Blizzards, solar storms, and even EMPs are all events that will affect the power grid and leave you in the dark. When the power grid goes down you will be cut off completely from the conveniences you’ve lived with your entire life. If it will come to that and the power grid goes down the following tips can help you cope with the situation comfortably and safely.
More and more people are starting to understand that our power grid is vulnerable. It is currently one of the main threats that can bring our country to its knees. There were many whistle-blowers who managed to expose the flaws and vulnerabilities of our power grid. Last year, the government was forced to recognize that it is not a scenario invented by “crazy survivalists”. Even more, the White House admitted that they are preparing for events that could destroy the power grid (source).
Unfortunately, as this scenario is becoming a wake-up call for some, there will always be those saying that the government has a plan for all of us and that we will be saved. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to make my own plans and make sure I’m prepared to face a scenario in which the power grid is no longer working.
The following tips will keep you alive when the power grid goes down. They will work, regardless if you are a prepper or an average Joe.
Develop plans for short terms (2-3 days) and long-term (2-3 weeks or months) outages. All the plans you make and all the supplies you stockpile can be used for more than one emergency. Nothing goes to waste when it comes to emergency preparedness.
You should practice your skills in the great outdoors, where the grid is not available. This will be a test to see how well you can handle the situation when the power grid goes down. You will return to a rudimentary life, the one your ancestors lived.
Your gear is not for show and you didn’t buy it to throw it in a corner of the house. You should get familiar with it and use it to practice the skills that will help you survive when the power grid goes down.
Stockpile more than you need because those supplies will prove useful, regardless of the crisis scenario you will have to face. Key items such as batteries, fuel, and warm items should be considered for this scenario. Don’t forget to also stockpile items that can be used for barter if the grid is down for an extended period of time.
Have an exit plan and know how to follow it when the time comes. Regardless of how well-prepared you are, sooner or later you will have to leave your home. Get yourself a new or used bicycle if you can. A touring or mountain bike and equip it with saddlebags that can carry everything you need in order to reach your safe haven.
After Snowzilla, generator sales have increased dramatically. Many people bought one just to make sure they won’t be caught unprepared next time. You shouldn’t wait for a storm to hit your area to get one and you should already have one in your garage.
Stockpile batteries in a variety of size. These items will be of great value when the grid is down. Even more, learn how to recondition your batteries and squeeze out all their juice.
Install solar panels now or get a generator that works with solar panels. You should integrate these solutions as an adjunct to your use of utility power.
Get your hands on some small alternative solutions to generate electricity such as thermoelectric generators devices. The Biolite Campstove and the Power Pot are two of the products appreciated by survivalists and off-gridders. These devices are great multi-taskers. They will allow you to turn the heat you use to cook or warm yourself into electricity.
Learn and stockpile for bartering
You can use your skills and trade them for items you might need. Basic medical skills, small motor repair, gunsmithing are all great “currencies” to barter with and if you have any of these skills, you are in luck. If you don’t possess any skill that can be used for bartering purposes, you can always stockpile on items that feed people’s vices and needs.
- Alcohol and cigarettes
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toilet and other paper products
- Water filters
- Duct tape
- Foods with a long shelf life
- First aid materials and medicines
These are just a few suggestions and you can make your own lists based on your budget and the area you live in. Bartering will become a way of life when all the digital money will be gone.
Suggested article: Barter items you should have for a long-term disaster
Water is essential to survival and you should stockpile three week’s worth of water so you have it on hand before a crisis happens. You should have at least one bathtub reservoir that can be filled as soon as you find out the water supply is down. Learn about the hidden water sources from your house and how to drain them of every drop.
Make sure you are able to collect water and improvise a rainwater catching system if your local laws allow it. Buy a water pump that can be used with local water sources like streams, lakes or ponds. Learn how to purify your water and have a few reliable water filters at hand.
Suggested reading: Emergency water solutions
Sewage and sanitation
Survival sanitation is a dirty job and you will have to take care of it if you don’t want to get sick. This is one of the subjects that nobody likes to talk about. It is better to prepare for this in advance rather than dealing with a nasty situation when the crisis is in full effect.
You should invest in waterless toilets like the ones sold in camping or boating stores. Even more, you should learn to recycle water for different purposes. I’ve written in a previous article about how you can handle survival sanitation during a crisis. I recommend reading it because it provides valuable info.
If the power grid goes down, communication will be an impossible task if you haven’t prepped for it when you had the chance. All your communication devices should be stored in a Faraday cage or a faraday bag. You should also plan to have extra batteries for them.
Get a battery-powered radio and invest in a set of two way handled radios with different frequencies for family communication in case mobile phones will die. You should also research alternative methods to communicate with friends and family.
Stockpiling the right food and heaving a well-equipped survival pantry will help you outlast any major disaster. You should stockpile a month’s worth of food, to begin with, and you should get only the food that your family is used to eating.
As a general rule, you should avoid experimenting on them with your alternative cooking based on new ingredients you can scavenge. You should do “cooking runs” at least once a week with the supplies you have stored in your pantry using your “off-the-grid” cooking equipment.
You will be surprised by how many things you can learn while experiencing survival cooking. First of all, the cooking time is different and second, you discover you lack ingredients for certain recipes. The list can go on.
Suggested reading: Best foods to stockpile for when the power grid goes down
Conserving heat can become a problem when the power grid goes down, especially during the cold season. You should make sure you stay warm, otherwise, you won’t wake up to fight another day. Everyone should stockpile their chosen source of heat (wood, propane gas, stove fuel, etc.) and they should have a backup for their backup plan. You should buy and practice with stove and heaters that work with your chosen type of fuel.
The stove you buy should run on a variety of fuels so that you always have something that works with the fuel that is available. The stove should be installed in the room where everyone can gather during the day and sleep at night. If you want to conserve heat another alternative would be to get used to living in your basement.
When you are 6 feet below ground, the temperature stays at around 60 degrees, regardless if it is cold or hot outside. You should also learn how to make improvised heaters and the internet is full of solutions, more or less complicated.
Some of the tips listed above you have probably already done or integrated into your emergency plan. If you haven’t put them into common practice you should really consider them. Always think outside of the box and chose solutions that have multiple applications. Think of what you depend on each day and figure out what you can do to replace it when the power grid goes down.
Other Useful Resources:
Blackout USA (EMP extensive prepping guide)
The LOST WAYS (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Drought USA (How to secure unlimited fresh, clean water)