Most people think about the lives we live in terms of society, culture, and socio-economic position. In truth, the vast majority of what we rely on day to day is based on a complex network of technology and infrastructure. The lights rely on connecting to the public grid that is supplied by your local power plant. The water relies on miles of pipes connecting to your local water aquifer and water treatment center. Even if you have solar panels or a well, anything can go wrong. A storm, earthquake, or another local disaster could cause one or more of your utilities to go out. Even if you have somewhere out of town you can take the family, it’s important to be prepared to weather at least a few days without power in your home.
Lighting Your Home Safely
The first order of business is lighting your home. You might be surprised just how dark the corners of a house can become without electric light, even in the daytime. There are three practical methods for lighting your home over an extended period of time without grid power. The standard fall-back is candles which are usually good enough for the couple of hours outage a tornado or mild hurricane can cause, Of course, to last a long time you will need candle holders to deal with the large wax buildup and a lot of very large candles.
For a higher fire-based technology, you can stock up on oil lamps instead which provides both more light and a more compact way to store your lighting fuel in oil cans. Finally, there are electric lanterns but these will require a reasonably expensive supply of batteries.
NO POWER? NO PROBLEM: You don’t need power to keep your family fed, especially with a delicious pack of these “super” bars. (they even taste like Lemon Shortcake!)
Water or No Water
There is a very important distinction between power outages with and without water. If the water continues to flow, you will have plenty of drinking water and can bathe in cold water or water heated up on a campfire or grill outside. Without water, you’ll need to stock up early or acquire some in containers. It’s best to fill your bathtub and any available clean containers when you hear that a disaster is on the way and keep your supply topped-up just in case the water stops flowing at some point. Use clean container water for drinking and cooking and water in your bathtubs for washing and flushing the toilet.
Preparing for No-Power Meals
Cooking for your family during a power outage will depend on the configuration of your home. If you have a backyard or an authorized porch, you can set up a grill or a fire pit and cook as if you were on a family camp out. If you have a fireplace, you can use a grate to cook there. Keeping your refrigerator closed and full of cold items (or jugs of water) can help to keep food from spoiling for a day or two while the power is out but don’t count on eating anything that can spoil. Instead, pack dry and canned goods that you’d be willing to eat cold in case you can’t start a fire. Alternately, you can rely on battery power for a small electric camp stove for as long as your batteries last.
Enhancing Your Battery Power with Solar
If (and only if) the disaster is not an ongoing storm, you can extend the life of any battery-powered solutions with a solar charging station. With a few well-placed solar panels, an inverter, and a charge controller, and a lead-acid or lithium-ion battery. With this, you can create one working outlet which can be used to plug in a battery charger or power one appliance at a time.