We have all been in a situation when our power was off for a short time. But what would we have done if it did not come back on? How long could you get along without power? Not very long if you’re like most folks, but it is not that bad if you know what to do and make some preparations.
Today, I counted how many electric appliances we have in our home. We have 28 gadgets we use almost every day. We have TV sets, radio, DVD player, blow driers, refrigerator, freezer, blender, toaster, dishwasher, clothes washer, clothes drier, water pump, air conditioner, furnace, sump pump, and a microwave. Whew!
And that does not include all our lights or any power tools in our workshop. Kind of frightening, isn’t it?
🔌 Is living without power possible?
In our age, we depend on these modern conveniences, but in a true survival situation, we will not be able to use them. Today survivalists should learn to get along without any electrically driven items, perhaps for an extended period of time. If only we had listened to our grandfathers and great grand-fathers about the “good old days!”
During a crisis, you and your family could be without power for an extended period of time. Recently, the officials of our country’s power companies were advised by federal authorities to review security procedures at our power plants.
It would not be difficult for a terrorist group to damage and stop the power supply to large parts of our country. A nuclear war or major earthquake could stop our source of electricity. Remember, if the power is off at your home, it probably will be off at the local civil defense shelter (If you have one).
I feel in a nationwide crisis, our local and federal government will not be prepared to supply most communities with sufficient water, food, heat, shelter, and everything else we need to live on.
Read next: Can I Depend On The Government During Disasters?
I think a wise person will take precautions to make sure their family will have whatever it takes to get through a major national disaster. The time to start preparing is now!
💰 Limited budget – an old problem
I realize most people are on a limited budget. Even while trying to prepare for a possible disaster, we have to pay the rent and make the car payment. We must determine our needs and put them in order of importance.
Where you live and what time of year it is will dictate if lack of water or lack of heat is your biggest problem.
After that, we would like to have hot food, hot water. I feel everyone should stock bottled water at home. How much? Who knows? Two quarts per person per day minimum. How many days? I personally believe in a minimum 30-day supply for each person. You can buy bottled water on sale! I use that word a lot.
We are trying to build our supplies as quickly as we can, so every dollar counts. In many parts of the country where good water is available in shallow wells, I recommend a hand pump. Even if you cannot drive an extra well, with two wrenches and a few fittings, you can disconnect your electric pump and connect your hand pump.
Do not forget you will need water to prime the hand pump. You must have fittings and wrenches on hand. Your local hardware store may not be open during a crisis situation. I also suggest a portable water purification system. There are many available, some advertised in this magazine, but for us, the number one choice still remains the Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter.
I think another serious problem would be our loss of heat. If it’s July, it will not be a problem, at least for a while. Let’s assume it’s December, and you live in a northern climate. Even if you have solar, gas, or hot water heat, your unit will not work without power.
If you live in an area where you can get wood, I strongly suggest a wood burner of some sort. Watch your local online groups for a used stove, go to auctions, and garage sales. Be sure your stove is installed properly by a knowledgeable person.
Every once in a while, we read about improperly installed units starting house fires. In a real crisis situation, you can close off most of your house and live in the room with the stove. A fireplace is not as efficient as a stove, but it is better than nothing. Just remember it takes large amounts of wood to run a fireplace.
If you can find one, an old wood cooking stove is great because you can fix your meals on it besides keeping warm. When I was a young girl at home, all we had to cook on was a wood-burning kitchen range.
Again some things are not practical for all people. The next best thing, or the first best, depending on how you look at it, would be some sort of kerosene heater. There are some good models on the market, depending on where you live and how big an area you are trying to heat. Keep all fuel outside your building, if at all possible. Remember, if someone in your family gets burned or if your home catches on fire, you will probably not be able to get any help.
💡 Lighting needs when living without power
I think to maintain a positive attitude in any crisis situation, and we need light. At least part of the time, especially if we have children. One choice for light is candles. Again you must be careful around children.
I suggest you buy regular survival candles. They will last much longer than decorative candles you buy at the supermarket or convenience store. You can find them online in stores that sell camping and survival gear.
Remember, you will need matches (windproof/waterproof type are best), and disposable lighters are handy.
There are many fancy “emergency” lanterns and assorted rechargeable units for sale, but remember, these lights will not last long with continuous use if they are of poor quality. There will be no way to recharge your expensive rechargeable light without a solar panel or a hand or feet crank power generator.
Recommended reading: Portable Solar Panels – Which Is Best?
A camp lantern is a good choice, no matter the scenario. Again you must have fuel stored in a safe area. This is always hard in a survival situation. Remember extra mantles for your camp lantern. We should always have flashlights and batteries available.
For our well-being, we need to be able to heat our food and water. If you did not get the wood stove, you would need a camp stove. You should use both your stove and lantern a few times as soon as you get them to become familiar with them.
Once again, watch for used items in the online ads or social media groups, go to flea markets, and garage sales. Many people buy camping equipment and use it only a few times. Their loss is your gain.
One other thing I want to mention but will not dwell on is a generator. If you can afford one, they are great. However, I do not feel the average family can afford a qualitative one if they live on a budget. If you do have one remember spare parts, tools, and fuel stored in a safe hidden location.
In any survival situation, fuel will be an item people will go to almost any means to own. I think one fact that is missed by many survival writers is that not a lot of folks live in the country, and all of them were not in the Boy Scouts. Each one of us must look at where we live. If you live in the city or a built-up area, you must plan accordingly. The type of survival items you buy must be realistic.
🔦 Bugging out is a must for some
For some of us, if a disaster occurs, evacuation might be best. This brings up twice as many problems. Besides an evacuation plan, you will need a place to go. People in this situation need to read as much as they can about evacuation methods in addition to normal survival methods.
I feel city dwellers are in twice the peril of country or suburban dwellers. Most of today’s homes are built without thought of outside air cooling the house. During the summer and drought of 1988, most of us would have been pretty miserable without our air conditioning. Without power, we will not have air conditioning.
If you live in a building that you cannot survive in during extreme heat, you will have to have contingency plans. One other item you should have in your survival gear is a good battery-operated radio with extra (fresh) batteries. Even better, get a solar-powered radio. Depending on your location and the area of disaster, you should be able to pick up some radio stations. Keep your listing to news, weather, and related items pertaining to your survival situation.
These are some of the things you need to think about now! Talk to your grandparents or older people, you know. Some of them could help you more than you think. Use your imagination, look around your house, go to flea markets, garage sales, auctions, etc. Be careful, compare before you buy, it is important we do not pay too much. Make a list of the most important things you need to buy first.
The one thing that is a real problem without power to pump our water is the toilet. During a one or two day problem, you can drain water from your hot water heater to flush the toilet. If your heater is gas, be sure to turn the gas off first.
For the long term situation, you need a camp-style portable toilet. These are not expensive and use disposable plastic bags. Be sure to have toilet paper on hand. I encourage you to talk to older people, you know. Ask them how they did things “back home.” Read as much as you can. I think there is a little pioneer in all of us.
Q: How secure is our power grid?
A: Contrary to popular beliefs, our power grid is quite vulnerable and outdated (technology-wise) in most parts of the country. The main threats to our power grid are terrorist attacks (emp, improvised attacks using explosives, etc.) and cyber-criminals that can hack into the power grid and shut it down or cause damage that would take a long time to fix.
Q: What can I do to generate my own electricity?
A: The taught of living without power is frightening for some, and this led to various innovations that are now available to the general public. There are all sorts of ways that can help you generate electricity at home, from simple pedal generators to more cost-effective 3D solar panels.
Q: How can I cover my electricity needs if I’m forced to bug out?
A: The best option for those that are forced to evacuate would be to acquire a portable electricity generator. Here the options may vary, and you can find anything you can think of, from portable solar panels that can power an entire household to water turbines that can be placed in a stream. The way we see it is that one should concentrate on having the right means to produce power at their bug-out location.
Most of the things we talked about in this article are potentially dangerous if you are not familiar with them. If you have not used wood stoves, camp lanterns, candles, etc., you need to have someone help you. All you need is common sense and a little help from an experienced person.
Start today by deciding what your first goal is and start working on it. If we start, now our survival knowledge and gear will add up fast. I realize we cannot do it all at once, but we need to start now!
Useful resources to check out:
Find Out What’s the Closest Nuclear Bunker to Your Home
Learn how to Safeguard your Home against Looters