If the grid goes down and suddenly there is no electricity, no natural gas and no water coming into your home, what will you do? How much thought and planning have you given to surviving without the Grid?
Surviving without the Grid
You wake up. Your alarm clock is dark. Why didn’t that thing wake you up? You grab the remote and click at the TV, no dice.
“Ahhh”, you think “The power is out.”
That explains it. The power goes out a couple times a year, but this time is different. It’s not coming back.
Are you ready for that? What do you need to survive in this situation?
A Guidebook to Surviving
A survival manual comes in handy in so many unpredictable situations. Make sure you have a good survival manual.
One rock-solid survival guide is the SAS Survival Handbook, which also comes in a very handy, space conserving pocket version. The pocket version takes up very little space, is packed with tons of survival information and really makes a great gift!
If you have an Army surplus store nearby, see if you can’t find one of the newer versions of the FM21-76 military survival manual. An old FM21-76 is better than no survival guide at all!
In a situation like this paper currency could be almost worthless. Junk silver, and precious metals will be money. Barter, trading, will be the name of the game. Do you know how to barter? Go to flea markets and garage sales now and learn to negotiate prices down, then you’ll be on your way to the skill of bartering.
Travel will be a thing of the past. Unless you have a bike or a horse you won’t be ranging too far. You’ll need to think on a local level when considering your available resources. If you do opt for a bike, then don’t forget the bicycle trailer. It seems like no one ever discusses the bicycle trailer, but what better way would there be to move a load of gear?
Get some you footwear that can re-soled. Shoe cobblers will likely make a big comeback in your area.
Water procurement can be as simple as rain barrels or finding a pond, lake, stream or river coupled with boiling or water filtration, but is essential to surviving without the grid. Here are some posts where we’ve discussed water.
You can forage, fish, hunt or trap your food. If you are really smart, you’d probably raise your own livestock. In cities or suburbs you could raise some chickens or rabbits. A goat would be handy for fresh goat’s milk.
Surviving without the grid will cause us to rethink how we cook. Make sure to have plenty of propane so you can use your outoor gas grill or camp cook stove. If you intend to use those tiny 16.4 oz propane canisters for camping, and want to run your camp cook stove (and other propane camping gear) off of your larger propane tanks you’ll need a Propane adapter hose.
To cook and boil water (for cooking or drinking), the Kelly Kettle will burn anything (sticks, leaves, dry grass, dry nut husks, etc) to create heat. The Kelly Kettle Pot Support and Cookset should be on your list. This seems like a pretty wise choice, since sticks will outlast your propane supply.
If you are cooking for a group or family then buy a campfire cooking grate and be done with it. This will allow you to use your pots and pans that you already own. Also consider investing in a Dutch Oven so you can still “bake” foods.
Hopefully you put away a stock of heirloom seeds so you can raise food year after year, using the seeds from the year prior. Once the grid is gone, every family that survives will be raising food. You should transform your entire front and back yards into fields.
How will you stay warm in the winter?
One option is to migrate someplace that is warm in the winter.
A wood burning stove is the simplest answer. With a wood stove you get heat, hot water and can even cook on them.
You may not need to replace your electric or gas furnace or heaters, but you might consider buying a wood stove and having it installed to offset your winter heating bills. It might even be prudent to buy a wood stove, all the stove pipe, and insulated chimney piping and store it in your garage, shed or basement so that you are ready for a long term grid down event.
Handy folks can transform an old 55 gallon drum into a wood stove with a barrel stove kit.
Imagine trying to find or buy a wood burning stove after the grid goes down. They will be worth their weight in gold. Do yourself a favor and considering buying a wood stove (with required accessories) and a good axe!
Most people can live without electricity, but I do recommend solar (photovoltaic) systems with batteries for those that can’t. Some people need electric medical equipment to survive. Many people have sleep apnea and require a CPAP machine while they sleep. Diabetics need insulin, which needs to be refrigerated. Keep these needs in mind when considering a grid down situation.
Store up a slew of rechargeable batteries (mostly AA and AAA, but C’s and D’s will be needed too) and a DC powered battery charger, that can work with a solar panel, or better yet, a solar powered Battery Charger. DC is more efficient to use with solar, because converting DC to AC is an inefficient method. See the previous post on Portable Solar for another quick fix.
If you have batteries you can use LED flashlights and lanterns as well as a host of other portable electronics, like a radio (you can get alternate powered radios)
What about all those prepper and survival E-books? Reading eBooks when the Grid is Down.
If the Grid goes down so do our cordless and electric drills. All our power tools will be worthless. Some of us will be able to recharge them via solar or generator, but eventually all devices fail. I’d recommend heading over to Amazon.com and picking up some manual tools.
Surviving without the grid won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible. Humans have only been reliant on electricity for just a bit over 100 years. Some of us will have to build bike generators to recharge and power devices, but the smart folks will have already put up wind generators and solar panels. Others will learn to live without power. We’ll all really miss the Internet and air conditioning!