Let’s face it, you have most likely been through some sort of power outage or blackout in your lifetime. How prepared for it were you? How long did the power outage last? What would you have done if it lasted a lot longer than just a few hours?
Most often, when any kind of power outage occurs, they are fixed within a couple hours at worst. But how prepared are you if one were to last longer than a day, or perhaps even longer than a week? Most people take electricity for granted, and do not realize that the entire electrical power grid of the United States is an aging piece of technology, and it is common for small parts of it to go out and cause a short-term power loss. What do you need to be prepared in case a larger region of the grid failed, and caused a long-term blackout?
The most obvious supply to have for any length power outage is an alternate source of lighting. Candles and flashlights or very good to keep stored for emergency use. Candles can be found in large quantities for fairly cheap, and are good to put into each room during a power outage for lighting purposes. You will need to make sure your family knows where they are located, and make sure you also have a supply of matches or good lighters to light them with.
The next thing you should have at home in case of a blackout, or any other emergency or disaster, is a first aid kit. You can find kits in different sizes, some containing more extensive items than others, but be sure your kit has at least the following: various sizes or bandages, a roll of gauze or gauze pads, medical tape, scissors, an antibiotic such as Neosporin, hydrogen peroxide or another antiseptic, and pain medicine such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
In case of any disaster, you should also keep stored food and water, and a portable grill or means of preparing heated food. Non-perishable foods include canned foods like: beans, soups, and canned vegetables and fruits, as well as boxed foods such as: pastas and rices, and other things like macaroni and cheese.
You can also buy specialized nutrient bars that contain a high amount of calories and the necessary protein and nutrients required to function, in case of the worst-scenario emergencies. To prepare the food, you can use a small camping grill, either supplied by propane or charcoal heat. As far as the water, it is a good idea to keep a couple 5-gallon jugs on hand, which you can fill for very cheap at local dispensers. Also put as many water bottles as you can inside the refrigerator and freezer as soon as the power goes out, as they will act as insulators and keep the contents cold for a longer amount of time.
Family Survival During an Electrical Power Outage
In the last four years an average of 24.45 million people, in the US, has lost power at some time in that year. As we have become more reliant on electrical power for our daily lives these outages will have a greater effect on us than ever before. Even things like wood or oil stoves, now need electricity to operate. According to the experts power outages will become more common as our electrical generation, & distribution infrastructure ages.
Most electrical power systems in the US are still based on 1960’s technology & is has been years since any major upgrades. Because of this there is an increased chance of rolling blackouts or brown outs that will cause major disturbance in people’s lives, & the operations of businesses.
To survive these power outages we need to be proactive. Think about the last time the power went out at your house, was there panic? Or did you have everything you needed. Below is a list of things each family should consider to be prepared for the inevitable power outage.
- Oil lamps, candles, camping lights (use caution if young children will be around)
- Battery operated radio
- Flashlights, one for every family member
- Fresh batteries or alternative electrical source charger
- Non-perishable food items
- Bottled water, juice
- Propane for an outdoor grill or camp stove (do not use grills or camp stoves indoors)
- Extra ice for your freezer, refrigerator and coolers.
- Extra gasoline if you have a generator. A portable electric generator can be a valuable backup source of power to operate your furnace and appliances. Just be sure you have it installed by a professional.
- First aid kit
- Emergency numbers – fire, police, doctor, Red Cross for emergency shelters
- A cooler for holding perishables
- Waterless antibacterial hand sanitizer
- Paper goods: paper plates, paper towels, plastic ware
How a Prepper Plans For a Power Outage and SHTF
Most Americans are totally unprepared for a major power outage, because they have been spoiled by such great service from the electrical utilities. However, the people who call themselves “preppers” are concerned about a number of scenarios that range from the possible to the highly unlikely. How does a prepper think about and plan for a power outage?
Depending upon the scenario, a prepper will take anything from modest measures to prepare for a power outage up to and including what many people would consider extreme measures.
The most extreme scenarios are referred to with the acronym “SHTF” (Sewage Hits The Fan). The measure that would be employed for these scenarios would include storing hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel for power generators. However, for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the more mainstream prepper and more likely situations.
The most likely situation that preppers look at is some sort of an economic collapse, which will result in the utilities becoming less reliable over time. Rolling blackouts would become commonplace so learning to live without reliable electricity becomes very important.
While some preppers also are concerned that a terror strike could take the power grid down altogether for an extended period of time, the most intelligent preparations are not very expensive and ‘over the top’ solutions like purchasing huge diesel generators and stockpiling fuel.
The smartest preppers know the old backpacking adage that says “the more skills you have in your head, the less gear you have to carry on your back.” For this reason, preppers learn how to get by with a lot less so that the power outage doesn’t hit them as hard to begin with.
Preppers prepare for a power outage by having foods stored that require minimal cooking – like canned soups. They have lanterns and alternate lighting solutions and practice camping skills.
They are very familiar with their camping and survival gear because they practice using it. This way, even in the worst of weather they are not a ‘babe in the woods’ struggling to keep warm in their house without a working furnace.
So as you can see, the way a prepper plans for worst case scenarios is to toughen themselves up and mentally prepare as much or more than making physical preparations with gear and equipment.