What an Extended Power Outage Looks Like

phone-210972_640The Pacific Northwest recently learned a very hard lesson about what a real downed power grid would look and feel like. A devastating windstorm swept through western Washington and eastern Washington before hitting north Idaho. Falling trees took out utility poles by the dozen, snapping them in two. The devastation left hundreds of thousands without power and because the damage was so extensive and so widespread, thousands of people went without power for a couple of weeks. They were not prepared and have suffered dearly.

Many preppers assume they are prepared, but in reality, a massive power grid failure is more than they could have ever comprehended. It isn’t just a couple of houses that are without power for a few days. Check out some of the things that happened in the days and weeks following the windstorm and how you can learn from the ill-prepared folks in the area.

1-Rural homes on their own wells could not get water. This meant they didn’t have water for themselves or their animals. Some people had the requisite 3 days of water on hand, but once that was gone, they were in a bad place.

2-Grocery stores were sold out of water within hours—that is the ones that were open. Most of the stores did not have electricity and closed up shop altogether. A couple of the smaller ones used calculators and sold what they could—it didn’t last long. And that was on a cash only basis. No ATMs were working and many of the banks were closed because they had no power.

3-The gas stations had no power, meaning no gas could be pumped. For the people that had generators, they couldn’t buy fuel to keep them running. Sure, there were towns 20 to 50 miles away that had some limited supplies, but for the folks that didn’t have enough gas in the car to get there, they were in trouble.

4-Canned food was wiped out in a matter of days. People were using campstoves to cook on, but it wasn’t long before they ran out of propane. Without refrigeration, food in the refrigerators and freezers was spoiling faster than people could eat it.canned food

5-The cold became a major concern for those who did not have wood heat. Many people were forced to take refuge in hotels 50 miles away because local motels had no vacancies. Guess what? Most hotels do not take pets, which meant pets were left to fend for themselves. Animal shelters were quickly filled with pets who had ran off in the storm due to downed fences and those who felt they had been abandoned.

This is just a glimpse of what small town life looked like in the days following the major storm. This is something everybody can learn from. With the weather so unpredictable, it is a must that every person thinks long term when prepping food, water and other basic supplies. It can happen anywhere. Never assume you are ready. Always add more food and other preps and be prepared to ride out an extended power outage.

Staying Warm without Power

phone-210972_640If you are in a home that doesn’t not have a woodstove or fireplace, you run the risk of not having heat should the power go out. Winter weather is notorious for knocking the power out for hour or even days depending on the damage the weather causes. Ice and snow are heavy and can knock down trees onto powerlines or even the powerlines themselves. You must be prepared to stay warm without your furnace.

1-Invest in propane space heaters. These require no electricity and are safe to use inside the home.

2-Have extra blankets on hand to layer when the heat is off.

3-Keep extra hats and gloves on hand. You will need to wear them indoors to stay warm.

4-Cover the windows with blankets to help block the cold air from coming in through the glass.

5-Cover the windows with plastic. You can use duct tape to seal it over the windows.

6-Close all of the doors to rooms you are not going to use. This will keep the heat focused in one area.winter storm

7-Pick a small room in the house and have the whole family huddle together. This will keep the body heat focused in one area.

8-Create a blanket fort in the living room. A small space will heat quickly.

9-Set up a tent in the living room. It is much the same as the blanket fort, but provides a little more stability and room.

10-Group candles together. The small flames will produce heat and will heat up a small room or your tent.

These ten ways of staying warm will do in a pinch, but if you have the option, invest in a woodstove. It can double as a stove to heat meals and water when you have no power.

5 Advantages to Urban Prepping

cityIt may seem like the majority of preppers live in some rural homes or way off the grid, but there are plenty of people who live in the heart of a major city or in the suburbs who are also interested in prepping. While there are certainly different challenges the urban prepper must deal with, it isn’t impossible. In fact, there are many advantages for those who live in the city.

1-Access to resources like food and water. You won’t have to travel more than a block to find a store you can scavenge. Your neighbors’ homes are also an option if they have bugged out or have been killed.

2-Much easier to find survivors who you can lean on. Working with a small group of people provides you with safety as well as pooling of knowledge and resources.

3-Living in a high-rise apartment gives you a defensible space you can manage. You won’t be vulnerable to predators on the ground floor. You will see and hear anybody coming. With only one way in, it is much easier to keep somebody out.

4-Finding shelter isn’t a problem. Abandoned houses and buildings will be in abundance and you won’t have to spend a night outdoors, dealing with the elements.emergency

5-Easy access to medicine and medical care. Doctors and other medical professionals that are left in the city when SHTF will be easier to find than if you were out in the boonies. Looting pharmacies, hospitals and the medicine cabinets of abandoned homes is much easier due to your proximity.

While living in the city or suburbs is not an ideal situation for those who want to live a self-sustainable lifestyle, it doesn’t mean you can’t prep. You can store food and water and identify places to scavenge before anybody else does. Eventually, you will need to get somewhere that will allow you to grow your own food and raise animals for food. Don’t assume you can’t prep because you live in the city. In fact, because you live in the city, you should be prepping!

Are Ready-Made Bug Out Bags a Good Choice?

travel-641635_640Bug out bags are a hot topic in the prepping and survival world. They are one of the only things preppers and survivalists agree on—sort of. The agreement only goes so far as agreeing every person should have one. As far as the size and what goes in the bag, that is always a subject for contention, especially among some of the more experienced folks in the prepping world.

If you are new to prepping or simply like the idea of having a bag filled with emergency gear, but aren’t really wanting to get into the hows and whys, a prepared bug out bag is perfect for you. There are plenty of options for you to choose from, ranging from small and basic to much more elaborate.

Some of the more experienced people in the survival world will scoff at these ready-made bags. They will insist they cost too much or they don’t have this or that. In some ways they are right, but for the beginning prepper or the person who doesn’t have access to certain tools or for the person who would rather rely on the experience of someone else, these bags are perfect.

The bags have everything an average person needs to survive three days without immediate aid. Of course, there is no one size fits all in bug out bags. Even if you do buy a ready-made bag, you need to add items that are specific to your needs. If you have allergies, add your medicine. If you have some other medical condition, toss in the gear you need to survive.medical kits

The expense of the bags is actually not that much more than if you were to buy the items individually. You are getting the bag and the gear in one price, which could end up being cheaper for some. Don’t be afraid to buy one of these prepared bags. They are great to stash in your car or keep at the office just in case of an emergency. When you have more time and you gain more experience, build your own bag that is customized to you and your needs.