Power outages can be fairly scary, especially if you have been without power for a couple of days. Most people do not even know how much they are relying on electricity, and once the power goes down they will have no clue what to do, this is why it is a good idea to get a list of items with which you will be fully prepared for the power outage.
The power outage grocery list contains water, water filter, and purification system, first aid kit, canned foods, cereal, energy bars, peanut butter, multivitamins, powdered foods, dehydrated foods, food for pets, spices, hygiene, nuts, preserved meats, medication, fuel, heating, dry ice, pasta, rice, and beans, plastic cups, power generator, styrofoam plates, batteries, flashlight, solar rechargers, candles, petrol lamp, baby food, can opener, rain gear, camping cookware, rope, duct tape, firestarters, mosquito repellent, tool kit, and powdered juice.
In case of a power outage, you will also probably lose access to running water as the water supply companies also use electricity to pump water. You might think that you can just go to the market and buy water, but during a power outage most shops will either be closed or the ones that are open are probably overrun by people. To avoid this situation you have to think of how you will purify your water, my recommendation is to get a water filtration system which comes with a 0.2 Micron filter Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
No matter what type of SHTF event occurs, from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods earthquakes or other man-made or natural disasters there will be a high probability that the power grid will be down. There isn’t even a need for a major SHTF event to occur in order to lose power for several days as you probably noticed. Preppers usually store food supplies which do not need any power as these are mostly nonperishables.
When you are making any kind of survival list especially for a power outage you have to follow the rule of 3’s. Which are 3 minutes without air, 3 hours in harsh conditions, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food? Although most SHTF events do come to an end in less than 3 weeks it is smarter to be prepared with at least a basic supply of food and water. Authorities take a fairly long time to respond to SHTF events especially if it is a larger one.
The priority of the government and FEMA in any SHTF event search and rescue people, this can take several weeks. Only after the search and rescue have been concluded the rebuilding part will start and usually it will take a long time till the authorities get the power grid back up. The main reason why it will take a long time to get power back is that when the rebuilding starts the first step is to remove all the rubble if several homes were deteriorated the higher in demand for removing rubbles will be. Food for power outage should be your number one priority.
People who have been affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and so on can confirm that getting a hold of a contractor to remove the rubble and actually start rebuilding the house is almost impossible due to high demand. Keep in mind that electrical companies can only rebuild the power grid infrastructure if it is safe for them to do so and once the power grid is again operational that it is safe to use. In addition to this, you will need some food to eat when power is out, so you better be prepared.
Without water, the average human can survive only for 3 days. You need to make sure to get as much water as possible as you can never know how long the power outage may last. In the case of a major power outage not only you will not be able to buy more water but the water supply will also stop working. Before making any calculations on how much water you should buy you have to consider that you will use water not only for drinking but for cooking, washing, flushing and so on. If you are wondering if it is safe to drink the expired bottled water you should check out my article How long can you store bottled water ( Home, Garage, Car ).
Water filter and purification system
As the power goes does so is the water treatment facility which means no more water from your tap. At some point, you might be forced to look for additional sources of water, for this case you will need a good water purification system. There are a lot of ways how you can purify water from boiling it, filtering it, using capsules to gravity aided water purification systems. No matter which of them you choose, make sure you have a good set up to be able to purify your water. One of my favorite items for filtering water is the Lifestraw, recently I have written an article about Do Lifestraws work? ( Or do they? ) and to nobody else’s surprise, they actually work, they come especially handy during an SHTF scenario.
First aid kit
This is a must-have especially in a power outage situation, odds are if you do not have power for several days that the local hospital also doesn’t have power. Your hygiene will probably not be the best as without power there is no water and cleaning yourself will become much more difficult. In this case cuts and bruises can get easily infected which you should avoid at all costs. One of the most important products for power outage will be the first aid kits.
Canned foods are excellent as these do not need to be refrigerated, and are require no cooking in most cases. Just keep in mind to store them at a fairly constant temperature. Best to avoid canned foods that have some kind of sauce in them these tend to be acidic and they will spoil much faster than conventional canned foods. If you want to find out which canned foods have the longest shelf life check out my article Longest lasting canned foods ( Up to 30+ years ).
You can eat this right out of the box or add milk or some powdered milk and water to it.
These are usually packed with a lot of sugar and vitamins, although it is not recommended to eat them regularly you should still have at least some for the harder days.
This is excellent food, no special storing conditions needed and have a high-calorie index.
Do not underestimate the power of vitamins, most canned and dried foods lack certain vitamins and without them, your situation could go from bad worse in a few days. In the case of a power outage, you will have difficulty in procuring foods with a lot of vitamins such as vegetables.
You can find almost any food in powder form, although these usually lack essential vitamins and will need some preparation to be able to be consumed, these are still a good way to storing food which doesn’t need any power to remain “fresh”. These usually only need water and some cooking to be edible, but my recommendation is to combine it with dried foods as you do not want an only liquid diet as this will eventually lead up to diarrhea. Some say that powdered foods have an acquired taste, this is true but the taste you are feeling is not a good one.
While these are somewhat processed and dehydrated these still keep a portion of their vitamins. In addition to this, you could use them in combination with powdered foods to make a more nutritious meal.
Food for pets
If you have pets do not forget to get food for them, while they can eat most of the foods humans can, it is preferred that they eat actual food which is made for them.
You might not think this is important, but have you ever eaten any food without any spices on it. If you are not used to eating foods that have no spice on them, not even salt or sugar you will find the taste of food to be so bland that Gordon Ramsey will start yelling at you.
Toilet papers, towels, toothpaste or powder, soap and so on. Make sure you have enough for each family member and do keep in mind that everything related to hygiene also needs water.
Aim to get some mixed nuts as these are high in fats and vitamins.
Preserved meats such as canned tuna, beef jerky, and spam have high contents of proteins and low amounts of fat. These have a fairly long shelf life although they are a very poor source of vitamins, in addition to this, preserved meats are high in salt which will make you thirsty a lot.
Every family has different needs in terms of medication, the young and the elderly are especially vulnerable if they have no access to their medication. Also, antibiotics are extremely important to fend off bacterial infections, usually, these antibiotics do need a prescription but there are other methods of stockpiling antibiotics. In my article How to get antibiotics for prepping? ( Top 18 Sources ) you will learn several ways of getting antibiotics without even needing any documents.
While you will not get your fuel from your local grocery this is still an essential item, you can use it to power your generator and vehicle. Keep in mind that once the power goes out it will be very difficult if not impossible to buy fuel, just be careful how and where you store it and make sure it is in a well-ventilated room.
This will depend entirely on what climate you are located, but if you live in a colder climate you will have a hard time heating your house without electricity. You might think that all you need is gas for your heater to work but most of these do need electricity to function. In addition to this, there is no guarantee that you will have any gas during the power outage as gas lines could also be affected by the lack of electricity.
This is very circumstantial as not everybody will need it, people who tend to have a lot of stored food in freezers and for businesses like restaurants. You should research your local area for where you can get dried ice, usually, it is better to be prepared for a power outage so order some dry ice and store them in your freezer. One of the major benefits of using dry ice is that this doesn’t melt and it actually evaporates, which means no water which could contaminate your food.
Pasta, rice, and beans
These 3 food items are excellent in a power outage, all you need for them is some hot water and they also have a shelf life of years if stored correctly.
While cleaning cups can be made with a simple rinse, it is still a good idea to have some plastic cups.
Usually, power generators are fairly expensive but there are solar panels which are a lot cheaper. Your main goal should not be to power your entire house but just a few essential items like your phone, radio and your indoor lights. Most of these generators will have no problem powering your fridge also, which is a big bonus in my opinion.
You will probably want to be able to use some dishes to eat, but as there is no electricity cleaning these dishes will be a difficult task. Also cleaning dishes requires a lot of water, but you will not have this problem with styrofoam plates, they don’t need to be styrofoam any plates which are made for single use are also good. In case you do not want to use single-use dishes you can get plates coated with ceramic or Teflon, which you can easily clean with only a tissue.
Buy as many batteries and then some for your battery-powered devices.
My recommendation is to get either a solar-powered or a hand-cranked flashlight.
There are several solar rechargers on the market currently, most of these are excellent for recharging your phone and other small devices.
Once the power goes out in the surrounding area you will be amazed how dark it actually becomes without the surrounding light pollution. Always have at least a couple of candles to ensure you have light during the night, and in case of desperation, you can also somewhat heat a small room with candles. Some people will also make a power outage bag, which is a good idea, but the problem with it is that it will not fit a lot of things, like candles for example.
These used to be fairly popular in the ’50s and ’60s, they give out a good amount of light and the wick will burn for months.
This only applies to people who have children, babies especially toddlers have a limited number of foods which they can eat. Although just a few decades ago there was no baby formula and feeding them was done by mothers chewing the food for them and giving it to the baby.
While some cans come with an inbuilt can opener there are still some that don’t, to avoid the hassle to open it with a knife just get a simple metal can opener.
Drying off without electricity or central heating could become problematic especially in colder climates.
You will have to be able to still cook even if there is a power outage, in this case, you will probably cook using a small fire. While you can still use your household cooking utensils, camping cookware is specially designed for outdoor cooking.
You will never know when a rope could be useful until you need one.
You will be amazed at how versatile and useful something as simple as duct tape can be.
Lighters, matches or specially designed fire starting kits will also do.
This is especially important in the case of floods, as the mosquito population will explode after a flood. Not only these carry a lot of diseases but they are also extremely annoying.
If you live in a house you probably own at least a small tool kit, if not get one asap.
Almost everything in our foods and sodas, are packed with sugar, once these are not available some people might get a sugar crash. In order to avoid this get some powdered juice mixes, this will be especially helpful if you have children as you can use these a treat for them behaving well.
How long does food last in the fridge without power
In case a power outage happens that doesn’t mean that you have to throw out everything out of your fridge. While most foods in the fridge are perishable, because that is why you store them in your fridge, there are a lot of foods that do not go bad even after a prolonged time at room temperature. As for how long does your food last in your fridge without power will depend on the contents of your fridge, the ambient temperature, how often you open and close the fridge door and even how packed your fridge is.
Opening the fridge door
If the ambient temperature is fairly high the contents of your fridge should be fine for up to 2 days if the outside temperature is low than your fridge can keep your food colder for 2-3 days. DO take this with a grain of salt as the most important factor on how long will your fire keep your food fresh without power will depend on how often you open up the fridge door. My recommendation is to try and open it as few times as possible and never open the door fully.
As the inside temperature of a fridge is lower than the ambient temperature even if the fridge has no power, once you open the fridge door warm air will enter the fridge. Once this warm air enters the fridge it will condense as it gets in contact with the colder air inside the fridge. After the condensation, small water droplets will form on the inside of the fridge and on the food in the fridge. While this might not sound bad this is one of the main causes of fast deteriorating foods in your fridge without power.
Water conducts heat 25 times faster than air, this means that the foods with a lot of water in them or with condensed water on them will go bad 25 times faster than other foods. This means every time you open your fridge door the faster your food will go bad, and if you have no power for an extended period of time this will make a “snowball” effect with each opening of the fridge door.
Packing the fridge
While most people try to keep their fridge cold do it by opening the door as few times as possible. But in addition to this, the actual packing of your fridge is also a factor in keeping its temperature low for as long as possible. The way how thermodynamics work in case of the fridge is that it flushes out warm air and traps inside the cold air, but the items in your fridge also contribute as these will absorb this colder temperature after which it will start radiating actual cold temperature.
You have probably at some point in life took out a frozen piece of meat out of the freezer or a cold soda from the fridge, the second you grab it you will feel the cold radiating from it. In case of cold meat even after hours of being out in room temperature if you hower your hand above it, you will still feel it radiating cold.
The meat will probably be one of the first items which will go bad, usually, this should be the first item eaten in case of a power outage. In case you have too much meat stored in the fridge which you can not consume in one go then you should put this meat in the freezer as fast as possible. Even without power, your freezer will keep its temperature a lot longer than your fridge, because its core temperature is below freezing, you will not want this as often as the fridge and other frozen foods will radiate cold air which will make the newly added meat from the fridge to be frozen.
If you do not have a freezer your other option is to check with your hand which is the coldest part of your fridge, take all your meat products in that area and compact them as close as possible to each other, this way they will keep their cold temperature a lot longer. Do keep in mind to put all the meat in a tray as condensation is inevitable and you do not want water from your meat to contaminate other products in your fridge.
Although I doubt many people have considerable amounts of vegetables, but in the case of a power outage this will last a lot longer than any meat. As in the case of meat, the biggest threat for them to not go bad is condensed water, as usually these vegetables are packed in plastic bags not allowing the vegetables to “breathe”. Once you see water droplets on the plastic bags or on the actual vegetables take them out and let them dry.
Depending on the local climate these can be still consumed days after being at room temperature.
Not so perishable items
Your fridge probably contains items that are not easily perishable like cheese, soda, pickled foods, jams, peanut butter and so on. Just be careful with cheese as not all that resistant to higher temperatures, usual cheese with the least amount of water it has the less likely it will be to perish fast. The softer the cheese is the more water it contains, hard cheese like Parmesan will have no problem being fresh even if at room temperature, just make sure that condensed water isn’t forming on it.
As for how high the local ambient temperature is, it will also play a major factor in how long your fridge’s content can be safe to eat without getting spoiled. Depending on the severity of the SHTF event if you come to the conclusion that you will have no power for at least a couple of days then it might be a good idea to relocate your fridge. If you are lucky enough to live in a house with a basement that will be the best option where to relocate your fridge.
The cooler temperature in your basement will actually help your fridge maintain its contents cold, in addition to this you will also limit the condensation of the water as the difference between the temperature of outside and inside the fridge is not that high. If you live in a colder climate or the power grid goes down during wintertime, do NOT take your fridge outside as this is pointless and will actually not stop from your foods to go bad.
Fridges are very well insulated to keep their contents cold, however, this also is viable with warmer temperatures. If the outside temperature is colder than the temperature inside your fridge you will still get water droplets forming on your food due to the big difference between the inside and outside temperatures. In addition to this even if it is snow outside the sun can heat up your fridge and once it does your fridge will start radiating warm temperatures both inside and outside.
Winter power outage is a two-edged sword, you no longer have to worry about your food going bad but you have to worry about how you will heat your home if you want more information on the subject than check out my article on Prepping for a winter power outage ( Everything you need to know ). During wintertime, you can simply take out the contents of your fridge and put it somewhere safe outside, keep in mind to place it where the sun doesn’t shine on your food as this could still affect your food. In addition to this, you should also keep in mind not to put anything on the ground as once the snow starts melting due to the outside temperature or due to the sun you could find your foods in a puddle of water which inevitably will go bad.
Power outages can happen at any point, most of these power outages last only a couple of hours. But in some local SHTF events, you could find yourself without power for days or even weeks. If you live in a disaster-prone area it is wise to have a list of items which you constantly have at your home, this way you will not be among the other people trampling each other for a gallon of water at your local supermarket.