The Seven Sisters of Urban Survival (Part V)
You need some kind of power for:
This is a must when the power goes out. If you can afford them, the plug-in type flashlights that come on when the power goes out are great. If not, have as many good quality flashlights as you can, then add numerous 9 LED flashlights that you can get in packs of 3 with batteries for $10 or less all over so you are never a few steps away from at least a basic form of light.
Once you have a light you can decide if the situation calls for breaking out lanterns or other devices. Don’t forget solar pathway lights outside can be useable inside if you can safely get them in.
Stock up on batteries. Even dollar store batteries can last a day or so (I tested them). When you can, add packs of the better quality. Go with AAA and get adapters that will let you use them in AA devices. Later you can have rechargeable batteries on hand along with a mini solar recharger (cost: $20 or so) that you can switch to if the emergency is a long term affair.
Solar panels are a large investment. But there are smaller emergency types you can check out. Also, some lanterns and radios have solar panels for recharging.
While you should also plan to eat directly from cans and packages, set up some sort of means to at least heat your food. A simple bowl of hot soup can do wonders for the body and spirit.
We’re lucky in that our gas stove runs off a tank and not a line. In all but the worst situations, we should be ok. But we still have backups in case, such as a burner that screws onto 1lbs. cans of propane, which are in turn refillable with an adapter from the 20 lbs. grill tank. There are numerous varieties of these and other camping stoves, along with the basic canned fuel folding stove. If you can use it outside, grills are good.
If there is no other option, you can clean out a big #10 can use a triangular can opener to make opening around the top rim and put trash paper in. (paper from your shredder is good here) Fire it up and get cooking. It won’t last long, but it’s better than nothing. You can also burn up your paper trash such as plates, napkins, etc.
Heat and refrigeration work almost hand in hand. If it’s cold enough to need some form of heat, it is cold enough to help keep foods. (See our article on Food for further details) Until you get below 40 degrees F, sweaters, and clothes worn in layers will keep you going. After that, you can have small heaters that work off the 1lbs. cans of propane. They go fast however so save them until really needed.Go to the best-insulated room of the house and set up a “base” with an actual tent, or drape blankets over furniture with “foil” emergency blankets on
Go to the best-insulated room of the house and set up a “base” with an actual tent, or drape blankets over furniture with “foil” emergency blankets on bottom between the floor and a blanket. Try to have decent cold weather sleeping bags to put on the beds for nighttime. Having slept in an Army bag in the snow in the war games in West Germany, I can assure you that you won’t freeze.DO NOT USE GRILLS OR OTHER CHARCOL COOKERS!! Always allow for some ventilation. CO2 will kill you just as sure as a bullet.
DO NOT USE GRILLS OR OTHER CHARCOL COOKERS!! Always allow for some ventilation. CO2 will kill you just as sure as a bullet.
Other options here include 12v travel coolers that can be run off car batteries and generators. Once the coolers get down below 40 degrees F put them in the refrigerator for double insulation.
Cook up your perishable items first. Unless you have a large generator and plenty of fuel, don’t expect to save a chest freezer full of items. Your otherwise useless frozen microwaveable items can still help as “cold packs” to keep other food longer.
If you have any HAM, CB, or other radio set up, you should know how to run off car batteries that you can recharge from a generator. Otherwise, you can get a crank charger for your cell phone for emergencies where some cell phone service is still operating or comes back soon.
Keep packs of batteries for your regular radios to gain information on the situation. Remember do NOT store the batteries in all the radios as this can cause damage. Pick one to use as the go to radio and check it once a month or so for corrosion or leakage.
QUICK NOTE: In theory, an old microwave grounded can act as a “Faraday Cage” to protect radios, batteries and other devices from an EMP strike.