It is 12:30 am and suddenly I awake! It’s pitch black but I know the power is out because I always leave a bathroom night light on for the kids. The boys stumble into my bedroom, confused. They have already checked the outdoor breaker… still nothing. The neighborhood is dark… upon getting in the car and turning on the radio, I get a local station on generator power, explaining an EMP has gone off. Since we are a small town out in the desert, it may be 3-6 months before it is restored!
Thank God, with my limited budget, I have prepared as best as I could. What would your family need in an extended blackout? Start getting that stuff now, before it’s too late.
Food and Water
Always have enough food and water stored for at least 30-90 days. Just up your game for the long haul. There are many articles on how to store food, how to store food in order of expiration date. I have purchased a few emergency food supplies, but found my local dollar store and sales at Wal-Mart is nearly if not more efficient.
Get some chickens. I know, in my city limits, we are only allowed one chicken, but this rule can be broken. I read how in New York City; people are getting chickens by asking their neighbors permission. If the neighbor agrees you can have chickens, you will share some of your eggs and they won’t report you. This has worked for me for the past several years.
Here are a few of our chickens which provide 1-2 dozen eggs a week.
Water is harder here in the desert, but while pondering how to store thousands of gallons of water in the desert, I looked over at my son’s playing in their swimming pool. The pool box says 1074 Gallons. I purchased another pool and cover for double the water.
In addition, I went to my local hardware store for 34 Gallon trashcans at 15$ a piece with lid. Every time I grocery shop, I buy 5 single gallons of water, 2 forty count bottled water, and fill my 5-gallon jugs. We have about 2500 gallons of water ready to go.
Light, Heat and Cooking
The lighting you use at first should be considered. If there is an earthquake or an explosion nearby, you must consider not lighting candles for the first week. There could be a gas leak.
There are alternatives to actual candles or oil lanterns, such as battery powered and solar lights. If they are LED lights, they should be kept in a faraday cage to be safe, either way, they come in handy regardless of the cause of an outage.
Often the dollar stores sells the little solar lights. Mirrors can magnify your light. Here’s how one of my candle holders with a mirror looks in front of the bathroom mirror.
Curio Cabinets with mirrors candles/lights also can light up a living room. Oil lamps and Candles are of course particularly useful when safe. Keep your batteries in your smoke detectors.
One of my kids collects oil lamps. He gets those and candles from thrift shops and yard sales.
I can get candles from the dollar store cheap, along with emergency candles and votive candles.
Heating- Make sure you have a cord+ firewood, depending on your area.
If you don’t have a fireplace, you must invest in something like a Kerosene Heater and a Gas/Smoke detector (battery powered). Buy your own container and Kerosene for a 10th of the cost.
If you can afford clear plastic from the hardware store. Buy clear shower curtains at the dollar store. This will allow you to section off a room, while still seeing any movement of a predator.
Cooking should be easy if your ready. Coleman stoves, outdoor BBQ pits are nice. We have two grills. BUT you need to have plenty of propane, coal, or burning materials for cooking. My new grill has a thermometer. I was able to make the best homemade bread ever.
Have several extra propane bottles.
If you cook outside, which you really have to with any gas, remember your food might smell. I suggest that if you cook rice, beans, noodles in boiling water then add sauce or meat after removed from burner to avoid ‘smells’.
Medicine and Back up Sources
Always have a first aid kit fully stocked.
If you take regular medicine, or your child has asthma or something life threatening, you might to need to save extra medicine prescribed by a physician.
Have a Pill Book handy, in case you need to identify medication if a situation arises.
Bartering can also get you some of the medicine you may need. Stock up on all the medicine you can. Find health food/supplements that also may tackle your health issue.
I hear fish medicine can come in handy for anti-biotics, but I am not a physician. Something you will have to investigate yourself.
If you have a Cpap, Pulse Ox, Blood Pressure Cuff, Sugar kits, or a Nebulizer you need to think ahead for power supplies; preferably solar. I have a few power sources for phone, laptop, and other chargeables. In addition, I have a small gas generator. However, gas will run out.
Small lithium battery sources and small gas generators can handle mild medical equipment. Keep these power sources and their solar panels in faraday cages when not in use. Here’s one of my three:
Defense and Protection
You have all your food, medicine, wood, gas, medicine, and power sources. NOW you must defend it.
Ahead of time you can design faraday cages or use triple wrap foil and foil tape to protect power sources, laptops, phones, and medical equipment listed above.
I am writing for those sheltering in place. Make sure your doors, garage doors, and windows are secured. Remember if people you don’t know come to your front door, that back door better be secure as well.
I purchased outdoor LED motion lights for to place darker parts of my back yard. This will also work for the front door as well. It will look dark but if a vandal gets close the lights will go off and notify everyone.
We have a few shotguns, and the guns sold out before we could get more. I researched the best air rifles and air pistols that can become just as good of a defense if someone is rushing at you with a gun, bat, knife, or other weapon.
Practice with your family scenarios of intrusion.
One of my sons has sharp swords, sling shots with marbles and steel bits. Another author here suggested wasp spray that goes 20 feet.
There are traps you can also set up. Using 50 lbs. fishing line, lined across a fence to a wall on the sides of your house, about calf or knee height. Repeat about 18 inches each line; that with a solar motion light is sure to trip up any burglar at night while notifying you of incoming persons.
Remember too, that with all the locked doors and windows, you must be able to get out fast in an emergency. Have your family practice getting out quickly and avoiding traps.
Some of our weapon dry:
Use your own discretion. And remember, if you are in a small town, not all people knocking on your door will be predators. Your neighbor’s children will get hungry, desperate parents do strange things. This can be handled with bartering.
When your buying your food supplies, always add some things for family or close neighbors you trust.
When neighbors come knocking always act like you don’t have much either… but have a list handy of things YOU need like medicine, flour/ and firewood. You might be surprised at what they will find lying around if they get desperate.
If you are in a smaller town where it is safer, you could consider opening up a small Trading Post till things improve nationwide.
You can create trade-able care packages in advance separate from your food for-seeing the future. That way you know how much you have. A 1$ spaghetti noodles/1$ spaghetti sauce, Two or three boxes of Mac n Cheese with a can of Chili (for Chili mac) is about 2$, Pancake Mix (add water only) with a Syrup is about 2$… etc.
One of my oil lamps with a container of oil might be worth someone’s tank of gas for my generator. It is all negotiable.
No one knows for sure what could trigger and extended blackout. This is designed for those sheltering in place. You will have to be logical about what you do, not emotional. Common sense for your circumstances will be vital to survival.
When the lights go out, you’ll also have to stay sane. That little bottle of anti-depressants in the cupboard might end up being needed. There may be some initial panic. Ration your food and water. Set up any traps to stop thieves from entering backyards, garages, or property to protect what you have.
Note where your first aid supplies are. Without physicians, even a small cut should be treated right away. Place different weapons in their best positions. In the long run if it gets dangerous out there, set up a person for guard duty in the best place for each time of the day.
A fun thing to make life almost seem normal from time to time would be to have board games and puzzles. Also, pre-load your laptops and phones with music and movies.
Give everyone in your house daily tasks and perhaps guard duty. This will provide purpose, a schedule, and sanity.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best… just in case S does HTF.
And for helpful and fun reading during the extended blackout, you can get my apocalypse trilogy from here.
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