We don’t often think of a power outage as a deadly event. It’s more of an annoyance than anything. However, a power outage absolutely can kill. Look no further than the huge blackout in Texas just a couple of years ago that killed over 200 people… and that only lasted a few days.
Now think about what could happen if the power went out for two weeks, or two months… or for good.
The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for a long-term power outage. Be it an EMP, a sophisticated cyber attack, or our nation’s rickety power grid finally reaching its breaking point, a long-term, wide-scale power blackout is absolutely a possibility you need to prepare for.
The Potentially Deadly Power Outage Predicament
Something as simple as a fallen branch can cause a short-term, localized blackout. There are more nefarious actors in the world, however, that can have you and your family in the freezing cold at any given moment. That’s going to have you thinking seriously about questions of basic survival – and at that point, it’s too late.
- Heating and Warmth: Staying warm is absolutely necessary for survival. Exposure to frigid temperatures can easily be life-threatening, or, at the very least, incapacitating.
- Food and Water: When the power goes down due to inclement weather you’re going to need a way to keep your family fed and hydrated. Stockpiling, growing or long-term storing food is a must.
- Communication: It’s hard to stay connected when the power goes down, so consider alternative communication methods to ensure that you can stay in touch with your family and your survival community.
- Health and Safety: Have a backup plan for sanitation and life-saving medical equipment in the event that the power grid goes down, be it for a week, a month, a year, or forever.
Constructing a Winter Storm Survival Kit
When winter storms threaten power outages, a basic survival kit will become your lifeline. At the absolute minimum, a survival kit, preferably kept in your car so that it’s wherever you find yourself, should contain:
- Warmth: Sleeping bags, warm clothes, and blankets, as well as a means to start a fire if need be, such as waterproof matches or firestarters.
- Light: Flashlights are good, but headlamps are better because they keep your hands free while providing you with the light you need to see.
- Food and Water: You should have at least a three-day supply of food and water for emergencies, but hopefully a supply that’s going to last a lot longer than that in the event of a prolonged power outage.
- Medical Supplies: Medical supplies include a First Aid kit and any necessary medications as well as sanitation products.
- Communication: Keep crucial contact information on a piece of paper rather than on your phone. Make sure you have lots of backup power for your communication devices and invest in a solar or hand-crank radio for public announcements.
Heating Sources for Survival
Maintaining a comfortable temperature is paramount during a winter storm power outage. Explore alternative heating sources to keep the chill at bay:
- Wood-Burning Stoves: Wood-burning stoves are one of the best sources of alternative heat because they allow you to easily cook food in the same place that you generate heat from.
- Portable Heaters: Battery- and propane-powered space heaters have come down considerably in price and are much safer than in years past. You still need to exercise caution, however.
- Emergency Blankets: Reflective, heat-insulating blankets are particularly good for making sure that you keep all the heat on the inside if you find yourself caught out in a winter storm or have to make a run for it over a long distance.
Communication Lines Are Lifelines During An Emergency
It doesn’t matter if it’s a minor winter storm or the end of the world as we know it. Communication is essential to making sure you and your family stay alive during any emergency So it’s necessary to develop an emergency communication plan for any disaster scenario:
- Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts – written on paper, not your phone – so that you can reach out any way you can when disaster strikes.
- Alert Systems: Signing up for emergency alerts and notifications from local authorities can give you advance warning of a disaster before it strikes.
- Portable Charging: You can never have enough power sources and backup energy. Stockpiling chargers can be as valuable as stockpiling food.
Emergency Lighting For Survival And Rescue
Illumination is not only comforting but crucial for safety. Equip yourself with reliable lighting sources:
- LED Flashlights: LED flashlights are energy-efficient, allowing them to provide long-lasting, bright illumination in the darkest of times.
- Candles and Lanterns: Candles (used safely) and battery-powered lanterns can light up a space if you can’t charge up your LED flashlights.
- Glow Sticks: Glow sticks can provide light both for vision and for signaling and are especially safe for children.
Save Your Life With Generators and Fuel
For extended outages of the kind you’re likely to be preparing for, a backup generator is an absolute must. Still, generators come with their own challenges and not all are created equally. Before you buy a backup generator for a grid down scenario or even just a winter storm there are some things to keep in mind:
- Generator Type: Choose the right generator for your family’s power needs, including wattage and fuel supply.
- Fuel Supply: Without adequate fuel, your generator is little more than a glorified paperweight. So stockpile the fuel you need to keep your generator running in case of an emergency.
When Your Home Is No Longer Safe: Evacuation Plan
Your home is your castle and you want it to be the safest place for your family… but that might not be the case. In the event that your home is no longer safe, the sooner you leave the better. Still, you’re going to need a plan for getting out of dodge.
That means having a safe destination in mind, as well as the means and knowledge to get there. Physical, paper maps of your local area are a must for any prepper. You also need a vehicle that’s ready to traverse anything, including snow and ice. If your generator runs off of regular gas, it can act as a backup fuel supply for your bugout vehicle in the event you have to abandon ship as it were.
You need to be prepared for the worst no matter what the weather is like. Having a bugout plan that ceases to work the second the temperature drops below 40F is a plan for death for you and your entire family. Following the steps above, however, ensures that you are going to be able to survive and thrive no matter what mother nature, malicious state actors, or sophisticated cyber-criminals throw your way.
Are you ready for a “grid down” scenario? What are you doing to prepare? Share your prepping efforts in the comments below.