top of page

How to Survive A Power Outage

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

How to Survive A Power Outage
This photo is copyright of Jennifer Gutierrez. © 2019 - 2022 by Jennifer Gutierrez.

Ahh, electricity; it’s the thing that powers our modern-day life. No matter where you live, you are susceptible to power outages. Those of us living in the country should be prepared to go extended periods of time without power. One downed pole can cause large expanses of homes and businesses to be without power. Most recently, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and other California utility companies have publicized the fact that they will be shutting off power during high-speed winds in an attempt to mitigate fire danger. High winds, known as Santa Ana winds in this Southern California region, are fairly common. Coupled with action plans of utility companies, frequent high winds mean frequent and often long power outages. Depending on the actual cause of the outage, we may or may not get advanced notice. We have to be prepared at all times.

There has been much controversy within our community over power outages I might get some internet hate for mentioning this at all, but here’s the truth; people lived for thousands of years without electricity. There are many communities across the globe that continue to live without power today; the Amish thrive without it. Having said this, being without power is NOT the end of the world. If you can’t understand the reasoning behind planned power outages or accept the fact that the weather can often cause outages on its own, you have several options: you can move elsewhere, purchase a generator, invest in a solar system, or learn to live with no power for a short time period. In short, stop complaining and do something in your own power to solve your problem. No one wants to hear adults wine like children. Power outages can inconvenience everyone, not just you. End of rant.

For those who want to learn some handy information, the following text contains some tips, dos and don’ts, and some places to get current information on emergency events. Let’s dive in!


  • For the most accurate information, it is best to go straight to the source. SDG&E has a webpage dedicated to informing its customers of a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) and another one with an outage map.

  • Julian Alerts regularly updates its Facebook page with relevant information

  • The community Facebook groups are a great way to stay up to date with what’s going on.

  • And, there’s always the good old-fashioned battery-powered radio.


It is extremely recommended to keep a surplus supply of basics in the case of unforeseen circumstances. In addition to the items below, you might need to include other specific items like medications.

  • Non-perishable food - supply to last your household for a few days. A manual can opener may be needed. Some food ideas: peanut butter, crackers, powdered milk, pasta, canned vegetables, oatmeal, rice, dried fruit, granola bars, and instant coffee/tea.

  • Ice and a cooler - to keep your perishable or opened food cold.

  • Drinking water - If you are on a private well, you may be out of water during the outage. Those within water districts tend to have water.

  • A cooking source - There are all sorts of great electronic cooking devices out there that don’t work when the power is off. A great thing to have is a gas stove. You can manually light them when the power is off. Gas BBQs and camping stoves are great alternatives. Don’t forget to keep a stock of matches in your house.

  • Lighting - There are many battery operated lights such as flashlights and lanterns. My family discovered the blow-up solar laters a few years back and love them. If needed, we can also use our yard solar lights.

  • Heat - Having a wood-burning stove is one of the easiest ways to keep your house warm during an outage. Make sure you have enough wood supply on hand. Having extra, jackets, gloves, hats, scarves, and balances come in handy.

  • A telephone that does not depend on electricity. Cordless phones will not function during an outage.

  • A first-aid kit.

  • Pets - Don’t forget about your pets.

  • A full tank of gas - Most of Main Street Julian is on underground powering. There is a time lag between when the power goes out and when the generator is turned on. Keeping a full tank of gas will keep you from being stranded. Don’t forget to get gas for your generator as well.

  • Propane - For those who plan on using propane you will need stock up.

  • Entertainment - It’s nice to keep a few books or board games on hand.

  • Keep cash on hand - ATMs and card processing machines may not be available during an outage.

  • Sanitation - Items like Baby wipes, Hand sanitizer, Dry shampoo, Disposable utensils, paper towels, and Disinfectant cleanser are a great way to stay fresh with limited resources.


  • A large portable charger - These bad boys

  • Generator


  • Laundry

  • Wash dishes

  • Prep no-cook meals

  • Charge all your devices

  • Unplug before - To avoid potential damage to your electronic devices from surges unplug them before and during the outage.

  • Leave a single lamp on to alert you when the power returns. Then, turn your appliances on, one at a time


  • Typically, your refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours and a full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours--as long as the freezer and refrigerator doors are kept closed. Consider using coolers with ice to keep food cold and safe.

  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.

Please check on your neighbors. It’s what we do in small towns.


bottom of page