Lights Out!


“Bracing for a big power grid attack: ‘One is too many’.” USA Today states, “About once every four days, part of the nation’s power grid – a system whose failure could leave millions in the dark – is struck by a cyber or physical attack.”

How would your family fare in a power grid down situation? What things would you need to prepare? In our world, where we rely heavily on power, the stores, debit, credit, etc. etc. we would be in serious trouble, right?

Let’s have a look at some of the things you would need to prepare for.

Lighting options – As much as we think we could live without light, it would get old after the first 24 hours.  One night of the kids complaining that they couldn’t see anything, they couldn’t do anything, they are bored, and so on, it is time to rethink the lighting situation.  What are your options?  You could have a large supply of candles, lighters and matches.  Both easy to do and cheap to pick up, plus they provide a bit of heat.  How about a flashlight in every room and extra batteries in a place where you can find them. Crank flashlights are a good idea.  Hurricane lanterns and other lanterns are a good plan, just make sure you use them safely.  We have a couple of oil lanterns and they are great, but not used properly they could quickly cause a larger emergency.  Glow sticks of all shapes and sizes might entertain the kiddos as well as provide some light. Whatever you choose to have, get them organized in a way you can locate them quickly in a grid down situation, whether short or long term.

Lights Out

Water is important in a power down situation as well.  Have your drinking water stored, and learn sources of extra water that could be used for flushing and washing.  No you will not be able to run to the store and get water, and much to our dismay, it won’t come out of the taps. Have a good storage of water filters, Berkey filters, life straws and so forth, there may be water sources around you that you could filter and drink. Prepare ahead of time, and have a plan of what you will do.  Know how much water it takes to flush your toilet.  Learn how and have the resources to use baby wipes to maybe give yourself a spit bath, so to speak.  What are your options, and have you prepared for no water with no power.

If you do have a generator, have you practiced hooking it up, at least so you could run your fridge and / or freezer.  Do you have a source of fuel to run your generator for an extended period of time.  The time to learn all about your generator is not when you are in need of it.

Cooking supplies – Peanut butter sandwiches will get old really fast, and you will run out of bread eventually.  So what are your options for cooking?  Do you have a barbecue?  Do you have a long term source of fuel for it?  Do you have a fire pit?  Wood?  Know what you could cook over a fire, and how to do it?  Do you own small camp stoves and have a source of fuel for them that would last awhile?  Dutch ovens are great, but you need a source of fuel.  Charcoal briquettes are great for fire pits, barbecues and other cooking options, and they store for indefinitely if kept dry.  Grab yourself a few extra bags this camping season and tuck them away.

Have you thought about what you would do with all the garbage that will quickly build up?  Garbage trucks won’t be running, so what are your options?  Have a good supply of all sizes of garbage bags, bare minimum.  Perhaps even have a way to create a burning barrel.  Most places won’t allow burning barrels within city limits, but when it all comes down, it would be better to burn it, than to have it pile up, attracting rodents, critters, and all manner of disease.  Lot’s of garbage bags, and a small burning barrel are a bare minimum.

Food – I can’t preach enough about food.  If your family is hungry, they will be cranky, and they will get sick.  Keep a good stock of canned goods, and dried goods on hand, always.  It is easy to open a can and warm it up over a small heat source.  Also canned goods can help with a little bit of water in your system.  It is good to have a supply of familiar foods, especially if you have little children.  Emergency is not the time to be introducing new foods to a fussy eater.  You may think they will eat if  they are hungry, but I can tell you, they won’t.  At least have a 72 hour supply of food and water, then work towards putting together a 3 month supply of food and water resources, and then work to a year supply.  Rotate it, learn to cook with it, learn to love it, and in an emergency situation, there will be no food shock to the system, causing sickness and mental trauma.

Lights Out

How are you going to stay warm?  Do you know how to hunker down into one or two main rooms in your home and keep them warm?  Do you have an alternate heat source?  Warm clothing?  Extra warm blankets?

Communication – how will you communicate with your family to know they are all okay and let them know you are okay?  Do you have cell phone solar chargers?  It is possible in emergency situations to get text messages out, even if a phone call won’t go through.  Who are you going to call?  Does your family have an out of area contact person, who you would get a message to, to let them know you are okay?  Then if any other family are wondering if you are okay, they don’t all have to try and get ahold of you, they can contact your out of area contact person.  It is important to have a central contact person and make sure everyone knows who that is.  Extra batteries are important.  Crank radios are important.  Two way radios between you and your family that live across town, are a great idea, as long as you have a good supply of batteries.

First aid supplies and prescriptions on hand are a must.  The first aid supplies should be tailored to what the needs of your family might be.  There are many lists available to help you figure this one out.  Do a little research and build a kit that works for your family. It might also be important for someone in your family to have first aid training.

Paper and plastic products.  It might be wise to have a supply of paper plates, cups and throw away utensils.  This will keep your dish washing to a minimum and save valuable water.  They can also be burned in your burn barrel that you are going to create.  Things like cards and board games might come in handy too, as entertainment will not include anything that requires electricity.

Think as you are going through this list, any other things you may need.  What would you need if the grid was down for only a few days?  What if it was out for a few weeks?  What if we had an EMP and it was out for many months, / years?  It is a reality we face in our world today.  It may be a big bad storm that takes out the power grid, it may be a big bad terrorist that does it, regardless of what the cause of it is, are you prepared for it?  Could your family breeze through it relatively unscathed if and when it happens to you?

If you think you would be in serious trouble, then figure out what you need to do to lessen that trouble.  Start today with one little step.  Buy a flashlight and batteries.  Buy a bag of charcoal briquettes.  Buy a package of candles.  Buy a small portable stove.  Whatever it is you need to do, just start today and do it.

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