Summer Safety: Make a Power Outage Plan


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.


In our son’s favorite episode of Daniel Tiger, the learning lesson song is, “Take a grown-up’s hand, follow the plan, and you’ll be safe.”  

We recently had a power outage and I realized two things: 

  1. As the grown-up, I did not have a plan!
  2. In the panic of the moment, my rational brain was out the window! I got swept up in the chaos of the power outage rather than staying focused on keeping our kids safe–having a power outage plan would go a long way to removing that panic and having the rational brain intact. 

We are deep in the DC Area Summer Days of Thunder. Rather than waiting for your brain to go out along with the power, spend a few minutes now doing some quick shopping to stock up on these essential items.

Power Outage Essentials

  1. You have flashlights and lanterns and extra batteries on hand, but do you have a headlamp? Moms often hear, “you sure have your hands full!” but try carrying a baby or changing a diaper while holding a flashlight. Search for “camping headlamp”, price range $15-$50.  
  2. You can charge your cell phone in your car but if you have no wifi and you’ve killed your data plan, a non-cordless landline telephone is your best backup. I do think landline phones are money-pit dinosaurs, but as millennials are becoming moms, having a landline is a good safety practice on any given day. Price varies.
  3. A crank-operated emergency radio for any news alerts or weather bulletins–you can keep informed without keeping your nose in your phone rather than giving all of your attention to your kids. Price range $20-$50.
  4. When it is winter, a fireplace to stay warm and in this summer heat, a camping fan to stay cool. Battery-operated or rechargeable fans available in various size, $15-$90. 
  5. DO NOT use candles since they pose a fire risk. Have additional large light sources available, like lanterns and flashlightsthat do not post extreme risk of fire and injury to small children. Price range $15-$53.

Aside from power outage preparation, also have a plan for best practices. 

  1. Try to stay calm and present for your kids. It’s not easy. In the same way you have a first aid kit, or a restaurant entertainment kit, have activities ready to distract everyone–cards, board games, Table Topics question cards. 
  2. Emergency evacuation plan to your nearest hotel, especially if you have small children. When our daughter was only a few days old, we experienced a summer power outage in Texas–the house was just too hot for a new baby, so to the hotel we go.
  3. Also, involve your kids! Let them know if there is ever a power outage (or any emergency), what the plan is and how the family is prepared to handle the situation. 

This is by no means emergency disaster preparedness. This is preparedness for an inconvenient summer storm. Of course you are going to have food and water because as every mom knows, snacks make everything possible! Stay safe, y’all. 

If you have been through a power outage, what items did you find most useful? Please share in the comments below!

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Moira Duggan
Born at what is now the Trader Joe’s at 25th and L Streets NW, Moira is a DC native. She is married to her love from New Orleans, and mother to the Master and Little Miss of Tottering Hall. Recently returned from a three-year tour in Texas, she learned so much from living in this foreign culture. Besides sweet friends, one of her happiest memories is reading “My First Mother’s Day” in the 2016 Listen to Your Mother San Antonio show. Back on terra firma, she and her husband are District first-time home-buyers and embarking on a renovation—so keep her in your prayers. She holds degrees from Colgate University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, which has zero bearing on day to day life with two small children. Likes: wine, college basketball, crime and police dramas, MasterChef Australia Dislikes: anyone under 30


  1. We lost power twice this weekend because of the high temperatures.

    Yes, flashlights are a must. It helps to have extras on hand for neighbors. We have flashlights in various parts of the house, so when a blackout happens at night, we know where the nearest light is. We used those for our main emergency plan, go to Auntie’s house 30 minutes away. Unfortunately, it was too hot for a simple fan and we hadn’t powered our emergency power pack in a while.

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