If a blackout or emergency arises in the middle of the night, will you be prepared? Outages that leave you in the dark can be extremely disruptive and dangerous. Aside from outfitting your home with a generator, one of the best things you can do to mitigate issues that arise during a blackout is to put together a Blackout Kit.
What Is A Blackout Survival Kit
A Blackout Kit loosely defined is a collection of items to help you through an emergency situation in the home. They are commonly referred to as Blackout Kits because you are most likely to need one, well, in a blackout.
What Blackout Kits allow you to do is keep a small cache of helpful items in a strategic location that can be quickly and easily accessed in an emergency.
Why Do You Need One
Power goes out in the middle of the night, reach in, grab a light, and keep from knocking yourself out by walking into walls while you try to figure out what has happened to the power. Random fire in the middle of the night, reach in, grab an extinguisher, and either put it out or fight your way out of the fire with it.
Blackout Kit Items
What kind of items go in a Blackout Kit? Items like flashlights, emergency tools, anything that would be useful in the event of an emergency.
Here is a list of items I have put together:
- Dry Box or bag to put everything in
- 4 in 1 Emergency Tool
- Small Flashlight
- Small Lantern
- Glow Sticks
- AA Batteries
- AAA Batteries
- Emergency Radio
- Small ABC Class Fire Extinguisher
- First Aid Kit
- Tritium Glowring
Special Item Notes
Fire Extinguishers have three classifications: Class A is for Trash Wood Paper, Class B is for Liquids, Class C is for Electrical Fires, ABC Class Extinguishers cover all three. Every home should have at least one ABC Fire Extinguisher that is readily accessible in the kitchen. All Fire Extinguishers should be checked to ensure they are in proper working order on an annual basis, minimum. Everyone in a home of proper age should be instructed on how to use them. There is actually a technique as I found out while going through a CERT program.
Emergency tools like the one listed are life savers when you have to turn off the water, gas, or pry something open. The understanding of how to use one should not be relegated to the moment when you “have to” use one.
Tritium Glowrings are a good inexpensive way of locating items in the dark as I discussed in the article “Tritium Glowring”. They should be tethered on a handle of the box/bag facing out so they can be seen.
Where to Store Your Blackout Kit
Blackout Kits should be stored in easily accessible places and everyone that resides in your house should be made aware of their placement and contents. Keeping them low makes them accessible in fires and to children old enough to use the contents. Mine is kept under my bed where I can reach for it without even getting out of bed. I still keep a small flashlight on the nightstand just because.
Something few people think about is storing a Blackout Kit at their place of work. Admittedly hard to do unless you have a cubicle or office. For that, I would recommend a good EDC Bag. Considering how many hours a week most of us spend in our workplace, you are just as likely to run into issues there as you are at home.
If you live in a flood prone area, consider keeping an additional small Blackout Kit in your attic. Add a Hatchet or small Pry Bar. Either of these tools will aid you in creating an escape should you become trapped. It is always a very unfortunate thing to hear on the news that someone trying to escape floodwaters died in their attic from overheating or heart attacks due to the stress of the heat in an attic. I would NOT recommend going into an attic for safe haven in the first place, but sometimes situations dictate it.
People like emergency candles for blackouts. Candles can be an inexpensive and convenient way to light an area in an emergency. However, emergency candles can turn a bad situation into a tragic one in seconds.
Candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residential structures, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and $539 million in estimated direct property damage each year.
Claims US Fire Administration web page on Candle Fire Safety.
Granted, in reality, this number is not that high and admittedly this information does not single out fires caused by emergency candles, but do you want to be even just one of those statistics?
If you insist on using Emergency Candles, I highly recommend you also use a Safety Lantern to prevent accidental fires. There only a couple extra bucks and could keep you out of trouble when the child, dog, cat, or clumsy person decides to knock one over.
A Quick Word on Oil and Gas Lamps
Lamps fueled by oil or gas put out a great amount of light fairly efficiently. However, when it comes to Blackout Kits, they are a little large.
Do not misconstrue this as a vote against Oil and or Gas Lamps as part of preparations and supplies. I happen to like them quite a lot. I am just saying they are unnecessarily cumbersome in a Blackout Survival Kit.
Oil and Gas Lamps should be used with care, whether you are using them in your home or out camping, as they produce a flame.
Blackout Kits aren’t just for power outages. They can save you a lot of grief and avert emergencies and ease the pains of power outages. With a limited number of supplies, you can handle a lot of situations that can happen in the middle of the night.
Whichever items you choose to flesh out your kit with, please consider them carefully. Your well-being could very well depend on any one of the contents.