Having lost power and water for a few days last year during Irene, here are my best tips:
(Note: these are more for a couple days of weathering an outage in relative comfort and safety, not hardcore survival tips for a week. Though, you’d be surprised how many of these things sound dramatic but really come in handy after about a day.)
1. Shower while you still can. Then…
2. Make sure your bathtub is clean and fill it with water. If you have a Brita or some other kind of filter, you can drink it if you need to. If not it comes in handy for cleaning stuff, including yourself and to have in case of an emergency. Especially if you have a gas stove and therefore can boil it, use it for instant food. (sadly, this year, we don’t.)
3. Make lots of ice. Any big container can be a cooler for things you want to keep out. Good in an emergency. Put it in ziploc bags and you have ready-mades for an emergency or you can drink it when it melts later if you run out of water. You can also freeze bags of water.
4. Freeze any freezable food, it will make it through if you only have a minor outage.
5. If you are a coffee or tea drinker, make lots of coffee or tea ahead of time. You’ll want it later.
6. If you have a crockpot, make food now, transfer it to the crock pot to finish cooking or keep it warm as long as your power is on. The stoneware part will keep food hot for at least a few hours (probably more) after the power goes out and at least one warm meal will be nice.
Cook perishable foods and wrap them in foil separately and pile them in the crock pot, just as “hot storage” – baked potatoes, veggies, chicken etc. if you don’t want to make a hot dish (or just so you have options). Also make easy-prep foods, sandwiches etc. like you’d do for a road trip.
7. Eat lots of protein while you still have power, later on when you don’t have power, most easy food to eat will be carbs. Aside from being healthy cause protein now will sustain your energy better later, you are just going to get sick of snack foods, crackers, granola bars and cereal. So eat something different now.
8. Wash all the dishes you can, as long as you can. Dirty dishes will make you crazy if your water goes out and they pile up so much faster than you could imagine.