While power failures will happen at any time of the year, the most dangerous time for one is when it’s cold and snowy outside. What’s an inconvenience in the summer could simply kill in the winter.
Freezing temperatures and roads that can be difficult for repair vehicles to travel on add up to longer times to repair the problem and more time for you without power, and most importantly, heat. By preparing for a power failure now you can stay safe when the power goes out.
Power Failure Causes
Before getting into the checklist, let’s inspect some of the most likely causes of a power failure. While, yes, there are nefarious causes for a huge power outage like terrorist attacks, nature is far better at wreaking havoc than man could ever be.
The threat of a solar flare knocking out power transmission is all too real, and it’s probably the most dangerous and hardest to recover from. The burst of electromagnetic energy entering our atmosphere may overload our power grid, knocking it out for weeks, possibly months. This has happened on a small scale in the past and could easily happen again in the future with very little to no warning.
For most folks, however, the cause of a power failure can possibly be weather. In cold months, lines is cut by ice and snow-covered trees as well as automobile accidents and simply by extreme cold. in the warmer months, overload and high heat can easily cause massive brown and blackouts. Whatever the cause, a power failure is definitely something to worry about, and next we’ll look at a way to prep for one.
When talking regarding prepping for a power failure, we’re not so much talking about an hour- or day-long failure, however the additional systemic failures that can last a week or more. Consider an violent storm paired with a blizzard that brings down lines across your town. This could leave you without power for a week or longer as power is restored. For long-term failures like these, your prepper skills have to be called into action.
Water – First and foremost, water is the key to your survival. Sure, water doesn’t use power to come into your house, but it will need power to be pumped and, more importantly, the sewage undoubtedly needs to be pumped. If generators run out of fuel, the water system may simply be tainted with sewage, creating your tap water too dangerous to use. Plan for one gallon per person per day, and of course don’t forget to include any pets you have in your water prepping, too.
Food – Just like the other prep, you need to plan for enough food to keep you fueled and moving. While water is more vital than food, you’ll still definitely need to set up for a way you’ll eat when the grocery store shelves are barren and there aren’t any deliveries coming.
Remember, even your gas stove might fall prey to the power failure, so ensure that you have a camp stove or alternative cooking technique. Even a propane grill outside is an excellent option. To make life easier, you’ll prep foods that don’t need cooking, however it’s pretty easy to get sick of cold canned beans, so plan for a few off-grid cooking too.
Heat – If a power failure happens during the winter months, keeping warm is a real necessity. Adding some extra layers may keep you warm for a couple of hours, however it’s not a viable solution for a week or more. Don’t underestimate the cold; it can kill you just as easily as lack of water, if not quicker.
Having a kerosene heater or gas heater may be a great way to stay heat, but you must use them in properly ventilated areas to avoid CO poisoning. Of course if you have a fireplace, you’re good to go — just keep a supply of wood prepared at all times. If you live in a part of the country that gets very cold winters, it’d be a good idea to install a gas fireplace, as they’re actually fairly inexpensive and can keep you heat without power.
Sanitation – Cleanliness is one of the most overlooked survival requirements, yet lack of it’s one of the largest killers. Think about how you’ll clean utensils and other cooking implements. With limited water, getting a stomach bug can’t only hurt you, but your supplies as well. It may not be glamorous, but consider how you’ll use the toilet. If water still flows and you have a septic tank, then you’re safe. If there’s no water flow, you’ll dump some water into the toilet and it’ll still flush.
Use hand sanitizer when handling food and dishes, and use anti-bacterial wipes on any surface that touches food, plates, utensils, etc. Keeping clean means you’ll have the simplest chance at staving off illness.
Light – Flashlights are all nice and fine, but when you’re talking regarding weeks of not having power, you’ll not only need some additional batteries, but you’ll also need better light sources. There are the battery-powered kind of lights and lanterns, so there are the fuel-based versions. Long-burning candles, kerosene lamps, and camp lanterns are all wonderful fuel-based forms of lighting. Combine these with flashlights and solar-powered lighting and you’ll be able to see during the outage.
Of course you need to prep for the standard stuff like first aid, self-defense, and home security. These are all excellent “bug-in” methods of prepping, and as you probably won’t be skipping town just because of a power failure, it’s an excellent course of action.
Whatever the cause, a power failure can be a true survival situation, and by prepping for one now, you increase your chances of coming out of one unscathed