Power outages happen at the damnedest times. They never seem to happen when you’re carrying your bug-out bag or when you’ve got a flashlight in your hand. And water outages don’t happen when your rain barrel is full or you’ve just topped off your 50 gallon water supply in the basement.
These things always seem to happen when you’re sitting on the toilet in the early evening and your flashlight is on the other side of the house when everything is plunged into darkness. The water stops flowing when all you have is five gallons left over – if that – from the last storm that came through a year ago.
Imagine if the power went out right now – boom, it’s gone. You’re sitting in the dark, or maybe having a cup of coffee at the breakfast table, or possibly getting a little SHTFblog reading in on the sly at work. It’s out. The backup generator didn’t kick in and there is no electricity feeding your gizmos. No lights, no running water, no electric stove. Nothing.
Stop right now and take inventory of where you are and what resources you have available. Emergencies don’t wait for you to get ready folks, they happen when they happen.
For me – as I write this – it’s early morning on a Saturday in November with an outside temperature right now of about 34 degrees. I’ve got a generator twenty feet away, a few different water filters I could use for several thousand gallons of water if necessary, and a couple of kerosene heaters to heat the house on a limited basis for awhile. At this exact moment I could go a few days with only minor discomfort and hopefully the electric company would have the power back on by that time.
But there are way more people out there not ready. Let’s face it folks, most of us today aren’t equipped to go long periods of time without electricity. It’s the lifeblood of our electronic civilization and many people would not be able to cope with an extended power outage.
If you saw the NatGeo movie “American Blackout” you’ll begin to get an understanding of just how dangerous it can be.
So the emergency/power outage has started and you’ve taken stock of what resources you have on hand. If you’re home I hope you’re in pretty good shape. Flashlights, candles, food and water, a way to stay warm, etc. If you’re out and about you might not have quite as much with you. I usually carry a small light and a multi-tool or pocket knife with me, so I can at least see if I’m in a dark office or other space without light. I also always have a bug-out or Get Home Bag (GHB) in the vehicle, so if push came to shove I still have a day or two worth of food and water.
Make a Plan
Have a plan laid out for what to do when TSHTF. This could be anything from a big old snowstorm to a societal collapse. If you have the thinking done ahead of time you’re going to be much better off than trying to come up with something on the spot.
Your plan will almost certainly change, but it’s better to make small adjustments to a plan than to try and come up with something in the middle of an emergency.
The only piece of advice I’ll give with your plan is to make it as simple as possible. If it’s too complicated your kids and even the adults might forget some of it during the heat of the moment.
Execute the Plan
Once an emergency begins and you sense there’s danger go ahead and execute the plan. Maybe your first step is to establish communication with your family members, or maybe you have a prearranged meeting spot if communications are down.
The worst that can happen is you get to practice your plan, which is a good idea anyway.
Have a Rally Point
A friend of mine was at the Boston Marathon during the bombing. He was in town and his wife was running the race when the bomb went off. When he tried to call her on his cell phone he couldn’t get through. He said, “Jarhead, if there was one thing I wished we’d done it would have been to set up an emergency rally point.” He finally caught up with her hours later, but if it had been an extended emergency it could have been real trouble for them.
Rally points are simply a place where you meet up if there’s an emergency, or in some case even if you get separated. If I’m at a big outdoor event with my family and we’re going separate ways I’ll always say something like, “Ok, let’s meet at the hot dog stand by the entrance at 2:00 pm.” That way if we can’t find each other we’re not wandering around like a bunch of zombies looking for each other.
At a minimum have enough food and water on hand for three days, at a minimum. Some people go for a month to three months and others have a year or more food stored away. Imagine how good it would be to know that if you’re suddenly cut off from the outside world you’re going to be able to eat for an extended period.
I’ve got some dehydrated food from Survival Cave stored away. Chances are good I’ll never have to use it, but I breathe easier knowing it’s there. It can be a little pricey, but it’s an insurance policy good for many many years. Well worth it in my book.
Have you been checking out the repercussions from the typhoon that just wiped out the Philippines? That is a truly horrible situation these people find themselves in and as I watch the news I constantly ask myself, “Could I have done better than this? Would my preps have made it through the storm?”
I’m not trying to bash those folks by any stretch, but if you can look at a situation and get a feel for just how bad the folks over there have it, then maybe you’ll go the extra mile and make sure you have good preps in place. Batteries, solar chargers, heat sources, communications and backup plans, food, water… these are all important to the safety and well-being of your family.
Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.