Ideally, you’ve already got your bug-out bag (BOB), your every day carry (EDC), and “I’m Not Coming Home” (INCH) gear all packed and squared away. Have overlooked another equally crucial survival kit? The blackout kit (BOK) has its own unique components and is indispensable in certain scenarios.
Why do I need a blackout kit?
Imagine having all your preps, food, water, sanitary items, and weapons right where you want them in a disaster situation. Now, imagine the power goes out across town and it’s dark. I don’t just mean “nighttime in the city” kind of dark, I mean pitch-black dark with no light pollution whatsoever. If you’ve ever camped overnight in thick, secluded wilderness, you know what I’m talking about.
You will obviously have a list of priorities, especially if you have a family. That may entail making them feel as safe as possible, making sure pets are tucked out of the way so they don’t get under your feet, and grabbing the backup gas or solar generator to get your fridge and freezer running again.
These are all necessary steps to take, but there is one vital step required before you can accomplish anything: you need to be able to see where you’re going. In total darkness, that will be difficult and dangerous. This is where our blackout kit comes in.
What do I pack in my BOK?
Your BOK is not a catch-all kit like your BOB–it is specialized equipment. As such, you can be pretty selective with what you include to keep the cost down without cutting back on usefulness. My BOK includes:
Chem-Light/Glow Sticks, to provide some light to a room and preserve batteries.
Flashlight, an obvious choice.
Head Lamp, when you need both hands to work in the dark.
Batteries for the flashlight and headlamp!
Emergency Contact Numbers (laminated) for contacting water, power and gas companies, friends, family and neighbors.
Hand Warmers and Leather Work Gloves, in case you find yourself having to work in the cold.
Pocket Screwdriver Set and Pliers, for replacing a circuit breaker, fuse, or switch.
Resqme Escape Tool, should you need to escape through windows or glass.
Small Knife and Multitool, it’s really good to have at least one of these in every prep pack.
The following items are not as essential, but are definitely nice to have if you can fit them in your BOK:
Glow In The Dark Tape to apply to the flashlight and BOK pack handles, as well as doorknobs or any steps or bumps that could be tripped over.
Spare Circuit Breakers/Fuses, a quick fix in case something blows.
UCO Lantern, to use in conjunction with the 9hr candles for a great source of lasting light
Emergency Radio, for emergency broadcast updates.
All of these items in the list above are both small and lightweight. Your blackout kit shouldn’t weigh more than a couple pounds and should be easy to grab and go. Be sure the pack you keep it in has a shoulder strap for hands-free carrying. Store your BOK within arm’s reach of your bed. When the power goes out during the daytime, you obviously wouldn’t have any trouble finding your way to your circuit breaker and supplies, but this is not the case if an emergency strikes in the middle of the night. So, if you wake up to a power outage, you’ll want your kit under the bed or in your nightstand for easy access.
Your BOK is meant as a first action device– something that can help you get to your other preps, make safety checks, then proceed with your survival plan. After all, what good is having a generator in the garage if you can’t find your way to the thing in the first place without tripping over the garden hose and smashing your knees on the concrete?
We need a way to bring calm back to the situation for ourselves and our family. This is what the blackout kit does. It is a tool to get from utter darkness panic to a relaxed state with minimal stress so you can get down to business.
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