Someone hit the pole down the road and the power is out. There is a huge storm and the lights keep flickering. A recent invasion used an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) as a weapon.

Any of these scenarios can realistically happen at any given time. Even with a generator, you might be looking at an extended period of time without power. If (when?) that happens, these guidelines can help you pull through.

Manage Medications

Temperature can have an enormous impact on medication, sometimes even rendering them useless or dangerous. On top of that, you may not be the only household with someone who has the same medical condition. You must keep your medications safe from predators (possibly the neighbors) and temperatures alike.

If you already know where you’re going to store them, leave them in the fridge. Make sure that door stays closed to keep things cool while you put some more things in place.

If you don’t have a plan for important medications yet, consider some of the options below.

Use a Body of Water

If you live close to a river or lake, consider putting the medication in a waterproof container with some weight in it. Drop the container (with a rope attached) into a body of water — make sure it’s deep enough to reach cool temperatures.

Look to the Dirt

When you get below the frostline in your area, temperatures tend to stay within a predictable range. If you have a basement or a well on your property, consider putting your meds in a cooler full of ice in one of those underground sources.

Use the resources available to you, whether that’s a snow bank or a hole you have to dig. And be sure to keep your medications in a sealed container to help with temperature control and other environmental issues. You can even use foods that need to be kept cold to help keep your medications cool.

Find Water

You’ll need safe water for more than drinking. Keep in mind that you can easily disinfect your water, so the name of the game right now is quantity. If you lost power and rely on city water, consider the potential for the city to lose power, too. Fill all sinks and tubs so you have water to disinfect for cooking, should you need it. Now is also a great time to head to the store and stock up on bottled water if you haven’t already.

Go Shopping

If the power outage is widespread, you can expect supplies to fly off the shelves. Stock up on supplies now — this includes filling all of your gas tanks. Think in terms of canned goods and things that can be eaten as they are when you’re picking up food. Once you are stocked, try to focus your menu on perishables, saving the canned and dried foods for the long haul.

Prepare Your Defenses

While you might swap stories over coffee with the neighbor on a regular basis, an extended power outage can drive people into survival mode. This is where all manners end and basic instinct kicks in. It’s time to put your decoys and alarms in place. While you’re at it, make sure your survival supplies are organized and stored where they are most useful and make sense.

As you can see, there’s a lot to do to prepare once a blackout occurs. It’s much easier to plan ahead and have things in place and roles for each member of your household. Practice power outage drills on a regular basis, and when the time comes, you’ll be prepared for just about anything.