Humans have lived without electricity for longer than we have had it in our lives. In fact, we survived the trials and tribulations of life just fine without the modern convenience of the electrical grid.
The problem is that so much of our lives are governed by our ability to access this resource that it can be more than a minor inconvenience when it fails.
Why Have A Blackout Survival Kit?
If we lived happy and fulfilled lives before the widespread adoption of electricity, why would we need to have a blackout survival kit? The answer is that the absence of electricity creates several problems for us that our ancestors had non-electrical solutions for.
Heating, cooling, refrigeration, lighting, and communications depend on electrical power; when the grid fails, we need to have some alternate means to accomplish these things.
Even though we can do just fine without a blackout survival kit, it makes sense to keep a collection of items set aside in a dedicated kit to help us when the power goes out.
What To Put In Your DIY Blackout Survival Kit
Your blackout survival kit should contain some key components that will return life to a sense of normalcy during a blackout. All of these should be in addition to our regular food, water, and other supplies.
Your considerations are going to be:
- Keeping warm/cool
- Keeping food cold
- Charging devices
Keeping warm/cool – We need power to run our furnaces and air-conditioning, and our blackout survival kit is not going to be able to have the ability to cool our home down.
Still, we can include blankets to warm ourselves up if the blackout happens in winter.
Keeping food cold – Aside from keeping our refrigerator and freezers closed when we do not need to get access to the food inside, we are going to need some other ways to keep our food from spoiling.
The best way to do this is to have a generator or solar battery bank ready to run our refrigerators and freezers. You can also have blankets or other insulating material to wrap fridges and freezers in to help keep them colder.
Lighting – One of the first things we reach for when the lights go out is a flashlight, and a blackout survival kit will need to have several flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns to keep your home lit during the blackout. My blackout kit has a headlamp and lantern for every family member.
Charging devices – At the minimum, you should have several battery banks ready to provide at least a couple of charges per device.
Ideally, a solar battery bank or solar generator is the best option because this can also be used for running a fridge or freezer.
Communication – The failure of the power grid will also take down portions of the communications infrastructure.
You should have a battery-operated radio to get updates from the local radio stations, but you should also have a corded phone that you can plug into the wall and does not require any batteries or power. Amateur radios are also good to have on hand if you are appropriately licensed.
Cooking – A lack of power should not drive us to rip open our MREs. A blackout survival kit should have a camp stove, manual can opener, and plenty of fuel.
An Example of a Blackout Kit List
Each family will be different and have unique ideas of how their blackout survival kits should look. The list here is based on what I like to have on hand in case of a blackout.
For Each Family Member
- Spare Batteries
- Battery-operated radio
In The Main Blackout Survival Kit
- Extra lanterns and headlamps
- Spare batteries
- Ham radios
- Shortwave battery operated or hand crank radio
- Corded Telephone
- Camp stove and fuel
- Manual can opener
- Solar generator, solar battery bank with panels, or gas generator
- Battery banks for mobile phones and other devices
How To Store A Blackout Survival Kit
This style of kit is not a grab-and-go kit that must be kept in a bag we can grab in a hurry. Storing the kit’s contents in a cabinet or closet is an excellent way to keep the contents organized and contained. You can also spread the contents over several locations around the home to make things easier and more organized.
It can be a good idea to give each family member an individual kit to keep in their bedrooms with a flashlight, lantern, headlamp, spare batteries, and some blankets.
This way, everyone in the home will know exactly where to go to get their individual kits, and if the blackout happens in the dead of night, they will be able to get their light source squared away without having to go to another area of the house in the dark to find the blackout kit.
One important thing to note is that you should not store any battery-operated device with the batteries inside. If batteries are left inside of a device, there is a risk that the contacts will become corroded, or the batteries could leak.
Keep a set of batteries for each device taped to the side so that they are easily accessed in the dark. I like to place a flashlight that takes only one battery in each kit which is easy to load the battery into when the lights are off. Then I can use this light to install the batteries in the remaining devices.
A blackout is rarely a life-threatening SHTF situation, but that does not mean we should not be better prepared for a blackout. Even if a power outage lasts only a night or two, a blackout survival kit will make life easier without electricity.