I suppose you watched the news yesterday evening and today. Huge winter storm hits the central and northeast part of the country. Traffic snarled. Numerous power outages. People flocking to the supermarket to stock up. Sitting in front of my cozy pellet stove out here in Utah, with the temperature dropping to single digits, I was inwardly pleased to know that should the power suddenly go off line, I would remain cozy and warm and well fed even if the outage lasted a week or two. How many of you would be able to have that same confidence? I’ll bet there are many people out east right now, with power lines down due to the storm, who wished they had prepared a little better for such a situation. We are so used to living on the grid that any disruption of the grid can become a huge problem to the average citizen--that is, unless they are prepared.
And being prepared is easy to do, not that expensive, and provides a sense of safety and satisfaction in knowing you can carry on in the face of any disaster, whether man made or by nature. Think like a Boy Scout--Be Prepared. The following is an outline of how to get yourself set.
You need the following essentials to weather any calamity. I’ll take them one at a time.
With the temperatures hovering around 10 degrees where I live, shelter is essential should the grid drop off. Your house is a great shelter, but it will be pretty miserable if after a week the internal temperature drops to that of the outside temperature. I have solved that problem by having a pellet stove, a month’s supply of wood pellets, and a means to power the auger and blower on the stove. To do this, I built and installed my own solar panels, batteries, and inverter that will provide near continuous power during the day, and half the night. But you don’t have to be that elaborate. A small gasoline driven generator/inverter out in the garage or back yard can provide the emergency power you need to drive space heaters, electric blankets, and basic electric cooking appliances. My solar system cost me less than $500 complete, and a utility generator with 3500 peak watts runs less than $500 at Costco. Could be the best investment you would ever make.
Water is essential to life. Period. In order to survive, you must have drinking and cooking water. Each person requires one gallon of water per day for drinking and sanitation. Be sure you have at least two weeks supply on hand. Should the grid go down, many municipal water systems would not be able to guarantee drinkable water. It would be a good idea to have water purification tablets on hand. Plain liquid bleach, at the rate of 8 drops per gallon, will do in a pinch. Collecting rainwater by erecting a tarp, or catching downspout water is a good way to replenish drinkable water. : How to purify water.
Finally, food. Nobody wants to go on a forced diet during an emergency. Most people have enough food to last a week or two, but remember if you drop off the grid you may not have the ability to refrigerate your perishables, unless of course you have a garage like mine that is colder than a refrigerator. And, you need a way to cook your food without gas or electricity. With a generator, an electric skillet, rice cooker, and tea pot will get you by. A small, liquid fueled Coleman Camp Stove is perfectly adequate for meal preparation. A good iron Dutch Oven with a couple bags of charcoal briquettes will go a long way in producing hearty meals. I have found that planning and storing food supplies is fairly easy if you pretend that you are going on a two week camping trip and stock up accordingly.
Finally, it goes without saying that you should have the following: Emergency crank radio, first aid kit, flashlights with lots of extra batteries, candles, and a good supply of your critical medications.
For quite a bit less than a thousand dollars, you can prepare yourself and your family for what is happening to a lot of folks back east right now. Don’t you think it is time to quit thinking about being prepared, and actually do something?