Tips For Survival In Cold Weather Power Outages

My sister lives in Texas and I am sure you have all heard about the winter storm devastation taking place there. There has been power outage for days and now there is also a drinking water shortage affecting millions of people. Scary stuff! My big sister sent me a list of tips for survival and things she wishes she had on hand right now so that my mother and I could prepare in case anything like this happens to us. I am sharing her tips for survival through power outages in the hopes it will help others prepare.

How To Survive Without Electricity

no electricity survival tips

I remember my grandmother having lived through the great depression was always about being prepared. She imparted that lesson to my mother and my mother has always liked to have at least two sources of heat when possible- some overlapping combination of electric, gas, oil, and wood burning fireplace/ stove.

Surviving for long without electricity is a scary proposition but one that I tend to overlook being from a younger generation where all things we want are almost always available. I tend to take it for granted that I will have electricity and running water. However, once electricity goes out that causes water problems too.

As Crisis Equipped reminds us, “Our plumbing systems are dependent on electricity to function properly. During a power outage, there will be no electricity to power the pump which is responsible for the flow of water throughout our homes.”

In short, surviving without electricity involves not only be prepared for the cold element and the edible food element, it also involves having drinking water on hand. Finally, since most people have cell phones these days, a power outage the resulting inability to charge your phone may cause communication problems as well. Now you what to prepare for!

Anna’s Survival Tips And Tricks

These survival tips and tricks should help you to survive power outages and water shortages whether they are caused by winter storms, hurricanes, tornados, or floods.

1. Battery Charging Source

Keep an alternative battery charging source for your phone. You can purchase an external battery which can store some backup power. Usually you can charge the phone off a computer (if it has a battery which is already charged.) They also have alternative energy source chargers you can get to be prepared such as the one below.

2. Light Sources

Keep flashlights, batteries, candles, lighters, and matches on hand. Also keep battery powered lamp, kerosene lamps, or solar powered outdoor lights to keep main areas lit.

3. Insulated Bedding

Keep super warm sleeping bags and other insulated bedding for severe cold emergency in which there was no power or heat.

4. Emergency Heating

Invest in a kerosene heater/ propane heater and the fuel to run them in an emergency. Here are some more ways to heat your house in an emergency.

5. Drinking Water

Always keep several gallons of drinking water on hand.

6. Water for dishes and toilet

If you know a winter storm is coming, you may want to fill up your bath tub and any buckets and pots you have on hand so you will have enough water available to wash dishes and flush toilets when needed.

keep a survival food supply stash

7. No Cooking Required Emergency Food

Don’t assume your local stores will be open or have power. Here is a photo my sister took at her local Walmart. Empty aisles.

You need food that you can eat without cooking. You may not have power of any kind to cook. Handy items to have include some freeze dried food, some beef jerky, and a can opener on hand at all times. If you have a family, it can’t hurt to have an emergency food stash like the one below.

If you have a pet, have extra pet food on hand too!


My sister put that in all caps so you can tell she really wishes she had one right now. You need a generator and the fuel to run it for back up power in a prolonged crisis situation.

9. Gas Can

If you know there is potential to loose power, be prepared with 5 gallons of gas for emergency back up. The lines for oil and gas here in Texas are super long when there is a source at all.

10. BBQ Pit

Outdoor BBQ pit that can cook in the event that your family can cook a hot meal on the grill. A much warming and calming activity in my sister’s experience. It provides nourishment and warmth and lifts morale. You will also need charcoal, a few logs of dried wood, and charcoal lighter fluid.

11. Hand towels, wet wipes, and cleaning wipes.

You will need plenty of extra towels, rags, and wipes. Cleaning things and staying sanitary quickly becomes an issue.

12. Emergency Bug Out Bag

A bug out bag is a prepared survival kit which is especially handy if you live in the country and might be trapped or have to survive in the wilderness during your escape route. You can prepare one yourself but they make some really good ones that are worry free like the one below.

13. Prepared Car

Basic automotive supplies you may want to have: oil, power steering fluid, anti-freeze, tire repair kit, air compressor, jack, jumper cables, and extra battery.

Keep car already packed with survival items for trips and on the road. So if you needed to you could just jump in the car and go in 10 minutes if you had to.

Keep your car with a full tank of gas and have antifreeze in there if you live in warm weather places. Living in south Texas, we didn’t have antifreeze in our car and it was a struggle to keep the water in my radiator from freezing.

keep car emergency ready

14. Walky Talky

These can be used between your house and the house of close by friends or family in the event all phone towers lose power or the internet is not available. They work for distances of at least around town. They are good to have on hand and practice using. It is an important survival tip to not rely solely on phone. We experience connectivity issues with that too in Texas!

15. Clock Radio

Have a lock that runs on battery or is a wind up clock radio like the one below so you can stay connected to local news sources.

16. A Local Map And Compass

This is especially important in the country but may be helpful in the city too. An atlas, a local map, a state map, and a compass will help you be prepared when you don’t have GPS to help you navigate.

17. First Aid Kit

Another important tip for survival is to have emergency medical supplies on hand. A first aid is always good to have on hand but especially when foul whether hits and you may not be able to get to a doctor.

18. Self Defense Item Of Choice:

According to each individual needs and abilities, you may want to have a self defense item on hand, just in case.

  • Cattle Rod
  • Pepper Spray
  • Light Baseball Bat
  • BB Gun
  • Pistol or shotgun and ammo   

19. List of phone #s

This may come in handy of your cell phones and internet die but you get a chance to use a neighbor’s phone.

  • Family
  •        Friends
  •        Neighbors
  •        Local Emergency #s
  •        Police
  •         Fire
  •         Rescue
  •         Local Grocery Stores
  •         Government offices
  •         Local Hospitals

20. Cash and documents

It is always good to have some cash on hand and if power is out they may not take credit cards. It is good to have your important documents ready in a grab and go form like insurance policies, ID, etc.


These are just tips for survival based on mostly things my sister found herself needing during this power outage emergency in Texas. It’s all very good to have. It is way better to be over prepared and be able to help others than to be at the complete mercy of strangers! As my grandmother always said, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”

With so many increasing weather disasters, these type of electricity and water crisis are becoming more common. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that we keep survival tips and tricks on the brain and be ready year round. There is a real need for this preparation. I hope you found this household emergency readiness list useful.

Related Posts:

Winter Emergency Car Kit List

DIY First Aid Kit For Kids

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