How to Survive Life when the Power goes Off

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How to Survive Life when the Power goes Off

As a nation, we've become addicted to technology. The devices we created to enhance our lives have become a crutch that's exposing us to a massive vulnerability. What will we do if the power goes out? Right now, as you read this, the United States is woefully unprepared to defend against an EMP attack. If any one of our enemies had the inclination, they could start a chain reaction that would destroy the majority of electronics from coast to coast, essentially setting our country back 200 years. And they've already got the technology. All they'd need to do is set off a nuclear device in the atmosphere above the United States, as the resulting electromagnetic blast would fry all of our electronics. The results would be catastrophic. But it doesn't even need to be a man-made threat. Nature is often our own worst enemy, with storms and disasters straining our systems until they crash. Now you might be facing an outage because the power company saw it coming and have shut down certain areas in anticipation of the rising demand, or it could be a bigger disaster they couldn't possibly prepare for.

Imagine a world where the grid is down.

The lights no longer turn on. Your freezer and refrigerator begin defrosting, and your electric oven is now useless. The food you've got may last a few days at most, if you could find a way to cook it. Even if you can get your car to start, you'll need to find a way to manually open your electronic garage door before you can venture out on the streets. Be extra careful, in addition to the traffic lights being down many people will be ignoring basic road etiquette in the absence of law and order. Plus, you need to be wary of anyone who wasn't prepared. They may be out and armed to take what you have, so only venture out if it's critical. Without power people will be trapped in high-rise buildings, or even stuck in elevators if the blackout was sudden or unexpected. People may be marooned if they were travelling, and any stores are going to struggle. People will be stocking up in bulk, and without a proper cashier system to stock-take and resupply, shelves can empty in just a day or two. Depending on your climate you could be facing one of two major threats. Without power, fans and air conditioners can no longer cool our comes, or if you live somewhere cold your furnace will shut down and stop circulating hot air. Pipes will freeze, and so will you if you don't find a way to keep warm. The city water supply will be compromised, and you'll be lucky to even get a slow drip from your faucet. Speaking of pumps, the sump pump in your basement will no longer work, so water will begin seeping in. Keep an eye on it, especially if you've got anything valuable stored down there. After a day your cell phone will die, and if not you're going to be lucky if you can even make a call with the power being out in the cell towers. Emergency services will take priority over any communication networks still up, heck, even your landline is probably not going to work. If you've got a laptop you may be able to get on the internet initially, until the battery in this too dies. The internet should continue working in the short term, as the server farms behind it normally have backup generators to deal with short-term outages, but they too will not have an endless supply of fuel, and will eventually shut down. That's when life goes dark. Life without electricity is transformed, and we really are sitting ducks. As a country we're so reliant on technology that an attack or disaster on a national scale could destroy society as we know it. It's only a matter of time before mother nature, or one of our enemies uses a weapon like this against the United States. I don't know about you, but that gives me an uneasy feeling. Once it does, and the inevitable blackout comes, who's to say how long it will last. Maybe a day? A week? Natural disasters have already knocked out power to regions in the United States for months. Now imagine if it was a coordinated attack on US soil. It could easily be much worse than this, and we'd be stuck facing a world without power. Not a fun scenario to imagine. Now the best course of action is always preparation, and to get your family ready for a crisis at this scale I recommend the following.
  • Have at least two generators and enough fuel to keep them running for months on end. Don't forget backup parts, as with everything mechanical they will eventually break down. I actually purchased two twin models, so that in a worst-case situation I could salvage parts from one generator to fix the other.
  • Start making modifications to your home now, so you're not wholly reliant on your local infrastructure. The goal is to live totally off-the-grid, so find ways you can implement this. Perhaps it's the installation of a wind turbine or some solar panels, or tapping a well on your property. Maybe you could install a rain-catchment system, or a septic tank to keep your home sanitary when the pipes no longer carry your waste away.
  • I'd also ensure you build a stockpile to ensure you've got enough supplies, cash and goods for barter to make it at least a year in a situation where the grid is down. This includes firearms and ammunition to protect your family, as people will do horrible things once they're desperate to preserve their own life.
It's scary how reliant our society is on the power grid, and being prepared will ensure your family will not suffer should the lights go off for a day, a week, or even a year. Now that's what I call survival.