You never realize how dependent you are on all your technology until one day...POOF...you lose power. We had some scary high winds blow though here last weekend, the tail end of the devastating storms that took lives and damaged property across the Midwest. Put in perspective like that, a power failure is so not a big deal, but it was an inconvenience and one I wish I'd been more prepared for.
Ready.gov recommends you have one gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable food and a manual can opener, and a kit with flashlights, batteries, a portable radio and first aid supplies. Also? Don't store this kit in your basement, because it will be dark and the last thing you need is to be stumbling around down there. I'd also add a few of those small, clip-on reading lamps -- and keep your iPad or laptop charged (car chargers are easy to find and inexpensive)!
You'll also want to safeguard your appliances. Do you know the sudden surge when the power comes back on -- or the flickering power from a brownout -- can fry your TV, computer and even the ignition switch on your furnace? Keep one light on so you'll know when the power comes back; otherwise, unplug everything or make sure you have it plugged into a good surge protector.
And about those appliances, namely your fridge and freezer...it can be hard to know what's safe to eat and what isn't. Frozen food with ice crystals is usually safe to refreeze. I know in our case, we also had no heat and our house got down to about 40 degrees, so we didn't worry too much, although we tossed a lot of leftovers. The federal FoodSafety.gov web site has a handy chart about what you can save and what to throw out from your refrigerator and your freezer.
We were lucky because my parents were able to take us in for a couple days and we didn't suffer any real damage other than weird hair for a day. And nothing makes you appreciate a warm house with electricity and Internet like being without it for a few days!
How do you prepare for a power failure? What's in your must-have survival kit?