Last Updated on January 26, 2015
Welcome back to the last installment of our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid where we are discussing preparations you can make right now that could possibly save your life if you find yourself without the conveniences of the grid. As I stated in other articles, we frequently hear people planning of a simpler, more self-reliant life where they can live untied from the complex systems of our current 21st century lifestyles. For obvious reasons, this dream is one that many of us strive for, but frequently are unable to obtain.
In a disaster though, that dream of being untied and self-sufficient may not be something we opt for by making various lifestyle and geographic changes; it may come to us without much advance warning whether we are ready or not. The news of the impending blizzard in New York is a perfect example of the possibility of disaster. In extreme cases, the conveniences of the grid might be unavailable to people for an extended time. If a disaster strikes, what would you need to have prepared ahead of time to make it through your own off grid scenario?
To briefly catch everyone up; our first article talked about the importance of water and having a renewable source if we have any hope of lasting a long time without the benefits of modern utilities. The second article dealt with food and creating systems now that would feed you if the grocery stores never opened again. The third article focused on sanitation and hygiene so that as much as possible we reduced our exposure, and conversely our risk of infection from disease. The fourth article discussed topics of shelter. The last item we will discuss is the need to have an alternate source of power.
It is hard to imagine our days without the benefits of electricity. We have become so reliant on this source of energy that most of our modern lifestyles are dependent upon having a reliable source every single place we go. Without electricity, the obvious things like light bulbs and microwaves no longer work, but I wouldn’t have a job without electricity. In the past when I worked in various other careers, if there was a disruption in power, there was always something to do. Usually this involved cleaning in some capacity or reorganizing supplies.
Now, in my current profession if the power went out I wouldn’t be able to do any of my job responsibilities. I rely on power which enables the internet for every aspect of my job, from computer to phone. Meetings are held over the internet as well as presentations and conference calls with our VOIP phones. Our service is a web based application and without internet, nobody can access your service. Zip. Zilch, Nada. It is that way for many millions of other people, but outside of work, almost every other system relies on power too. ATM machines, wireless internet routers, gas pumps, cash registers, credit card transactions and on and on. We can’t really conduct many of the main transactions of commerce without power, but we also rely on power in our homes for simple survival.
Having a backup source of power is important if some event or circumstances take down the power grid. In the example of the anticipated blizzard in New England, power could be lost for millions making an already undesirable situation worse. To prepare for power outages or blackouts I think there are several layers of backup power and associated items you can consider. They might be too late for the people in New York, but you can make plans now to prevent a disruption in your future.
Short Term Power Outage Supplies (up to 8 hours)
For this relatively short duration you shouldn’t have to worry about more than simple navigation (light source) and minor power needs. Batteries should all be topped off in anticipation of outage if possible.
- Rechargeable Batteries X 2 for the important items (radio, lights)
- Battery Charger w/ solar or vehicle adapter for batteries and cell phones
- USB External Battery Charger – Essentially a large battery that can recharge your smart phone up to 7 times on a single charge.
- LED Flashlight with spare batteries – 1 per person
- Candles – 15 Hour Emergency candles
- Battery powered lantern for common areas
Medium Term Power Outage Supplies (1-3 days)
Alternate sources of power will most likely be needed for essentials. You can plug an inverter into your car’s auxiliary outlet and power a decent amount of items. Plan for storing fuel.
- 1000 Watt Inverter connected to car battery for charging devices/running small appliances
- Spare fuel to run vehicle (min 25 gallons)
- 5 – 5 Gallon gas cans
- PRI – G gas treatment for long-term fuel storage.
- 2000 W Generator
- Headlamps for each individual – infinitely easier and more practical than flashlights. Allows for hands free tasks.
- Propane lanterns – great outdoor lighting option or use within well-ventilated area. They also put off a decent amount of heat.
- Battery Recharger – It is important to get one that can charge multiple battery sizes if you have different battery uses.
Long Term Disruption in Power Supplies (4 or more days)
Larger generators and solar are good options to consider for longer outages.
- Tri-fuel generator (gas, propane, natural gas)
- Spare fuel for generator (min 90 gallons)
- 7 – 14 gallon gas cans
- PRI – G gas treatment for long-term fuel storage.
- 100 Watt Solar Panel kit
- 1000 Watt Inverter
- Deep cycle Batteries
- Siphon pump to acquire additional fuel
So there you have it. 5 areas to consider now if you want to be prepared for an unexpected Off grid moment in your life. Are there other areas to consider? Of course, but I think this covers some of the most major bases we have. If you have a plan for Water, food to feed your family, Shelter from the elements, Sanitation to keep diseases at bay and Electricity, I think you have a good handle on the crises and should be able to weather the disruption. There are security aspects too, but those are dealt with in other posts on the Prepper Journal that can be read here, if you are interested.
I hope this series was informative or helpful in some way. As always, I love to hear comments so please let me know what you think and stay safe!