A woman in a black shirt.

Jul 28, 2016

6 min. read

When the power goes out, you’ll be happy to have an emergency stash of lights, water and board games. Here is our quick and easy checklist to create an emergency kit so you can stay comfortable while you wait out the dark.

Flashlights and Lanterns Try to buy lights that don’t require batteries—they last longer and are better for the environment. There are flashlights that you simply shake to charge or lanterns that power up by mechanically winding them. You can even buy lights that use solar panels for energy. If you do opt for regular flashlights, though, be sure to have an extra set of batteries.

First-Aid Kit Keep medical supplies together to avoid rummaging in the dark for bandages and ointment. You can buy one or make your own with bandages in various sizes, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, scissors, tweezers, safety pins and emergency phone numbers.

Portable Cellphone Charger You can buy one (or a few!) of these handy gadgets at any electronics store. They range in price and quality, but any portable charger will give you extra time that you may need until the power is back on.

Bottles of Water During a blackout you may not have access to tap water. According to the Canadian Red Cross, you should have four litres of water per person for each day of a blackout. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends being prepared for up to three days.

Candles and Matches Purchase long-burning candles made with liquid paraffin, which can last up to 100 hours and are odourless and smokeless. Never leave burning candles unattended and make sure you blow them out before bed.

Non-Perishable Food Canned food and a can opener are essential. Snacks like power bars, crackers and treats for the kids will help get you through the challenging hours. Also, it’s important to keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as long as possible to keep the cool air inside.

Blankets or Sleeping Bags Even in the summer it gets cooler at night, and if you have kids they will want to bundle up to feel safe.

Cord Phone It may seem old-fashioned, but having an emergency cord phone is a good idea if you have a landline. Simply plug it into the jack and you’re good to go.

Small Radio A satellite radio or a regular radio that runs on batteries will keep you informed about what’s happening, and the option to listen to music will help keep you entertained.

Board Games and Cards Without electronic devices like televisions and tablets, you’ll be “forced” to play board games or cards—so make sure you have them on hand. It’s the perfect time for Snakes and Ladders or a game of Gin Rummy by candlelight.

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