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Prep for Grid-Down: When the Lights Go Out

Unexpected power outages can happen as a result of many things. Fallen trees, ice storms, blown transformers and more. While there are any number of unpredictable circumstances that can cause the lights to go out, there are just a few precautions that must be taken to ensure that you can survive and avoid the potential hardships that come with losing power.

Stockpile Water

Although the prepper-inspired cynical joke of “one day it will be currency” isn’t the case yet, having potable water available during a power-outage is priceless. Recent flooding and natural disasters have seen a vicious spike in price gouging when it comes to water. Reports of water being sold for $99 a case have become common place in the wake of power outages recently plaguing the country as a result of natural disasters. The good news is, on the regular, a gallon of water goes for about $2. This makes it easy to stockpile in advance. Here’s a tip, next time you hit the grocery store, toss two gallons in the cart. Keep it up for about two months and you will have approximately 16 gallons stored and ready.

Canned Food

After water, food is really your next concern when it comes to power outage. Having canned food that can be eaten hot or cold is key. Make sure to account for snacks as well, given that hunger is a legitimate threat to the well-being and morale of your group. Things like chili, beans, Vienna sausages, sardines, and pineapple chunks are great for meals. Trailmix, protein bars and dried fruits are solid snack items. If you are the self-reliant type, pressure canning your own food is an excellent way to create a solid stockpile of food that is ready-to-go in terms of dumping it in a pot and heating it up. Also, do not neglect to store an extra can opener or two.

Propane Stoves

Heating your canned food, or potentially boiling unpotable water can be a must for both morale and survival. The most effective (and affordable) way to do this is by purchasing a small propane stove. A single-burner propane stove goes for about $20. A few small propane cannisters will only set you back about $6 a piece. It’s a small price to pay for the ability you gain.

Having a wood burning stove is also great in a no-power scenario, however then one must make sure to have a healthy pile of cut wood set aside.

Candles

The ability to see in the dark is often taken for granted. Unexpected power outtages make this luxury of the First World quite apparent. While it is nice to have flashlights and headlamps available, sustained candle light can be incredibly helpful and comforting when nighttime comes. Try delegating a small drawer for a good supply of candles. They are easy to obtain and also quite affordable. Look to purchase larger, cyclindrical candles as opposed to the smaller “tea-light” kind.

Headlamps & Batteries

This one is a no-brainer. You’re going to need a transportable and preferably handsfree source of light in a world without power. Make sure to have more headlamps than you think you need, and take the time to do your homework on the amount of lumens your flashlights put out. It pays to spend a little bit more on flashlights and headlamps, and by all means, go heavy on batteries for both.  

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