Some security experts are warning that Iran’s hacking abilities have grown to the point that they could take down the entire power gird in the United States. Others say they might be able to take things off-line in a few cities, but not the country as a whole. In either case, are you prepared to live without power for an extended period – at least weeks and possibly even months?
So what would your world look like if the gird went down? The lights are out, there is no running water, you have no phone signal, no internet, no heating or air conditioning. Food starts rotting in your fridge, hospitals struggle to save their patients, trains and planes are stuck. Stores, restaurants and gas stations are not open either.
There may not be floodwaters, torn up buildings or gaping cracks in the ground like with many natural disasters, but nevertheless the world you took for granted no longer exists and you are faced figuring out how to survive even if only for a few weeks.
Are you expecting the government to come and bail you out? If so, you are going to be waiting for a long time. There is a very good reason that FEMA and the CDC have changed their mantra of being prepared to support yourself and your family from 72 hours to 10-14 days. They know that there are not enough responders available to help in a widespread regional emergency, and there will be even less help available if it is something that affects all or most of the nation.
So no grocery stores, no way to fill your gas tank and most likely nowhere to go to get away anyway. If history has shown us anything, it is that grocery stores and convenience stores will most likely be looted in short order, and that violence will most likely be involved. So it is better to plan ahead and avoid the chaos.
The first thing you are going to want to do to be prepared now is start with the basics. Make sure you have set aside enough food and water for everyone in your household including pets. The minimum amount of water to store for each household member is one gallon a day. If you are planning on being prepared for at least two weeks, then you would need 14 or more gallons per day. if you live in a hotter or drier climate you may want to set aside more than that. If you live where you are likely to get rain or snow, you still need that amount but it can be supplemented by catching rain or snow and filtering through an Alexapure before using it.
If you are on municipal water that is gravity fed you may have water flowing for a short period of time. Take advantage of that by filling up any extra containers for drinking/cooking and your bathtubs so that you can use the water for flushing. But remember the saying, “if it is yellow let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down” and try to limit the flushing you do. Stock up on baby wipes to use to keep family members at least reasonably clean but try to have everyone wash their hands with soap and water prior to meals, to reduce the chance of illness.
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As for food, you can go the quick and simple route of purchasing food from places like Augason Farms which is carried at Walmart or you can purchase on-line at places like My Patriot Supply that have kits that figure out the number of calories per day for you already. You can also simply purchase extras of what you usually buy, keeping in mind that you will not have a working refrigerator or freezer. You could do a combination of store-bought food along with kits or purchase strictly from your local grocery store. Try to stick mostly with canned goods or simple to prepare boxed items and don’t forget you will need a mechanical can opener. You will also want to figure on at least 1500-2000 calories a day per person.
Next, how are you going to cook your food? If you have a camp stove or grill with the proper fuel supplies you can cook meals outside. Never use them in the house or an enclosed space, as that could end up being a fatal choice. If you want to recharge your phone, tablet or maybe run some rechargeable lights you might consider investing in a BioLite stove. You won’t be able to call anyone, but you can still take pictures, make silly videos with the kids or play games or read ebooks. The BioLite stoves run on small sticks or wood scraps and the heat generated from the fire not only allows you to cook on them but also generates limited power while you are doing so. Again, these are to be used outdoors only.
Be very, very careful using candles, and be sure they are well supervised and out of the reach of children or pets. Better yet have battery-powered camp lanterns, touch lights, flashlights and headlamps and stock plenty of batteries.
If it is winter and cold in your home, consider setting up a tent or building a blanket fort big enough for your whole household to sleep in the same space. The tent or fort will help conserve body heat overnight. With young children, the novelty of “camping indoors” can sometimes help the situation seem less scary to them, as does sleeping close to loved ones. Be sure to make room for your pets as well, dogs and cats can give off a surprising amount of warmth and if its cold they will more than likely want to snuggle too.
Don’t forget to have a basic first aid kit on hand, and make sure that you stay well-stocked on any medications you take as you will not be able to get refills until power has been restored. If necessary talk with your doctor and explain that you are wanting to keep an extra 14-30 day supply and they will usually help you do so, just like if you were going on vacation when your refills were due.
The suggestions here are by no means exhaustive, but they good basic starting points. Your local state or county agency will have area-specific suggestions and information available for you and of course, the internet is a great source of information to make sure you are prepared to weather a gird-down situation.
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