The government has said that there’s a serious threat of a blackout in the UK over the winter. The power suppliers have been saying this for a few years so we need to take them seriously this time. We might get through the winter without losing power but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here’s a list of non-electrical items you should have in your emergency cupboard, just in case!
The first thing you need is light so you can see where you’re going. Obviously it’s important to have:
- A collection of candles (even tea lights are useful when there’s no light).
But for longer-term solutions you’ll need more than just the naked flame. Here are some non-electric lighting suggestions.
Trevor Baylis magic wind-up torch
LED light sensor
This is a useful gadget to have in your home whether there’s power or not. It has seven bright LEDS and can illuminate steps, porches, hallways, stairs and cupboards. Battery operated, it has a manual on/off switch, will stay lit for 30 seconds, can be used indoors or out and will detect movement from up to three metres away. It will provide up to 100,000 hours of illumination. So if you fix it while you have power it will switch on when you don’t, giving you instant initial light.
VARTA Indestructible 3AAA Torch
This extremely robust (9m drop test), water resistant torch with shock-absorbing, rubberised head will take you into any terrain.
It includes high performance LED with special lens optics and two modes: 100 lumens and 18 lumens (energy saver). It’s made of high quality, specially hardened aircraft aluminium for maximum durability
- Available from Tesco Direct, Robert Dyas and Amazon, RRP £18.99
A wind-up (and solar) lantern
This rugged outdoor lantern is rechargeable by solar power, or you can charge it up using the dynamo in the base; just 10 minutes winding gives 10 minutes of powerful bright light. Of course it can be used indoors as well and is a handy replacement for your main lights when the power is out. Costs £34.99.
Here’s a clever idea – a bendy battery-operated torch that gets to those hard-to-reach places and can even pick up small metal objects you’ve dropped!
Smarter than your average torch, Flexi Torch is the flexible, bendable flashlight that has a telescopic head which extends up to 57cm and a bending neck with 360° flexibility so you can light up awkward, cramped, hard-to-reach areas. It also has a magnetised head, which you can use to retrieve lost or trapped metal items like keys or screws. Get it for £9.99 at JML.
LED wax candles
Once you have the basics covered, why not create a pleasant atmosphere in the cold with scented, battery-operated wax candles? You might as well set a romantic mood while you can!
You don’t have to get straight into bed to stay warm when the heating goes off. Snuggle up with this Sherpa rug, complete with arms and a handy pocket, and you can sit and read with an LED light, listening to your wind-up radio. Buy it now for £36.10.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace you should be able to keep warm – and even cook – when there’s a power outage. But do you have enough coal or logs? If you’re caught short, use this LogSaver to turn newspapers or phone directories into logs that will burn slowly. For just £9.95 they can be used over and over again.
You don’t have to suffer in silence when the power goes. Here’s a way to listen to the radio with no electricity.
Just wind up or expose the solar panel on the Lynx wind-up radio and your radio will charge up for you to play. You can even charge mobile phones with the Lynx and it has a flashlight! A three-in-one joy for £29.99.
Old- fashioned phone
If you have hands-free phones in your home they suddenly won’t work if there’s no electricity. So make sure you have a basic, old-style phone in a box somewhere that you can just put straight into the phone socket. For example, how about a retro trim phone like this Steepleton one?
A power pack for your phone
VARTA Alkaline Powerpack
This is very useful for keeping your phone going when there’s no power. A powerful long charge using VARTA Alkaline charger giving up to seven hours of instant mobile power.
- One set of batteries provides up to seven hours of talk time
- Powered by 4 VARTA AA High Energy Alkaline batteries
- Compatible with micro USB, Apple 30pin and USB connector devices
- Great for emergencies and longer-lasting outdoor situations – no electricity needed
- LED light indication – power and charge status
- Available from Amazon, RRP £9.99
A solar phone charger
Freeloader Pico is a compact, lightweight solar charger that you can use on the move. Once it’s fully charged, it takes only 30 minutes to give a mobile phone 35 hours, iPod 14 hours or a GPS 1½ hours charge.
The first thing you tend to miss when the power has been out for a bit is a nice hot cup of tea – or hot anything really – so be prepared with some non-electric cooking items.
It’s a camping basic and nowadays it’s small and relatively light so you can keep a primus stove in a cupboard or in a shed for when you need it. If you don’t already have one for camping take a look at the Gravity Ignition stove retailing on Amazon for £60.95.
Wonderbag – power free slow cooker
This is an amazing product – it’s an extremely well-insulated cooking bag that keeps anything – from meaty stews and vegetable curries to simple rice and soups – cooking for hours without using any power.
The downside is that you need to start it off with power, but it does keep food warm for 12 hours. So if you’re going through a time of power outages it’s worth using it when there’s power, knowing that it will carry on without it. Costs £64.99 but saves you £££s in power use!