyes get used to less light.
  12. michael e

    michael e

    Nov 20, 2010
    I was without power for two weeks during IKE . I had candles, and flashlights, used gas grill to cook. I just went to my hunting stuff and got all the flashlights together, it sucked but managed. Now when I got power back the first thing I did was sit with the AC at 65 and tv on for a day.
  13. Javelin377


    Jun 13, 2012
    The farm is completely self sufficient, barring any kind of disaster taking down fences. They are all on solar chargers. people been farming for years with no electricity.

    My main concern is keeping my family comfortable in my house. Work goes on day to day no matter what. Might as well be comfortable while you are at home.

    More than anything I want to know what goes in the bag that has flashlights, batteries, matches ect. I got the big problems covered.
  14. TactiCool


    Feb 1, 2012
    Southeast LA.
    A generator is about as useful as a block of lead without plenty of extension cords. And I mean hundreds of feet worth, otherwise lighting, refrigerators, portable A/C units, rechargeable batteries, tools, etc. will become limited in use, or outright useless.

    Also, don't forget to periodically run the generator to ensure that it will crank and function reliably. Keeping spare parts, tools, and spark plugs (glow plugs for diesel) on hand is important. Fans are also important to keep on hand as well. Don't forget to use fuel stabilizer either.

    Keep in mind, I do suffer power outages from storms on a monthly basis, nevermind the hurricanes, so plan accordingly for your situation (speaking in generalities here). And because of where I live, I plan for power outages of 3 months or more.

    During Katrina, I did not get power back for 2.5 months, and then Rita hit, knocking power out for another week and a half! Tons of fun, living in a high-risk flood zone in the south...with no flood insurance, 'cause I can't get it! :wow:
  15. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    In that case, I'm a big fan of LED lanterns. The Rayovac "Sportsman" 3D-cell version is better than I originally thought it would be; good enough that I have four or five of them. Light output is adjustable from night-light levels up to 300 lumens, which makes a real difference in an otherwise dark room.

    Also, I'm a fan of LED headlamps. They make it a lot easier to actually do things than a handheld flashlight usually does.

    Lastly, I'm a huge fan of automatic emergency lights that come on when the power goes out:

    They're required by life-safety code in commercial buildings, but I've never seen them installed in a house other than mine. When the power goes out, it's nice to have even a minimal level of light in the room rather than the sudden pitch black you'd otherwise be in. They can be had online, or even at lowe's & such. Typically $60-$70 iirc; it's been a while since I bought any.
  16. Stevekozak

    Stevekozak Returning video

    Nov 9, 2008
    You mentioned these in anther thread awhile back. I thought you had said you got them at Wal-mart. I have looked at the local Wal-marts, local Academy, and several smaller stores in my area, but have never found them. Where is it you purchased them at?
  17. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    The little rayovac children's "Adventure Lights", I got at walmart and replaced the incandescent bulb with nite-ize LED's, also from walmart:
    They're good for use in tents, bathrooms during a power outage, etc. Substantially better than night light levels, but not hugely bright. IIRC, something like $8 for the lantern and another $6-$8 for the nite-ize LED's, so just around $15 apiece; and they run a long time on four AA's, probably 18-24 hours or so. Have four or five of them.

    The bigger D-cell Sportsman series is a whole other category; more than enough light for a room at night. Have four or five of them as well, bought at either lowe's or home depot, forget which:
  18. Stevekozak

    Stevekozak Returning video

    Nov 9, 2008
    Thanks. Have both a Lowes and a Home Depot right close. I will check them! I had seen the children's lights at WM.
  19. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    Fwiw, reviews & discussions of the rayovac above; the "Sportsman Extreme 300 is what it's called. I've been very happy with them; by far the brightest of the led lanterns we have. This thread got me looking at them again - looks like they've come down a bunch price-wise. They can be had under $30 now. Iirc, I paid something like $45-$50 for ours just three or four years ago.

    Fair warning; candlepowerforums can be as addictive as glocktalk or watchuseek. Those guys are as nuts about flashlights as we are about "which rifle" to buy.
  20. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Feb 13, 2001
    North-Central USA
    Around my house and vehicles, we keep several things handy for power outages. In the winter, we keep hundreds of inexpensive tea-light candles available, plenty of matches/lighters, and a safe means to hold the candles during use (candles are a serious fire hazard, but are too useful to be without in cold weather, so we do our best to manage the risk). You can find tea-light candles for $5-$8 a hundred at many places (Walmart, Hobby Lobby-type stores, etc.). Camping/survival stores often stock tea-light lanterns for mobile use (handy for the vehicle kits).

    We also keep several small flashlights handy. Nowadays, our general-purpose lights are usually powered by a single AA battery, have a LED instead of an incandescent bulb, and are stored with Lithium AA batteries installed and plenty of spares. Here are a few I've tried and liked:

    [ame=""] Streamlight ProTac 1AA Professional Tactical: Home Improvement@@AMEPARAM@@[/ame]

    [ame=""] Streamlight 88034 ProTAC EMS Medical Services Light with Holster, Blue: Home Improvement@@AMEPARAM@@[/ame]

    Yeah, they're kind of expensive, but they are way tougher/brighter/longer-lasting than your normal cheap flashlight.

    The Lithium AA batteries we use are Energizer brand (about $10 for 4), will store and keep a charge for over ten years (even in the heat of a car in summer, or the frigid cold of a North Dakota winter), and they will still WORK at sub-zero temps, unlike most other types of batteries.

    We also have a few AA LED lanterns for general-purpose lighting, and a handful of cheap solar-powered yard/sidewalk lights. Stick them out in the sun during the day, and bring them inside at night for "free" light. I even found some LED rope lights that are solar-powered, and they are really useful for general lighting of a room, hallway or staircase, etc. The nice thing about the rope lights, is you can install the tube/rope of LEDs semi-permanently, then just unplug the battery and solar panel section and take it outside or put it in a window to charge.

    There are also some snap-lights, high-power spotlights and weapon lights scattered around the house for more specific uses. During an outage, they are pre-positioned where they can rapidly be pressed into use, and I'll usually have at least one powerful tac-type flashlight on my person at all times.

    A portable radio is pretty helpful for getting basic info after a weather-caused disaster (or other similar problems). A small AA-battery radio, and a larger solar and/or crank-charged radio are both good investments. We also have a small shortwave portable radio for longer-distance info gathering.

    I'd also recommend a car charger for your cellphone(s), and any small entertainment devices that you or your kids may have (iPods/MP3 players). Having some kind of entertainment is very important for most kids and some adults, and in today's electronic society, board games and a deck of cards won't cut it for very long.

    Having a package of small steno-type note pad and some pens/pencils can allow folks to take notes about the circumstances of the outage, what they did each day, what preps worked and what didn't and why (for future reference), leaving messages for others, and other useful tasks.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012