The lights go out
Most Americans today are not prepared for a power outage. Typically we have a flashlight somewhere in a drawer upstairs, but overall many people are caught off guard and are ill prepared for when the power goes out. There are certain supplies and preparations that should be made in advance for such an event, and I'd like to list the most important ones that you will need to endure while the power company brings the grid back online.
Flashlight and batteries
Yes this one seems obvious, but is it? I know many people that have a flashlight and batteries but don't know where to find them if asked today. There are a few things that must be done to prepare for a power outage and these are key. The first and most important is to obviously own a flashlight and
Blankets and portable fans
Depending on what season you are experiencing, having blankets and portable fans are important. With the electricity off heading and air conditioning will no longer work and the last thing you want is for you and your family to get freezing cold in the winter or suffer heat exhaustion in the summer. Make sure your residence has adequate blankets to keep warm for when an unexpected snowstorm rolls through and kills the power. This is especially important if it's a big storm and the power goes out for days. If it's the summer and the temperature is at record highs you need to have portable fans to keep those who are susceptible to heat exhaustion from overheating. Put water on your body and use the fans to keep cool.
Have a radio of some sort
This part of your power outage kit is important and it will obviously have to be a radio powered by batteries. The first and most important reason is to keep in touch with local radio stations to find out weather forecasts and any alerts that are broadcast. For instance, if the power goes out and there is a tornado warning where you live you need to be able to find out before it's too late. Staying up to date on weather bulletins is important for safety and future planning. The second reason which isn't nearly as important but still helps is to provide some entertainment. Our world is run by electricity so when the power goes out nothing will work. Unless you have a well charged smartphone or laptop or tablet, there won't be much to do if you rely on electricity so keep a portable battery charged radio around the house.
Candles and matches
This one sounds old and antiquated but it's very helpful to have candles and matches (or a lighter if you prefer that) to illuminate the house. You can't just have flash
Can I get a light?
This is what I would consider the primary kit of essentials needed for when the lights go dark, but obviously there are many other things that could be included based on your needs or where you live. Keep these things in a centralized location so you don't have to stumble around in the dark and go crazy trying to find everything. I personally have a kit in my living room which is in the center of my house so if and when the power does go out we all can gather in that room and pull out what we need. Always check your kit each year and make sure it's stocked with the supplies you need and keep watch on the batteries in your devices so they aren't dead when you need them most.