Prepping Intensive: Module 3

Power Outage Readiness

Some other materials

Weekly Challenge

The No-Power Challenge

How much do you rely on power for everything you do? This week, make a conscious effort to do some of the things you normally do without the help of power. Each day, share with us over on the Module 3 Forum page the things you’ve done manually. Some examples might be:

  • Using alternative lighting instead of electrical
  • Cooking a meal off-the-grid
  • Watering the garden with buckets instead of a hose.
  • Shutting off the TV for an evening and hanging out with the family – no electronics allowed
  • Entertaining yourself without electricity (reading, doing a puzzle, doing a craft)
  • Mixing a recipe by hand instead of with a mixer

You get the idea. The key here is to be cognizant of how much we rely on power and to practice ways of doing things so that it’s not so difficult and foreign when the grid is down.

Be sure to keep notes!

Weekly To Do List

Get Ready for a Power Outage

This week’s To-do list is all about getting ready for an incident that causes the electricity in your home to go out. Don’t let a sudden power outage take you and your family by surprise.

No-Cost Preps

  1. Put together some lights out kits for the main rooms of your house. Each kit should include a light source and a fuel source. Storing them together is a great idea so that you won’t have to go searching for a lighter or more kerosene in the dark. You can make these part of your decor by making a pretty display of an old fashioned kerosene lamp and a decorative box with matches. Make sure everyone in the family knows where these are located and are told to not use or move them until there’s an actual power outage!
  2. Put a plan in place for surviving in your home during a summer power outage. If you have elderly loved ones, anyone with chronic health issues, or a baby in the family, make plans to evacuate them elsewhere for the duration of a longer term power outage.
  3. Make an evac plan. If an outage lasts for more than 6 hours during very cold or very hot temperatures, begin to make you have evacuation plans in place. You may need to go to a warmer or cooler location, especially if your household includes infants, toddlers, the very elderly or anyone with chronic health issues. Be sure pets are included in your plan.
  4. Do you have lots of old blankets, quilts, and comforters? Launder them and pack them away with unused dryer sheets so that they are fresh and clean if you need to use them during a power outage. If you live in an area where insects are a problem, protect these blankets by layering dryer sheets in their folds, cedar balls, cedar planks or some other fabric-safe insect repellent. Don’t use moth balls! Space bags can be a great way to reduce the storage space needed for them.
  5. Freeze some water. If there is room in your freezer, fill several 2-liter bottles with water, leaving about 3 inches of air space at the top, and freeze them. These bottles of ice will help keep your freezer and/or refrigerator cool and can also be used in an ice chest. When they thaw, they can be used for drinking water.
  6. Go on the internet and print off the lyrics to some favorite songs. Then, using a 3 ring binder, make a songbook of family favorites.
  7. Make an entire meal from emergency supplies. Be sure that you make it using a secondary cooking method

Low-Cost Preps

  1. Buy a supply of candles and matches, but with this one warning: avoid open flame candles if you have young children. If you can use a candle safely, place it in front of a mirror for double the illumination.
  2. Pick up some solar garden lights at the dollar store. Make a pretty display on your patio putting the lights in a pot with some branches.  Then, when you need them indoors, they’ll be charged up and ready to go. Solar garden lights make fantastic night lights for the kids’ rooms and the bathroom.
  3. Stock up on batteries. Do an inventory of the types of batteries you need. *AAA batteries: _____________ needed/purchased *AA batteries: _____________ needed/purchased* D batteries: _____________ needed/purchased
  4. Get safe light sources for the kids. Place a flashlight or light stick near their beds for nighttime outages or emergencies.
  5. A battery powered fan could be a life-saver in a summer power outage. Pick up one or more from Amazon, a dollar store, or a sporting goods store and then have at least 2 sets of fresh batteries for each fan.
  6. Buy an external battery pack for charging your cell phone and other small electronics. Keep it charged and stored where you can find it.
  7. Stash some cash. A power outage will affect operations of all ATM and banking machines. Stash at least $100 in small bills somewhere in the house, preferably in a fire-proof safe.
  8. Power outages also affect the fuel pumps at gas stations. If you can store fuel (gasoline or diesel) safely, begin filling and storing 5-gallon containers. Calculate how many you would need to completely fill each vehicle and that can become your fuel storage goal. Gasoline should be rotated, similar to food, so mark on each gas can the date it was purchased, and after 6 months or so, begin using old gasoline and replacing it with fresh.
  9. Store fuel for cooking. For any cooking method that requires fuel, begin stocking up enough to last for at least 30 days of daily cooking/heating water.
  10. Stock up on foods that don’t require cooking. Use the “Handy No-Cook Foods” printable to stock up on foods and snacks that do not require cooking. This will help conserve the fuel you have stored and will save time as well.
  11. Make an emergency toilet with a 5-gallon bucket, heavy duty contractor-quality plastic bag, kitty litter, and a pool noodle (for a comfy seat).
  12. Buy a digital thermometer for your refrigerator. In the event of a power outage, this can help you to determine whether or not your food is still safe for consumption.
  13. Hit some yard sales or thrift stores with your children in mind. (But not in tow – this is a grown-up excursion!) Pick up age-appropriate toys and books, and stash them away without letting the kids see what you got. Then, during a power outage or emergency, you’ll have a brand new (to them) stash of goodies to entertain your kiddos. Obviously, focus on toys that don’t require the grid to work.
  14. Make sure you have something to do if the power is out. Stock up on off-grid entertainment:  arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals.
  15. Consider getting an inexpensive kiddy pool. During a summer power outage, it can provide some respite from the heat for both children and grown-ups.
  16. Got coffee and a way to make it? If you are someone who enjoys (or needs desperately) a morning cup of coffee, invest in an emergency supply of coffee, shelf stable creamer, and an off-grid way to make it. (A coffee press is probably the easiest method.)
  17. Pick up some glowsticks. If you have children, glowing bracelets serve two purposes. They keep darkness at bay and they make children easier to spot if they wander off in the dark. Right now, you should be able to find them inexpensively at the dollar or discount stores. As well, Amazon sells them in packs of 100.
  18. Look for a second-hand pop-up tent. A small tent can be used indoors to conserve and combine body heat in a winter power outage.  If you’re planning to use it indoors, it doesn’t have to be as sturdy and weatherproof as a tent for your bugout kit. Plus, the kids will enjoy “camping” on the living room.

Investment Preps

  1. Get back-up medical equipment. If anyone in the family relies on medical equipment (CPAP machine, nebulizer, etc.), have a plan to keep them energized. For many of these, there are battery powered versions.
  2. How will you stay warm if the power goes out in the winter? If you don’t have a built-in off grid heat system like a fireplace or woodstove, now is the time to choose a secondary system. Look into propane or kerosene heaters that are safe to be used indoors. Purchase a supply of additional fuel and a battery operated CO monitor.

Shopping List

Batteries – stock up on AAA, AA, and D  (Be warned that the cheapo dollar store batteries don’t last long at all. You’ll spend less money in the long run by buying name brands in quantity)

Tea light candles

Jackery external battery pack

Coffee Press (This one is less than $15)

Glowsticks (this is a great deal on a pack of 100)

Cedar storage accessories (This kit from Amazon is an incredible deal)

Space bags

Battery operated fan (There are numerous options for this, depending on your budget and your needs.)

Solar lights (The dollar store is probably your best bet for these

Mr. Heater indoor-safe propane heater

Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms by Dr. Arthur T. Bradley

One Second After by William Forstchen

Surviving EMP by Rob Hanus

Bonus

This week’s bonus is from Lisa Bedford’s book-in-progress, One Second After the Lights Go Out, a practical survival manual for surviving in the weeks and months following a catastrophic loss of the power grid.  You can download it here.

One Second After the Lights Go Out

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