Your daily life with and without power

Your Daily Life With and Without PowerElectricity is the blood of our modern world and we can’t function for more than a few hours without power. We take it for granted and we assume that electricity will always be part of our life, and we somehow forgot that our ancestors managed to live well-enough without power.

This world will be a different place without the commodities of electricity and for some, it would be impossible to function and survive without power. It won’t be easy, but there will always be solutions for those who want to find their way in a darkened world. This article will provide you with a glance at what you can expect your daily life to be without power compared to how it is today.

Currency and transactions

With power – ATMs are everywhere these days and we can have access to our money in an instant. We are also using credit cards to close a transaction and it seems that paper money will soon be a thing of the past. Not to mention that virtual money like Bitcoin is becoming more and more popular and some people put their thrust in this virtual currency.

Without power – You would need cash in numerous nominations for short-term survival of up to 2 months. If you are preparedness minded you should stretch your budget to last for a long period of time and you should spend your money only on supplies you need. For long term survival, stockpiling gold and silver is a good option, while bartering using the supplies you own and the skills you have is an excellent alternative.

Recommended article: Bartering after an economic collapse

Medical treatment

With power – Although technology is advancing, it seems that the world is getting sicker by the minute and the medical industry is booming. We are addicted to medications and we rely on AEDs, breathing machines and other medical inventions to keep us alive. Technology also allows us to keep a complete medical record and we have access to the entire medical history of our family.

Without power –  For short-term survival you will need a 90 day medicine supply for the drugs that are critical for your survival and other doctor-supplied prescriptions for the medicine you need to stockpile. When it comes to long-term survival when medical aid is not available, you would have to rely on natural healing methods and use medicinal plants you can forage or grow in your garden. A good medical knowledge is also vital since accidents happen all the time and you should take part in as many first aid classes as you can.

Fuel

With power – We go to the gas station every day and fuel is what keeps us moving. All the supply chains rely on fossil fuels and when the power fades, those chains will break down and the trucks will stop coming.

Without power –  For short-term survival you will need a gas cache and a fuel container with a siphon hose or even a siphon pump to scavenge for fuel. Regardless how well-prepared you are, fuel will run out eventually and you need to find alternative sources. Making biodiesel or building a biogas generator should be considered viable alternatives.

Cooling and refrigeration

With power – There are many ways to keep a house cool as long as you have power and we can buy all sorts of ceiling fans, portable fans or air conditioners. Refrigeration is also not a problem and we can keep foods cool for a long time by using modern appliances. There are even propane refrigerators and many off-grid homes have a propane tank used only for their refrigeration needs.

Without power –  For short-term survival, a solution would be to wait out the heat and dress to lessen sun exposure. Living underground would be a solution for long-term survival and using alternative refrigeration solutions would help preserve the foods during heat waves.

Recommended article: How to live without refrigeration

Heating

With power – As long as there is power, heating shouldn’t be a problem and you can use all sorts of devices like space heaters or electric blankets. Every household has at least one oil or electric heater as a backup solution.

Without power –  For short-term survival you will have to use all sorts of improvised solutions to isolate the room you live in (like lining the walls with cardboard) and rely on temporary heating devices like kerosene heaters. Layered clothing is also important when power is not available and you need to use the proper clothing in order to save fuel. If you have to face a longer power shortage you would need to use fireplaces and woods-stoves, but for this solution to work, you would need a constant wood supply.

Food

With power – Fast food is available at every street corner and we are accustomed to buy fresh produce from the farmer’s market. Food is a very affordable commodity when the supply chains are working and you can’t starve in this country.

Without power – Things will be different when the grid goes down and we will have to change our diet. For a short-term survival, we will rely on the supplies available in the fridge and freezer, but also on the kitchen pantry. Long-term survival requires proper planning and you need to have a survival pantry if you don’t want to starve.  You will rely on canned goods, freeze-dried items, MREs and everything else you’ve stockpiled. However, after a certain period of time, food or appetite fatigue will set in and you will be forced to diversify your diet. This means you will have to hunt and forage, but you will also have to grow a garden to provide fresh produce for your family.

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Cooking

With power –We microwave food daily and we use electric ovens to cook complex and tasty foods. Cooking is a simple chore in a world dominated by electricity and you don’t need any specific skills to prepare a nutritious meal for your family.

Without power – Propane range cooking appliances are a solution for short-term living, but as said before, your fuel will run out and you will be forced to improvise. Although many assume that cooking without electricity is not rocket science, it can become a tricky task as you need to maintain a constant heat power and heat distribution in order to prepare complex meals. A solar oven, barbecue grill and camp fire are all good alternatives for long-term survival, but you need to practice and experience in advance with these cooking methods.

Suggested reading: Improvised survival cooking

Tools

With power – If you are the handyman type or if you live off-the grid, you need to consider power tools for your blackout emergency preparedness plan. AC and cordless drills and saws, air compressors, chainsaws are just a few of the tools used for keeping the house together.

Without power – If electricity is no longer available, you will have to look at the old ways of building things and you need some sturdy, manual tools. The list here can be long and it all depends on what you need and what skills you have. Don’t invest your hard-earned money in tools, unless you know how to use them.

Lighting

With power – You just switch a button and you have instant powered lighting. There isn’t much to it and most people don’t really care about alternative lighting sources since “power will come back shortly”.

Without power – Rechargeable or disposable batteries are the first choice for many families when it comes to having a backup solution for an extended blackout. However, there is more to batteries than it looks and capacity, shelf life and charging options are details that one should consider when stockpiling these items. Learning how to recondition batteries is vital for long-term survival and it can also be used as a bartering skill; people will give you their dead batteries and you will provide them with fresh “new” ones. Propane and kerosene lanterns are also good suggestions for short blackouts, but you will need some LED solar lighting if you want to stay on the safe side.

Recommended reading: Grid-down event planning – Disposable vs rechargeable batteries

Communications

With power – Cell phone, tablets and computers are the pinnacle of our generation and these smart devices are part of our daily lives although it seems they are making us less smart. We have access to information, but we can’t understand it entirely and put it to good use when we need it. Nevertheless, keeping in touch with other people has never been easier and human connection becomes almost instantaneous.

Without power – Communication in a world without power becomes a real problem and the main solution for most preppers and survivalists is a Ham radio that can be powered by a generator (solar or otherwise).

Sanitation

With power – We have electric boilers and water heaters that work on various types of fuel and nothing beats a hot shower after a hard day’s work. As long as there is power, flushing your toilet won’t be a problem as water pumps will keep functioning. Your garbage disposer works at the push of a button and you don’t have to worry about waste.

Without power – Being able to take a hot shower becomes challenging when there is no power and handling human waste is a nasty chore you will have to face sooner or later. A portable camp shower that uses solar power is a temporary solution for staying clean, but you will eventually need solar panels to power your water heater if you plan to bathe regularly. Digging a latrine is another temporary solution for handling your dirty business, but you will need a compost toilet and a long-term solution to dispose of or recycle your trash.

Related article: Survival sanitation and how to deal with it

Entertainment

With power – While entertainment may not seem such a big hassle for adults since they will spend most of their time trying to cope with living in a world without power, things change for the young ones. They are used having access to their TV shows, gaming consoles and social media anywhere and cutting them off suddenly from such “commodities” can cause behavior problems (irritation, frustration, boredom, anger, etc.).

Without power – Board games and books could be a short-term solution for keeping kids busy, but you will need to aim for something bigger. When dealing with an emergency situation, it is recommended involving your kids in the various chores that help your family function normally. This will give a meaningful purpose to the kids and they will learn to appreciate and enjoy the things they help build.

Transportation without power

With power – Commuter trains, subway, motor vehicles and every other type of vehicle that runs on electricity help us go from point A to point B daily. A large city cannot function without a working transportation system and society will break down eventually. Our lives are a constant movement and we always have to be somewhere.

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Without power – Transportation becomes less of a problem if we look at the old ways and how our great-grandparents used to travel. Horses will not be available for everyone, but bicycles will still be around, even though it seems that these vehicles disappear mysteriously in every disaster movie you see.  While bicycles are a good alternative for land transportation, kayaks and canoes are the next best thing when it comes to water transportation.

We could lose our electrical grid from a natural disaster or a coordinate terrorist attack and a world without power is condemned to be consumed by chaos and panic. This article should be a good reminder for all the people that take for granted everything we rely on, everything that is run by electricity.

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