Before we get into our list, lets first describe exactly what is meant by a long-term blackout. Ready.gov does not characterize power outages by short and long term. They merely offer advice for dealing with power outages in general.
It’s important we discuss the term because a Long-Term Blackout can mean many things to many people. For those accustomed to losing power, a week without may not even phase them where as those who rarely loose power might consider a long-term blackout to be 3 days!
For the purposes of this article we are going to call a long-term blackout a period without power to major infrastructure, residential and business operations for a period of 3 months or more. In this time the base for civility will be shattered and the consequences of missing basic public services will be widespread.
Related: 9 Mind Bending Effects of a Grid Collapsing EMP
While it may be common knowledge that a widespread blackout is going to present problems for the water supply I think many people do not considering the details of what that means.
- When will water treatment plants officially go offline?
- How will that correlate with water taps no longer running.
- Without local news, how will you know when to stop trusting the water that’s coming out of the tap?
The truth about water in a long-term blackout is that drinking from your tap will become Russian roulette. You won’t know when, but eventually the water coming through those pipes will likely be contaminated or there will be no water coming out. You just don’t know what will happen first.
Fresh off the holiday season is a wonderful time to consider the importance of the garbage services. Remember what it was like after Christmas? Imagine what your yard or home will look like a month without trash service.
Even if you have a healthy bit of food storage, its all packaged. That packaging is going to need to go somewhere. Most people don’t consider just how quickly their trash will pile up. It will be a matter of weeks before things get out of hand. Trash will be all over the streets and before long, the pests and animals will come to take advantage.
Without a concrete, agreed upon method for dealing with the trash in a neighborhood you will quickly find your beautiful little community piled with trash and filth as well as being flea infested. Its not a pretty picture but post disaster trash collection and management are a topics I rarely see discussed, even in the prepper world.
As I mentioned earlier, there will be time when the water stops running. As a prepper you will have to decide what to do about sewage. You can use water to flush your toilets but that could be a waste of water and it might also, eventually, result in a backup. That could be a dangerous situation considering feces harbor deadly bacteria. You will not have access to a quick Z Pack from your doctor. People rarely consider where all their bodily waste is going to go in a long-term blackout.
Once the water stops running you are left with very few options. Burying or burning is about it.
Of course, it’s the neighbors and the passersbys that make for more concern. What will they do with their waste? If you are living in a world stacked up with trash and human excrement, you will be at maximum risk for contracting a disease. Not to mention this will affect water quality in your area.
Related: Homemade Substitutes for Toilet Paper
All the above realities of a long-term blackout lead to disease. Add to those things like lack of sleep, malnutrition and living without heating or air conditioning and things will get bad fast. Before long it will seem like everyone around you is sick. Worst of all, you won’t be able to professionally diagnose any of it.
Water borne illness will likely be the biggest killer. You need only to look at third world nations to understand that. Water borne pathogens kill 4000 children each day on this planet! It’s the worlds leading killer. During a long-term blackout these pathogens will be a massive threat here in the US.
Related: You’ll Probably Catch One of These 5 Infections When The SHTF
While food, water and disease might be high on the preppers list, bills might not be.
- What happens if the long-term blackout doesn’t affect the whole country?
- What if it’s an isolated blackout and things like mortgage, work and other debt still need to be considered?
If the narrative is such that recovery is possible, debtors will still be hungry for payment.
In the early days of a long-term blackout you could still have bills to pay. It may seem heartless on the end of the debtors and banks, but it still may be very true.
Do you have an emergency fund for these types of issues? An emergency fund is the best defense against this situation.
Related: How To Barter After SHTF
The Speed of Decline
I think the most terrifying reality of a long-term blackout would be the shocking speed of decline. When people see just how quickly the world comes apart, it will mortify them.
Lord Cameron of Dillington said “We are nine meals away from anarchy.”
That means that after 9 meals most people will hit a hard wall and have to start making terrible decisions about food, water and other provisions. In fact, I’d like to expand upon Lord Cameron’s quote.
Most Americans are one supermarket trip away from collapse.
That said, a true blackout that lasted over a month would spawn such chaos it would be hard for the human mind to understand how it could go so bad so fast. This would be particularly true if government assistance was not part of the equation.
Related: When Grocery Stores Go Empty; A Back Door Shopping Strategy
The Complexity of Recovery
With the government in mind we must consider recovery. What would recovery look like?
Following a long-term blackout, the government would be faced with some hard decisions. You see, because of the chaos that we have already discussed, there would be a time limit on recovery. The government and local resources would scramble to deal with the blackout but there would be limited resources and time to get power back on.
Those areas that got power first would be in decent shape, maybe. The longer it took to get to other areas would determine whether those areas could be helped at all. Some areas would be so bad off that moving forces in to repair things might not be possible. The human threat may be too great.
Now consider those areas that first got power back up and running. How do you think neighboring communities would feel about those who have power? How long would it take before the anarchy wound up in the backyards of those with power?
Resources, logistics and the feasibility of repair; along with public cooperation would all be issues in recovery. It would not be the same protocol as recovering power after a hurricane.
Preparing for These Realities
You must go back to the core basics of prepping. Do not get overwhelmed at the stark realities of a long-term blackout. You must be prepared to outlast or adapt to the power outage. You should have a plan to wait out a return of service but also have a plan for never having power again.
Also, if things get ugly, fast, you better have a well-oiled bugout plan that will at least get you away from the masses. This plan should be written and practiced with the whole family. Find out what a true bugout looks like and feels like with your family. Do not bet your life on false pretenses and predictions of performance.
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Very good guide. With the snow we had this year, my work site shut down for two weeks and effectively cut my pay in half. Even my bank, which is a local one, didn’t acknowledge that fact when I couldn’t pay in full this time.
@Donovan Even in the best of times banks are and always will be heartless bastards. That’s just the nature of the beast. In a true extended grid-down situation things WILL go from bad to worse very quickly. I couldn’t even give you some kind of stats as to how many people are at least a little bit prepared for disaster. There is nothing more dangerous than a starving person. They have nothing left to lose. I don’t think that many people fully realize how much we depend on electricity. Electricity runs everything including the water. I think a human can do without water for maybe 3 or 4 days at the most. After that it’s anyone’s guess. And in a true disaster situation my bills are the LAST thing I’m going to worry about. All the services will be gone and good luck to them trying to enforce bill collection. What are they going to do. Turn off non-existent services? And if they’re stupid enough to actually send people around to collect money all they’ll get is a bullet to a non-lethal part of the body. After all I don’t want to kill anyone unless absolutely necessary. There may be a chance that things will return to some kind of normal even if it takes years and then people will have to answer for their previous actions. If you do think that things may go completely downhill at some time prepare a little now. Especially as regards sanitation. Build an outhouse in a corner of your garden if you have the room. The best thing that we can all do if somehow we can manage to get the money together, and this should be a priority, is to get a small piece of land somewhere, away from the major centres. At least a couple of acres with a small woodlot. Ground fertile enough so that we can have a garden big enough to feed a small family. Secure water supply. As nice as a small stream is it can still be compromised. For humans water is life. And there are already some very smart preppers already ahead of the curve that do have that small piece of land and have successfully lived on it for many years. When things go downhill we need shelter, food, water and heat and some way to defend it.
We live on 5 Acer’s 20 miles from the nearest city, have a nice house with a wood stove , an out house for when we have ” cook outs”, and a garden. For the last 5 years we have been working on building our house into a homestead. Last year we hot chickens, this spring we are getting our dairy goats.
the best bug out plan is to be bugged out perminately
That would be called bugging in and is something we’ve been doing for the past 35 years, which gives you plenty of time to build infrastructure and resources without breaking the bank.
Donovan, you need to see the Australian movie from a few years ago, its name is “THE BANK”, it shows your exact situation, but in the end, the bank comes out losing badly, you will feel a lot better after seeing this movie.
You are right, which is why when this whole mess (I’m sure you know which) started I decided that my number one focus was pay off my mortgage. Went into POVERTY mode, paid a lot more every month than I had to and paid it off this February. Every thing else came second. Now paying off the debt I got into by buying a power generator and solar panels to charge it, and a few other essentials, already had the food and other necesities angle covered. Also doubled my food production. Still in extreme poverty mode until that is paid off.
Interesting talking about bills continuing. In the Thomas Fire, one of the factors that contributed to the extensive damage was due to negligence on the part of the city. There used to be large water storage tanks on the hills above some of the tracts of homes. Some years ago the city, unbeknownst to the citizens, decided to abandon the tanks and go to direct pressure supplied by pumps run by electricity. During the fire, electric transmission lines burned and electricity was interrupted early on. When the electricity failed, of course the pumps stopped pumping. The emergency generators, according to stories circulating around town, had not been run for testing and either failed early on or wouldn’t start at all. I know for about two weeks a large mobile generator was located about half a mile from my house.
When the fire trucks arrived, the fire hydrants ran for a while but soon dried up. The homes still had water. They apparently were on a separate system from the fire hydrants. When the fire hydrants dried up the fire department pulled out of the tracts and left them to burn. Some home owners stayed behind and fought the fire with garden hoses. Some were able to save their homes. Some were not.
Most home owners who fled their homes didn’t turn the water off at the water meter. When their home burned, pipes became disconnected and the water continued to run from broken pipes. Homeowners who stayed to fight fires at their homes and their neighbor’s homes used a lot of water.
After the fire was over, the city sent huge water bills for the water consumed in fighting the fires and the homes where water ran due to the home burning to the ground. The city water department insisted that the homeowners owed the money despite the reason for the water being used was city negligence. After a lot of angry back and forth, the city decided that the homeowners can apply for a credit later this month. It remains to be seen how much credit will be issued and in what form.
People who worked from their homes had their businesses interrupted. How they are coping, I don’t know. But if they didn’t take their business records with them, they are going to have to rely on their customers to help them.
This has been a huge wake-up call for me. I always thought I was well prepared. When I left my home I was congratulating myself on how well we managed to evacuate in such a short time due to prior planning and preparation. HA!
I really dodged the bullet on this. When I left Ventura the day of the fire I believed I had witnessed the burning of my home. I was wrong. I had wrongly identified another home as mine. I am presently expending a strong effort to correct the deficiencies in my escape preps.
Even if you plan to bug in during some emergency, sometimes you just can’t. In an EOTW scenario, you may not have a choice. If a fire starts in your town, even if the rest of the world is unaffected, you might be forced to flee your home. Part of your preps should include fleeing your home even if that isn’t your over all plan of attack. I had planned to shelter in place. My preps were two-pronged. One entailed preps for being stranded on the road away from home. I thought that was my most logical exposure here in SoCal. Here we spend most of our lives in our automobiles.
The other prong was bugging in. I am going to have to re-evaluate that plan. Fleeing to my grandparent’s family farm is not an option. In the PDRK, getting to the countryside means heading north about 500 miles. While there are forests around the LA area closer than that, with the huge population in the area, fleeing to them is a non-plan. With the dry climate, supporting the population via native flora and fauna is unsustainable. This area supported a very small population before the Europeans arrived There was a good reason for that. The natural resources available would only support a small population.
Some parts of the country rely on man-made structures to hold back flood waters. You may be forced to flee your home and abandon your bug-in plan due to flooding. Even if you don’t have flooding problems and wildfire problems, in an EOTW situation, if a fire starts in your town and the fire department is non-existent for any reason, you may be forced to flee your bug-in location because of uncontrolled fires. I can assure you from first hand experience, watching a wall of flame advancing toward your home certainly focuses your attention.
@Chuck I can’t even imagine how horrible it would be to see a wall of flame advancing towards your home. You would think that the city would be better prepared for fires. From what I hear in the news wildfires seem to be a fairly common occurrence in California. I’m too old to successfully flee my home in an EOTW situation. I have to plan differently and think more long-term or go down with the ship. Right now I have to do everything I can to get the money together to buy that small piece of property as far away from the major centres as possible and then spend my summers there and the winter in my current principal residence with a plan to eventually making the northern site my principle residence. My two biggest priorities for a small town is a hospital and law enforcement very close by. You sound like a young man. I’m already an old geezer (LOL!) and have to think and plan differently. Where I live right now is getting built up much too quickly and has completely lost that small town feeling. But I also don’t want to sell my current home as it’s dramatically increasing in value. I may rent part of it out just to have someone in it when I spend my summers in my secondary location. I haven’t thought that through completely yet so I don’t know. What I do know is that I need to do everything I can to get that small piece of property in case the unthinkable does happen.
I’m 81 years old. That’s not exactly a spring chicken. We have had two fires in the hills behind the houses in the 50 years I have lived here. Both of those fires were handled easily by the local fire department. The first one I helped fight up in the hills. Learned a lot about fighting field fires in that one. The Thomas Fire was made worse because the authorities acted like they were in a goat rope. I hope come election time we can through the whole bunch out of office. Everyone is running around calling the fire department heroes. As far as I am concerned they all acted like typical civil servants. It was CYA time.
Life is different from school. In school you learn the lesson and then get a test. In life you get a test that teaches you a lesson. I’m not that smart, it is just that life has taught me so many lessons.
I thought I proofread this post carefully. That should be “throw the whole bunch out of office.”
I’m just reading through your article again and it could get very ugly if every one tries to leave the LA area at once. From what I understand it’s a parking lot at the best of times.
What a terrible experience! In the old west, that would have meant linching the people in charge. Very inhumane, cause the problem and then bill people left with nothing.
Good Summary. I life on a small homestead farm in the hills of Humacao, Puerto Rico. I have been without power since Hurricane Irma and then Hurricane Maria finished everything else off. I have been thru everything you mentioned here. The big lesson learned is that you can not depend on the government. You have to do it yourself.
I learned early on that when something like that happens, to go about 30 yards from your home and anything like trees or bushes. Dig a hole, fill it with your trash or night soil, and burn it. Don’t breathe in the fumes.
Will you please share with us your experiences of the disaster that hit Puerto Rico? If you are able too, we understand if it has been too difficult to talk about. I’m sure you can teach us life lessons on what we have been preparing for. Thankyou.
I directed my first post to Rob by the way
@Rob I think the lesson to be learned from your comments, Rob, is that you managed to survive because you did have that small homestead farm and you already had the infrastructure in place to survive without electricity. It may have made life a little more difficult for you but because you had a source of clean water, shelter, food production you were able to manage and you have shown it is possible. After all, people like the Amish and the Mennonites are able to manage very well without electricity. In PR you don’t have to worry about heating so much. I very much doubt PR ever gets snow or frost. Up here in the Great White North it’s a different story and weather very much influences our choices. This year the winter has been absolutely brutal. It started early. The first two weeks of January were nothing but -30C and -40C. Even now the days are still well below 0 and the nights very cold. So much for global warming. Up here, if a widespread disaster, like a general EMP event happened in the winter then many, many people would die in the first little while. Especially the millenials. So many of them are brain-dead and totally lacking common sense. Not all though. Even if it did happen in the summer up here then we would still have the Canadian winter to look forward to. Panic and disease would run rampant. It would not be a pleasant scenario. Two things Claude doesn’t mention are the jails and the zoos including the huge aquariums which all need electricity to function. In the huge jails, does electricity keep the doors closed or is electricity necessary to open the doors? That’s another nightmare scenario I don’t want to think about. Hordes of hardened criminals roaming the countryside. Makes me shudder. What about the zoos and all the animals in there? What happens when they don’t get any more food delivered? Are they going to have to put all the animals down? And the aquariums. Without electricity to run all the pumps in the public aquariums all the species will start to die. What are they going to do with them? A world without electricity has far-reaching consequences. Much more than just our local effects.
I am not sure that we can extrapolate how prison cell doors operate all across the country. Prisons range in age from 19th century to 21st century and I am sure that door locking mechanisms range from individually operated locks to electronically, computer controlled locks. What decisions would be made with regard to prisoners is open to any speculation you might consider. In fiction it has ranged from leaving all prisoners locked in their cells to releasing “low risk” prisoners and leaving high risk prisoners to die in their cells to leaving all prisoners in their cells to die, to prisoners managing to escape when guard populations have dropped below levels that can contain prisoners and the entire prison population escaping into the countryside. In my estimation, every prison will handle their population according to the wishes of the senior person remaining at the prison and whether or not the prisoner population can seize control of the facility.
Same with regard to zoos. That has been treated in fiction in a variety of ways from zoo keepers releasing all the animals to fend for themselves, to releasing herbivores and leaving carnivores to die from dehydration or starvation, to euthanizing carnivores and releasing herbivores. Included in herbivores are elephants, rhinoceros and hippopotamus. I am not sure how well those animals would do in the ice belt across the northern states. I am sure they would fare quite well in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, perhaps southeastern Texas.
So, in addition to your local gangs roaming the streets, depending upon how close you are to a state prison, you might have to contend with organized bands of hard core prison inmates.
I don’t know if Miami has a zoo, but I suspect it does. You might have to contend with rhinoceros and hippos. In Minneapolis you might find a Siberian tiger stalking you.
I don’t believe there is some standard policy among all 50 states as to what to do about prisoners incarcerated in prisons and jails. One shouldn’t discount jails either. Not all prisoners are low risk prisoners in jails. There are some significant felons waiting trial confined in county jails. In our county we have three large apartment compounds located on three sides of the jail. The policy of the country is to release prisoners just after midnight on the last day of their sentence. It counts as a day if they serve 1 minute after midnight. Of course there are no buses running after midnight and taxi drivers are reluctant to pick up passengers at the jail after midnight, so unless the prisoners have some means of private transportation, they are dumped out on the streets to make their way wherever as best they can. Of course, if they happen to run across a car where the owner has carelessly left the keys in the ignition, it’s goodby car. And if they steal stuff, it is job security for law enforcement. They get to arrest them and start the process all over again.
@left coast, speaking from experience, I worked Dept. of Corrections, Riot Control in S.C. back in the 90’s. I can’t imagine it has changed all that much since except for maybe more technology. The guards don’t run the prisons nor do they keep the inmates inside. Guard to inmate ratio is somewhere around 1:50. I don’t have the numbers, but it’s very lopsided. Sure, the guards control the doors and can lock down areas to contain the population to a certain building or wing, but the inmates themselves control what happens inside. Ethnic groups, gangs, whatever have control and each has its own pecking order. Nothing happens without someone authorizing it. I treated inmates with respect and dignity and it paid off in one instance. A couple of inmates got into an altercation and I started to step in. A couple of inmates pulled me back and blocked my way. All they said to me was “they’ll get tired”. After several more guards got there we picked up the pieces. I thanked them later and they told me I was one of the good ones and they had my back. They ain’t all bad.
The water issue is a huge concern. In urban areas, rainwater collection and filtration would be a good option. In rural areas where there are wells, water can still be collected from wells with tools like the Emergency Well Tube (emergencywelltube.com). Having a plan with multiple options for water may be the difference in life and death.
Thought provoking article, thank you!
Rain water only helps if it rains. Here in SoCal we haven’t had a drop of rain since the rain a week or so after the Thomas Fire. I have rain barrels at each rain spout and when I hear that it is going to rain I have some cheapo wading pools from Wally World that I put out on the patio to catch more rain, but a thousand gallons of rain water used for irrigation goes away in a hurry. I use up the water in the wading pools first as I don’t want to start an aquaculture of mosquitos. If you don’t have access to downspouts from the roof, wading pools are a good item to use to collect rainwater. Unlike the barrels that collect roof runoff, the wading pools don’t collect all the junk that was laying on your roof just before it started to rain. If it is going to be a long rainstorm you might consider letting the rain fall a couple of hours before starting to collect it. It will be a lot cleaner and need less straining before purifying.
When I grew up we had a hand pump for getting water. You had to remember to save a bit of water for the primer, but we had all the water we needed for a family of 8. May be worth sinking a well as a prepper plan. It doesn’t require electricity….just muscle!
Hand pump is a good idea if the water table isn’t too far down. Pumps only work down to a certain depth. The one they still sell in local hardware store only works down to 6 meters which is about 20′. Anything after that with hand-pumping you’re out of luck. Then it’s digging a larger well and using a bucket and rope. LOL!
Hand pumps are made to go 300’…..the Bison for example.
Thanks T. Had no idea. A hand pump? Really? That’s one heck of a column of water to raise by hand. The only things that I knew that could go down that far were the electric submersible pumps. That’s why I love this forum so much. People from all corners of the world coming together for a common goal. Survival in a very uncertain world. In this part of the world the very best submersible pumps only go down to 250′. I don’t want to be rude T but I don’t think you understand the concept. We’re talking about an EOTW (end of the world situation as we know it) and in this case we would not have electricity anymore. The Bison “hand” pump is not a true hand powered pump. It works in conjunction with an electric submersible pump. It’s only the top part that looks like a hand pump. But I still appreciate the info. Common sense told me that no true hand pump could lift a 250′ or 300′ column of water without help and in this case the help is in the form of an electric submersible which is totally useless in a world without electricity. And as a side note my maternal grandfather actually dug his own well. My mum and I talked about this a lot and I know how to do it. It’s just one heck of a lot of work because you basically have to dig a hole something like 6′ in diameter so you can work in it until you get down to the water table and then from there dig about a 2′ hole down as far as can below the water table. The best true hand pumps only go down to about 30′ without electricity. They call them cistern pumps here. Water is very heavy. Water pressure increases about one atmosphere for every 30 feet. So at the bottom of a 30′ foot pipe you have 2 atmospheres of pressure on it. I mean you guys can do the calculations yourself and see how much water, in pounds, you’re trying to raise from just a 30′ depth using even just a 2″ pipe. At 300 feet multiply that weight of water by ten times or another almost 150 lbs. per square inch. You’ll probably be surprised. My gut feeling is that at 300′ with a 2″ pipe you’re probably talking a real weight of almost tons. And I know that even with the submersibles that go down that far you have to have multiple check valves in the pipe so that the pump in effect doesn’t have to lift a 300′ column of water. If that were the case the hardware would very soon break down from all that wear and tear. Let me know what you guys think. 🙂
Here is the Math
0.083333333 1″ in feet conversion
0.166666667 2″ in feet conversion
0.083333333 Radius of 2 ” pipe
0.006944444 Radius Squared
0.021816616 Pi x (Radius X Radius)
300 feet of pipe
6.544984695 Cubic Feet of space in pipe
7.48 Gallons per Cubic Feet
48.95648552 Gallons of Water in 2″ pipe
408.2970892 Weight of Water in pipe
300′ column 2″ dia. of water would produce 129.87 PSI at the bottom of the column.
The above math is calculated @ sea level, 20 degrees centigrade, specific gravity of 1.0
There are additional factors to consider but for this information these numbers will work.
But here is what you forgot or did not know, at the bottom of this pipe there is a “foot valve” this prevents the water once raised by the force of vacuum into the pipe and to the well head, from leaving the pipe and draining back into the well.
So in reality the lever pump (hand pump) need only lift 8″ to 12″ with each stroke. As you stroke a lever pump, on the up lift of the handle, a valve in the pump opens to plunge thru the standing column of water, and on the down stroke of the handle it closes the valve, and lifts a small column of water, and re-creates the “lifting vacuum” to pull water into the well pipe past the “foot valve” to refill the well pipe These “valves” were / are made from heavy brass and good leather / now synthetic rubber materials.
If you can’t believe the power of this type of pump you need only look to the plains out west 100 years ago.
Windmill pumps lifted water from this depth and greater, these pumps watered 100’s of acres of grains and watered 1000’s of head of livestock when rain and surface water was scarce.
With the exception of a spiral lift type (ie. screw pump) any pump working in a closed housing operates by changing the pressures on each side of the “Pump” in order to move the water thru the pump.
As for your comment
“In this part of the world the very best submersible pumps only go down to 250′.”
Not sure what part of the world your in where physics don’t apply but…. I’ve worked on submersible pumps placed at greater that 1000′ feet….. just saying
Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it.
@Dropzone Really appreciate your comments and I learn something new every time I come back to here. I’ll never say that I know everything and there’s so much that I don’t know. Appreciate you doing the math. I really thought it would be more. In this part of the world, southern Ontario, maybe they don’t need to go down more than 250/300 feet. I don’t know. Pumps are not my area of expertise. Had no idea about a foot valve. Makes perfect sense now that you explain it. If you’re only raising about a foot of water at a time it would be a lot of effort to fill that pipe the first time but once full the water would not drain back into the well and then it would take relatively little effort to pump the water you need. Had no idea. Those submersibles placed at over a 1000′ down must have been monster pumps. And they must have one of those foot valves also. I can see the pump having a fairly easy time with the first bit of water but then the water column would become heavier and heavier and the pump would have to work against that pressure. Do I have this right or am I still missing something? Now the bottom line on these Bison pumps, unless I’m reading it incorrectly, seems to indicate that that they all come with an electric submersible pump which in the case of a grid down situation would mean they would not work anymore. Thanks for the info. I’ve learned a little more about pumps which I know will come in handy when I can finally get that piece of property that I yearn so much for. THANKS!
My “SimplePump” hand pump installs right over the pitless valve in a standard submerged-electric pump well. It pumps right into my pressure tank so I can fill and flush my toilet as well as shower (cold) when SHTF. Google it. You can install it yourself; mine is @ 150′. One hour of pumping per day gives me one day’s water needs.
We also had kerosene lamps. They give off a pleasant light that allows you to function. When I was young our electricity would go out with the storms and sometimes with the winter weather. Mom and Dad would grab the lamps and fire them up. I now have 4 of them for my prepp. I also have gotten some of the solar lanterns from suppliers.
Kerosene lamps are a really good idea in an emergency. Kerosene is still “relatively” inexpensive and it can be stored quite safely as it is not as explosive as petrol. You can also use kerosene for emergency heating if you live in a cold climate. Even a couple of candles in glasses burning in the basement will keep your pipes from freezing if it’s frosty where you are. Alternatively in SHTF situation you can keep a slow drip going so your pipes don’t freeze. Nothing like burst pipes to make a bad situation even worse. Or turn the water off at source. Pros and cons for each decision. If you have the money a small diesel gen set may be an option but then you would have to harden it against EMP. And have a good-sized diesel fuel tank on hand. And last but certainly not least. Toilet paper. Always have lots on hand. In a long-term catastrophe toilet paper would be worth its weight in gold. There aren’t a lot of options especially if water is at a premium.
Sorry guys I am trying to help. When hurricanes hit here and we lost power, I was sitting at the counter in my kitchen just looking out the window as the sun was going down and thought how I was going to manage through the night and the darkness. Then I saw the solar lawn lights coming on as night grew and I thought….The grass doesn’t need them I DO! So I raced outside and pulled up all I had, brought them inside and put them in different places, grabbed mirrors and anything reflective and let there be light! In the morning on my way to work, I just poked them in a sunny spot and pulled them up again as night fell. I was a happy camper that week. No boogy men lurking.
Very resourceful. Always be mindful on how to use what you do have. Good job
That is a VERY creative way to use resources on hand! Good thinking! Like they say. Necessity is the mother of invention. Kudos to you!
If you buy solar lawn lamps which are a good source of indoor light and safer than kerosene lamps, be sure to get ones with an on and off switch. That way you can rotate them in bad weather. They will still charge on a rainy day, but very slowly. If you have several on hand, you can rotate them and always have a charged back-up. Two is one, one is none. Spend a couple extra bucks and get ones with quality parts. Don’t buy the weekend special unless you know it really is a good deal.
Good thinking on the solar lights. I went out a bough a number of solar security lights, ostensibly because the DW wanted lights on around the house after going to a law enforcement sponsored talk about home security and because I’m frugal. I put a couple in the garage and one in the laundry room for extra light when needed. So far everything has worked out as planned.
Somehow I have ended up on the ‘Ask a Prepper’ mailing list and am only now finding the time to read the posts. They really are well written. As I have been living off-grid for the last 10 years in rural Atlantic Canada, I can certainly attest to the value of having alternative electrical solutions and for those who are normally connected to the power grid, please be sure to practice with those alternative ideas before being forced to use them.
Rather than rattle off too many thoughts, I did just want to say that for the first 6 months I used kerosene lanterns and it took that long before I clued into the fact that the constant smudge under the nose on my son’s face was not simply because he was an active little boy, but because we were steadily breathing in the kerosene fumes. When I ended up with a cold that year, the discharge when I coughed was also a dreadful gray/black colour. I would strongly recommend relying on other lighting solutions for any lengthy period of time, rather than kerosene.
When I started shopping for kerosene for my lamps I got an education in kerosene. I always thought kerosene was kerosene. Wrong, Cricket. There are various grades of kerosene and using the wrong grade can have bad effects. Lamp grade kerosene is K-1. It is hard to find because hardly anybody is using kerosene lamps these days and retailers just don’t carry it. Much easier to find is K-2 kerosene because it is used in kerosene heaters and folks use a lot more of it if you are running a kerosene heater for your ice fishing hut or your workshop or outdoor garage.
Master, what is the difference between K-1 & K-2. Well, Cricket, I am not truly a master of kerosene, so you will have to do some research on your own to verify what I am about to lay on you. K1 kerosene is for lamps. It doesn’t have the BTUs of K-2 or diesel engine kerosene, but it also doesn’t smoke as much and doesn’t smell as much like kerosene as the lower grades. K2 has more BTUs than K1 which is why it is used for kerosene heaters. It also smokes more in lamps and smells more strongly of kerosene when burning it. Diesel engine kerosene has more BTUs than K1 and K2 but really smells like diesel and really smokes. You can use it for outdoor kerosene lamps but you will never ever get the smell out of your house if you burn it inside. Many people think JP4 or jet fuel is kerosene. Well, yes, it is, but it also has other stuff in it and you never ever, repeat, never ever want to burn it in your kerosene lamp.
Then to further muddy the already cloudy waters, there is lamp oil. This is the lightest grade and you see it in those red candles on tables in restaurants where they have to keep it dark so you can’t see the food. This is the fluid you use in that wine bottle with the stopper in the top and the long wick left over from the 60s. It burns cleaner still but doesn’t throw much in the way of light as you have found out that it’s almost impossible to read the menu using that light in the red holder. It will keep you from bumping into furniture and such and will warm the room if it’s not too large and keep you from freezing to death. I would not recommend performing surgery by an oil lamp unless it is just whacking off a leg or some other appendage.
If you go to Wally World or a big box hardware store and ask for kerosene, in all probability you will get K-2. You have to do due diligence to ferret out the K-1 and I doubt that you will find it in a big box hardware store. Your family owned local hardware store may carry it. You can also get it on line but the shipping is usually high. Ask your family owned hardware store to order it for you the next time he ordered K2 for his hardware store and share shipping costs.
Trimming wicks is a very important part of the technique of using kerosene lamps and is an art. Improperly trimmed they smoke and smell. Another lost art from the 19th century when every 13 year old knew how to trim a wick. Wick height is also important. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. And finally, if you are not confused enough already, make sure you have purchased the proper wick for your kerosene lamp. There are different wicks for different type lamps. Improper wicks will lead to — you guessed it — smokey, smelly lamps.
left coast chuck,
We are quite lucky to have a large Amish population in the area, making K1 kerosene pretty standard fare around here.
I hope someone will do a comprehensive study on the effect of Electrical power loss on Puerto Rico. We all think we know what would happen to society without electricity for 3 to 6 months,but now we have an actual situation that should be carefully studied and analized by FEMA, The national Guard, the local police, the medical professionals and serious prepers. This disaster as bad as it is should be an excellent labratory for forserious study. I expected to read of rioting and crime outbreak last fall but I guess only a super bowl win brings these activities out in society.
Greybeard, please understand that FEMA, the National Guard, local police or any other government related group have no interest in studying what happened in Puerto Rico, they already believe they know everything and any more information would just be confusing.
Unfortunately, that problem exists with too many public employees. Somehow they feel they know everything that needs to be known.
I take exception with your depiction of FEMA and other agencies, since I work with many of them, and most do a good job. I’ve worked with my local county EMA as a volunteer for just over 20 years, and see a dedicated group of people, really trying to be ready for any catastrophic events.
Our agency has about 40 people with all but 3 working as volunteers, and the paid staff often working 50 or 60 hour weeks for little pay.
FEMA knows where the problems are or can be and their website, Ready.gov has lots of information on being prepared; but, how many “normal people” even take time to bother with a 72 hour kit?
People ignore bad things until they happen, and then want to blame someone else for their
I wish this article referenced solutions for each of the proposed problems. I’m new to emergency preparedness so some solutions or links to them would be great. I don’t call myself a prepper for a couple of reasons. 1 I can’t possibly be prepared for everything as I have medical issues and take restricted medications. No way to get extras as they barely want to give me what I need! and if they run out not only will I be unable to function, I may not live very long either. So long term preps are kind of pointless. 2. I’m physically unable to execute a lot of plans. Like bugging out without a car. Or living off the grid. I barely manage WITH modern conveniences. I’d never make it without. 3. My hubby (single income) isn’t all that supportive. Some basic ahelter-in-place type stuff is all I can manage.
Rebecca, some 10 years or so ago, I was in a similar situation to that of yourself, I realized the need for at least basic preps, but I had a few age related medical problems, they consisted if arrhthmia, arthritis, very high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gout and IBS, my wife was more than unsupportive she was actually very anti-prep. and very negative, really just waiting to die, when she did, I sold our house and small farm, and moved to China for about 8 years, while there I found out about many traditional “cures” for what we would call “normal age related illnesses”, I now live in New Zealand, fit and as healthy as a guy half my age, with my Chinese wife and 2 teenage step daughters, we are all serious preppers, but we don’t say a word to people outside the family, we live in what looks like a normal house, a few solar panels on the roof (which can’t be seen from the road), rain water tanks inside a backyard shed and many things in and under our house. New Zealand may seem a long way from the troubles at home, but I am sure when TSHF in the good’ol US of A repercussions will be felt worldwide.
How you accomplished your revitalization would be of great interest to many of us; me esp. regarding arthritis. Thanx in advance.
Hi Gettin Young, the cure for arthritis is simple, but ongoing, start your day by drinking the juice of 2 lemons, maybe using it to wash done a Boron supplement ( real Boron is Calcium Fructoborate and you will need 2mg per day, or the man made or fake Boron you will need 6 mg per day) or you can eat fruit & vege from areas with high soil levels of Boron ( supplements are easier). Pomegranate juice is great ( great for Arthritis not so great for taste). The Asian herb Boswellia ( from health food shops) works well, as do Cherries (the darker color, the better). Things to change, stop using white pepper, this irritates joint fluid, change to black pepper, if you are taking NSAIDS for any medical problem, stop, find another way, there are many. From about age 40, my Arthritis slowly became more severe, by about 50, I was in more pain than most people my age, by 60, I had days when I couldn’t even get out of bed, and even in bed I wasn’t comfortable, now at 76 years old, I have no pain or stiffness, I can work in my extensive garden all day, and all I need to fully recover is a large Scotch and a hot bath, I wish you luck with your endeavors.
Truly appreciate your effort and info. Thanx, immensely.
@Auckland Funny you should mention some of those things. My back has ALWAYS been wonky even from a very young age and now I have chronic back problems/pain. The mornings are the worst time for me. I’m sort of in the same situation as Rebecca. I don’t think I’d do very well in an EOTW situation. Too many operations to mention. Too many health issues. If it comes down to it I may have to opt for the ground-glass milkshake. Hope it doesn’t come down to that and that we still have a few years to prepare. I’m almost 70. I’d like to see 90. God willing. There are days when I have real craving for lemons and I can actually eat them. Love cherries. One of my favourite fruits. I can eat buckets of those things at a time. Am going to try your suggestions for getting rid of the arthritis pain. I have nothing to lose but the pain. Pain saps your energy and makes you feel like crap. I’d like to enjoy my last few years. I like the idea about Scotch but haven’t found one that I can stomach or like very much. But I do have a substitute. I mix up 2 parts Irish Mist and 1 part 120 proof rum. M’mmmm, m’mmmm good. Does the trick for me. Only need one shot glass full. LOL! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to try your suggestions and see how it works out.
Problem is, I am only 44 and have 3 kids, 17, 11 and 6! They need me especially because they are special needs! I am going to prepare mainly to shelter in place or bug out in a vehicle. But we live in a very expensive area. We don’t have space or money for a EMP proof vehicle nor place to store it. And we don’t have $ for a bug out location either. I’d love to see articles on here for practical preps for people in my situation.
Hi Rebecca, most EMP proof vehicles are not the new or late model vehicles, they are the old vehicles that have mostly had their last trip to some junkyard, most American made cars in the 1970’s are EMP proof, especially the more basic models, what to look for in an older car is that the distributor in the engine has ignition points, all the modern cars have electronic ignition which won’t work after a EMP event. Vehicles that spring to mind are Ford Pickups or Volkswagen Beetles, also most vehicles of this vintage (with ignition points) will be very cheap, even for one in OK condition.
I know they are cheap. But they aren’t worth much if they don’t work!! Trying to find one that doesn’t need repairs or paying for the repairs does cost a lot. And I still don’t have a place to store one. I live in a town house with a one car garage and not much parking space!! Prepping take a lot of resources I don’t have. If anything happens that will take more than a couple weeks to a month to fix, I’ll be doing an awful lot of praying!!
@Rebecca, go through the archive list of articles and read those that pertain to your situation. Very practical and affordable prepping info. Just recently there is one on collecting canned goods for a buck or less. Those are the articles I love to see because it helps with a limited bank account. What is really good about prepping is all the items are everyday use and can be used now and not just in an unforeseen EOW situation. There is even one how to create a first aid kit from dollar stores. So check them out you will be surprised. I also google the subject of what you might be looking for and a lot of good help pops up. And things you need for prepping you might already have but have not thought of. Always room to learn.
Thank You for the info. Sheltering in place isn’t a problem. Although I live in Canada so there’s no cans for $1 here and grocery stores don’t have coupons like in the USA. Couponing isn’t a thing here. I have an excellent first aid kit as I am (was) a nurse and hubby is a paramedic. We can afford to prep food and supplies. But guns are heavily regulated, expensive plus we have young kids. So I don’t even know that I’d want one. protecting what we have and bugging out are the big issues. I can’t walk far and certainly not with enough supplies for me and my share of what the kids would need. Not having a place for an EMP proof vehicle is another issue. I can’t ride a bike etc. Plus meds running out. It’s easy for people to say that we rely on the government too much, that we need to learn to care for ourselves. Fair enough. Everyone should have emergency supplies of food, water, clothing, first aid etc. But for people who have kids, are disabled or elderly, relying on the government is the only way! I’m prepared to be evacuated at short notice but I can’t possibly carry every we would need. We have a strong wagon and a very sturdy stroller along with my son and husband being able to carry a decent load. But we would need a vehicle to go far. Seems like serious prepping is for the healthy and childless living on a decent chunk of land. Or who live near rural areas. I’ll just have to be content to prep what I can.
I have to disagree about all the items being everyday use though. I have many prep items that are not. Like a specialty water filter, industrial garbage bags, temporary toilet bags, a snare, emergency tent, foil blankets, whistle and match holder, emergency radio and a lot more. all of these sit in a bag in my basement!
Hi, Auckland. I am soooo glad you shared that “recipe”.
Claude posted this article the 8th of February and wouldn’t you know it my back went out completely about a week later. And I do mean completely. I hope it’s just a torn ligament or muscle or something like that and not a so called slipped disc. I’m in pain constantly and I’m doing everything I can to lessen the pain by decompressing my back. Hanging from a bar in the basement so my feet don’t touch the floor and it lengthens my spine. Hopefully if it’s a disc it will decide to slip back into place. Trying to walk for at least an hour each day. To strengthen my legs. HAVE to use a walker now. It truly sucks. Have always done pushups each day. For at least the last 20/25 years. Got a bit slack lately. Getting back into it and also adding the plank exercise hoping to strengthen my core which should help my back problems. I should have written your recipe down the first time I saw it and I didn’t realize the universe was trying to tell me something. It knew what was coming up and when I don’t listen I suffer. Lesson learned. Couldn’t remember exactly which one of Claude’s pages it was on and took me hours to find. But finally I’m here. Right now I have nothing to lose but the pain. Right now I am where you were when you were about 60. Right now feel about 120. It’s horrible. Really do hope it’s just something like “simple” arthritis or I’ll have no choice but to go under the knife once again. Just love being cut open. Will try your cure and let you know how it works. Your info is VERY timely and it stuck in the back of my head for the longest time. Just didn’t know EXACTLY where it was. I will give you some feedback on it and I sincerely hope it works. I should have access to all the ingredients. All the stores have lemons. Don’t use white pepper. Have nothing to do with NSAIDS. Hate pills.MY local health food should have some kind of boron supplement. Looks like I have to get used to pomegranate juice. Someone should also have Boswellia. I have a very good, inexpensive source of cherries here. So it looks like I’m supposed to be where I am. Who knew? LOL! Thank you again. At this point I’ll try anything. Pain is SO debilitating. THANKS! KIWI! LOL!
Just very quick after-comment, Auckland. I was always wondering why I had such a craving for cherries lately and now I know why. Men have got to learn to listen to their bodies. Thanks!
I agree and I’m pushing 70 (actually 68 & 7 months) myself.
What I once thought was Arthritis turned out to be gout that can hit joints all over your body. Black cherries can help; but, I take a prescription medication called Allopurinol, 100 mg per day and can now eat anything, with no pain in my joints. At our age we do need to move slower and be more careful; but, daily exercise can work wonders.
Hi, Auckland. Just been doing a little research into the ingredients in your “recipe”. Apparently, Boswellia, which we know better as Frankincense is supposed to be much more effective when combined with curcumin which is found in turmeric. Have tried turmeric as a spice in some dishes and can’t quite get used to the taste as I didn’t grow up with it. Apparently going to have to bite the bullet. LOL!
@Auckland You’re very lucky to have ended up in NZ. In every serious disaster scenario I’ve come across they say that NZ will still be one of the safest places to end up. Friendly people. Good weather. Spectacular scenery. Highly developed economy. You have to like mutton if you live in NZ and also learn to drive on the wrong side of the street. The one thing that does bother me about NZ is that it straddles the plate boundary between the Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate. Obviously a very active tectonic area. But the good news is that NZ has brand spankin’ new baby mountains in the form of the Southern Alps. They’re only a mere 10 million years old at the most. They’re still babies. Another million years and we can throw them a birthday party. Let’s make it a surprise party this time. LOL! I’m getting silly. I’m up waaaay past my bedtime and still so much left to do. But on a serious note if I had my druthers between Australia and NZ I would pick NZ hands down any and every time.
Hi Armin, I don’t particularly like the weather in Auckland, Christchurch would suit me a lot better, BUT, the family were born and raised in China near Shanghai, and the weather in Auckland is similar, warm but not hot, high rainfall and the humidity that comes with it. I have 2 x 2000 gallon rain water tanks that filled up in less than 2 weeks, and just overflow every time it rains. I did look at living in Australia, in a suburban area of Melbourne or Sydney, because I have 2 daughters that need to attend high school, but houses and land are very over priced, and in Sydney storing rain water in suburbia is illegal, its OK in Melbourne, but their rainfall is spasmodic at best, while there I heard about the “3 year drought”, from the late 60’s, the “6 year drought” from the 80’s, the “12 year drought” from the early 00’s, and now they are waiting for the 25 year drought, seems kind of hard even living there in the good times.
@Auckland For your sake I’m glad you picked NZ. This global warming doesn’t seem to be to kind to Australia. They’ve had a rough patch, weather wise, in the last few years. The weather’s wonky all over. Before I become garden fertilizer I’d like to see NZ. Not so keen on Australia. Way too many nasty critters in Oz that just want to eat your face. LOL! High rainfall sounds about the same as the west coast of Canada. They have the best gardens in lotus land. 2000 gallons in 2 wks sounds pretty good to me. I’m assuming you use THAT water for the garden? Take care.
Hi Armin, My water tanks have been used to water the garden a couple of time, but mostly the excessive rainfall looks after the garden, the water tanks are connected to the house and are used for everything, only when they get down to 500 gallons total, they are automatically refilled with town supply, this has never happened yet, I also have solar panels that charge a 48 volt forklift battery, its connected to a 2000 watt invertor and it powers all the lights we have in the house, plus there are 2 power outlets (220 volt) in our kitchen also connected, but we try not to use them much.
There are many topics covered in past posts. I suggest that you peruse the list of past topic and read the ones you have not yet read. You may find some answers to your questions. Unfortunately, folks who are in poor health or dependent upon the miracles of modern medicine are at great risk in the event of an EMP or CME. Even a local event such as a hurricane, flood or earthquake can prove fatal to someone with limited mobility or severe health problems.
My computer skills are insufficient to access past posts. Wouldn’t know how/where to begin, tho willing to learn from anyone willing to mentor.
If you look on the left side of this page you will see a list of previous articles and comments. Just click on the title and it will open. When you get to that page you will again see a list of articles and comments. By clicking on them you can access past articles quite easily and do some catch up reading. Be sure to read the comments. When reading the comments, try to use your mind and life experience to judge how valid the advice in article and in the comments is. If someone makes a statement that flies in the face of reason, see if someone challenged it. There is lots of bad advice. For example, recently in talking about vacuum sealing articles to preserve them someone posted that vacuum sealing cartridges would pull the bullets from the cases. I have been hand loading cartridges since the early 1980s. One of the steps in hand loading is to make sure the neck of the case is crimped down on the bullet sufficiently to resist being pulled out of the case by the effects of recoil. The stouter the cartridge, the more snugly the case must be crimped against the bullet. If the vacuum of a vacuum sealer pulled the bullet from the case, that cartridge is defective and would never withstand the Newton forces that would be in play. I have had occasion to have to pull bullets. I know how much force is required to pull various bullets. Some bullets even have sealant around the bullet where the neck is crimped down. Those are a real bear to pull.
I cited an example of a very light weight handgun firing stout loads where bullet pulling is a known problem that has been discussed in shooting literature since the ultra light weight handgun appeared on the scene.
The poster should provide a basis for his opinion. It has been my experience that the more vehement the opinion, the less basis there is for it.
Good reading in your search. There is a lot of good information contained in all these posts. In my opinion, this is one of the more valuable information sources for people interested in prepping.
No power here,for the last 4 weeks and probably another couple of weeks for my home. Hopefully water well up in a week.
First three weeks I borrowed a neighbors generator three time to cool the refrigerator and freezer. Could have just opened the door on the freezer at night and have done the job. 🙂
Just opened the refrigerator when necessary. It was cool and held food very well.
Heating areas i.e. bathroom/ bedroom and keep doors shut. Propane camp heater. Doing fine.
New no electric or moving parts heating stove has arrived and is doing pretty good at gravity fed pellets or burning sticks and “trash” tiny branches.
I had just moved back when the waterheater quit, the pellet stove froze up and needed rebuilt, the 200 amp breaker in the box on the pole broke and shorted, burned back up to the meter. They decided my pole that I installed new in 1982 needed replaced…. no electric so no water.
I have a winch, strong rope, a pully, and have ordered a bucket for my unused well. Just bought the pully, rope, and orders a bucket to fit down a 4″ well casing.
A friend gave me a generator that I only run for an hour each night so my husband can “read” the pictures in a favorite tractor mag and log home book. He has dimentia. The nightlights in my windows are cheap solar pathlights that recharge in cups set on window sills. They are for him. I get along pretty well indoors or outdoors on my property with little or no lights.
Food is no problem. I always grow more that we eat in season and can up most of that… give away some also. I also have plenty of pasta for months of eating. I have some #10 cans of wheat and over 100 lb of various kinds of beans. I have rabbits, chickens, and ducks and get eggs when It’s not too cold.
But we do get pretty spoiled with instant lights and running water.
I have three ceptic systems here. If I draw or haul enough water I can still flush toilets… just if really needed. Not for every tinkle. 🙂
My power should be on to my trailer in a couple of weeks and the well in a week or less. God bless Puerto Rico and their troubles.
I have three acres and good friends in a trailer here who help me in every way possible. He helped me get the old gifted generator running. I can usually start it on the first pull. I cleaned out the old gas with alcohol from my med cabinet. Daniel filed the plug with my Emory board.
I hated California wild fires but the worst have come in the years since I moved away. I grew up in Napa County. Married in Calistoga. Lived near St. Helena and in Napa. In my late teens I drove a friend’s D9 Cat making firebreaks near Calistoga in a big fire there. I used to shop in Santa Rosa. I also lived in Glendale as a kid.
What I saw on the news was heartbreaking.
I have photo copies of much of the important stuff in a bag. I figure if the county wants my property taxes they will keep the bills on file. I do have deed copies but so does the county.
If I reopen a business here or start a new one, I’ll have to think about what is essential for that. I also have a fire safe and a fire file cabinet. They in in other places so pretty safe as far as paperwork and incorporations et.
Gray beard, I’d like to see a study of how Puerto Rico fared and how people survived this crisis.
Chuck you have me by a bit in time on this earth. Seems we can always be better prepared for something. Crazy isnt it? Our teats teach us the most important lessons but being problem solvers and depending on God’s wisdom will always help us get through anything.
I see auto spell still got by me but I’ll bet you know I wrote tests… and the others are minor…
Has anyone addressed, for themselves, being in an area where the basement “must” have a sump pump after long term power loss?
I’m assuming that I will never run out of “treated” water, but am worried about a flood. Had one after 3 days of a circuit being tripped.
How deep does the water get if you don’t keep the pump running? Do you know how close the water table is to the ground surface? In an EOTW situation, that might not be a problem, although I can see that it would be very easy to contaminate the water table with it that close to the surface of the ground.
The sump was off for 3 days and there was 1 – 2 inches covering the basement floor and this was in the late summer.
Last residence had the laundry in the basement next to the pump so I could empty the sump into a sink connected to the sewer system (new residence has septic).
Had a problem way back and I “estimated” how many gallons of water I needed to remove simply to see the top of the weep “pipes” and it was 200 gallons. This basement is almost twice the size and no easy way to get ride of the water.
@Ethan, I grew up in a house in Indiana with a basement and the water table came about halfway up the basement walls part of the year. We had a sump pump which seemed to run almost nonstop at times and there was a backup pump. My dad set up a manual pump which you cranked with a handle around and around. He finally got around to replacing the crank handle with a sprocket and connected it to an old bicycle frame. We, or maybe I should say I, would use it when the power went out. It would only take a few minutes to pump out any water and keeping an eye on the water level kept the basement from flooding. Hope this helps.
WANT to order physical product of “Darkest Days” for the $44.99 price. Shows up the digital product DON’T WANT
Can you help me?
Regarding speed of decline: We all have to face the FACT that if a grid down situation lasts for even one month, each family, needs to start a 24/7 security watch to protect what they have. By then, people will be beyond desperate. It would be a dangerous time that will require HARD decisions. I don’t know who said it, but it would be words to live by: “Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.” God help us all if this ever happens.
That was me, Hoosier. One of my favourite sayings. Don’t know where it’s from. So I made it my own. We do live in hope but to be practical do need to be prepared for the worst. But if the unthinkable happens and they start playing with EMP weapons or chemical or biological then there’s really nothing much that will help us then. At that point only the people in the most remote areas have any chance of survival. Then the Eskimos will rule the world. LOL! I think if the worst possible scenario happens they won’t start firing full size nukes all over the place. That would make great swaths of the planet uninhabitable for goodness knows how many years. The rulers can’t afford that. If nukes are used it will be with so called battlefield nukes in a local “conflict”. Why destroy the infrastructure when with a few carefully placed emp weapons you can destroy that which powers the infrastructure and basically send us back to the middle ages but with a heck of a lot more people that have become totally dependent on electricity? Throw in some chemical and biologics for those pesky “problem” areas and then just waltz in after the gas has cleared and take over. But that’s negative thinking and I really don’t want to go there. What I want is to get out of Dodge at the first opportunity but still keep the southern property as a home base while it exponentially increases in value until I don’t need it anymore. Then the powers to be can go kiss my ugly, wrinkled, old butt. LOL!
Hi Guys, sorry I was gone a while as my generator was shutting down all by itself for no apparent reason. I change the oil with less than 100 hours and it seam to be running better. Here are a few topics discussed so far that have not been in the news about Puerto Rico. On the days following Maria there was mass looting by mobs. It happened in some of the hardest hit areas near where I live. A Walmart lost its roof and everything in the store was looted. So were hardware stores, auto parts stores and Walgreens as well. The problem was that it was kept under raps by local, state and federal authorities to keep the public from more panic. Initially no one could get around as all roads were block by fallen trees, power post, debris etc. Only mobs on foot were able to get around. After the first 2 or three days police was able to get to work and the looting died down. There was then a call for anyone who had a license to carry arms to work as a security guard everywhere to protect businesses that were essentially blown open by the storm. The biggest problem was gasoline! At first there were no tanker truck making deliveries and the government put a $20 per person limit on gas . The lines were miles long and took 5 to 8 hours of waiting to get to the pump. To then repeat the next day because $20 can barely keep your generator running and have some thing in the car. I think the rationing of gas was a big mistake as, as soon as they stopped the rationing and you could buy $100 of gas at one time people were good for a week or so and the lines and waits died down. Water was another big deal! Collecting rain water, using river water to wash and bathe, 24 10oz bottle packs were selling for $25. I have a 2,000 gal. water box that I had topped off before the storm and had gotten a PVC Valve broken by the storm and lost all my water. Lesson learned don’t use PVC pipes. Use copper or galvanized steel for you back up water supplies! There was a lot the the government has hidden from the general public. They have been claiming only 64 deaths. My local hospital has the 4th floor collapse on to the 3rd floor and over 400 people were killed. It was never reported in the news! The whole island was under Martial Law for the first 3 months and no one but law enforcement knew it as then did not what the general public panicking or protecting! I have been a “prepper” or a wanabe prepper for years now and thought I was ready for the storm. But it was much worse than anyone could have ever imagined. As I prepper my brothers always said I was weird. Now they say I went from being weird to wise in one day. When the SHTF REALLY happens you can never be too prepared.
Rob: Thanks for the post. I found in the Thomas Fire that information was a very valuable commodity. We are as dependent upon our news sources as we are our water and gasoline supplies. While we had reporters roaming all around the news was repetitious and in many cases not accurate. One network kept showing the same house burning for the whole time the fire was out of control. Okay, we got it. We know that house burned to the ground the first day. Show us what’s happening now in the next county over.
I would agree with your assessment of pvc. In addition to being susceptible of breakage, it melts at a low temperature. Even copper joints that are sweated together will have the solder joining them melt at fairly low temperature. I don’t know the melting point of solder but it doesn’t take much heat to melt it. While galvanized rusts, it resists the other forces that might make it fail. I like the mechanical fastening of threads as opposed to glue or solder.
The Thomas Fire provided a real life learning lesson for me. I would guess the hurricanes did the same for you. Fortunately, none of our mistakes proved fatal to either of us and hopefully we will apply the lessons learned.
Thanks for your post. It provided valuable insight into a real life scenario.
@Rob I really feel for you, Rob. You have been through heck and have seen first hand what it’s like when a real disaster happens. You are so lucky to have been able to survive. You must have your own little guardian angel. Thank you for sharing. God bless.
@Rob, thankyou for sharing. Maybe Claude can recruit you to write an article on what you have experienced for all of us to learn from and possibly lessons learned on some thing we think would work but ended up failing. This is what we prepare for.
Those really are words to live by, Rob. You can never really be TOO prepared. But our preps are limited by our available space and of course our money. We can only do the best we can do.
Puerto Rico has had to deal with months with no electricity for a very large percentage of the population. Number one problem: crime. Lucky the opposing drug cartel members (mostly from the Dominican Republic which Homeland Security allowed into PR) are killing each other. (PR has no control over it’s borders which is all around all the PR islands.) But there are also the normal criminals. Regular people have had to arm themselves, which is not common there, since the police is not much help. I’m sure it would be the same here. There are solution to all the problems mentioned and all you need is a computer connected to the internet to find solutions. It’s people own responsibility to do research and prepare. And stop leaving it for tomorrow.
This feed has brought up a serious question. Where is all the coverage about the ongoing problems Puerto Rico is experiencing since the hurricane? Why the seemingly hush hush don’t want to talk about it cover it up type of attitude? All I hear in the news is how much the democrats hate trump and he is a Russian clouding racist who only care about rich people. I want to learn from what’s happening, and maybe help if I can. Can anyone direct us to articles concerning how Puerto Rico is getting through this? Tired of the media covering up stuff and only presenting info about topics that promote THEIR agenda.
Hi Wannabe, your government doesn’t want you to worry about what happened and what is happening in Puerto Rico, they want you to be comfortable in the knowledge that if anything serious was going to happen in our America, the government would instantly step up to the plate, and fix all the problems, you have no need to worry about anything, even if your home is destroyed, you and your family will be welcomed at your local FEMA camp, living in luxury until you can return to your new home, but this will never happen because your government is there to make sure nothing goes wrong, so there is absolutely no reason for you to even think about prepping.
Wannabe, I agree with that you are saying. There is a cover up about what is going on because all the main media wants it to attack Trump. They DO NOT care who PR is coping. Unfortunately most news come from either the PR press, most of it in Spanish, and family members. I am in touch with my brother (an Army brat like me) who grow up paranoid (we lived in Germany when the Berlin wall was built and the cold war was full force) and therefore was prepared. Not just for himself but to help people from his church. But he keeps me updated when the cell phone works (not often). Things are really bad because in PR it is much worse off than it would be in most of the US, since just about everything has to come by boat and thanks to the “Jones Act” PR can only use the most expensive ships in the planet, which the US does not use for the most part, the ones with the US flag. The US uses mostly cheap ones from other nations. Building supplies to fix damaged home are therefore very hard to find and very expensive. Most homes damaged were those of poor people who chose to build with wood, rather than reinforced concrete, which is what zoning laws require. Food is very hard to get and if you have heard the news, the contractors that FEMA hired are NOT providing the food they were paid to provide. Like the woman in the news lately, who provided almost nothing, and a contractor that was sending boxes full of SNACKS, when a box containing rice a beans (a lot cheaper) would have been logical because in PR those are staples. Now, FEMA demanded that all donation received for PR, go to them so they can “manage” the money. FEMA, who bought millions of dollars worth of electrical equipment, but then forgot they had the equipment in a warehouse, slowing down the repair of the electrical system. P Ricans found it. FEMA is a worse disaster. As to Auckland’s comment, as annoying as it could possibly get, being that every single P Rican born during the last 101 years is an US citizen from birth, “in our America” includes PR. Plus, people in the states (Texas and Florida) were posting on YouTube that FEMA was nowhere to be found when the disaster there happened and then the ones in the FEMA “shelters” were posting with cell phones they managed to sneak in, that they were not being fed on a regular basis. PR gets at least some mention because there are more P Ricans in the states, than in PR, and they keep making a nuisance, but people in the states have basically forgotten about the people in those “shelters”. Also on YouTube, family and friends of people in the shelters posting they have heard NOTHING from or about them. One thing for sure, anyone depending on FEMA for anything is insane. The Cajun Army, posted on YouTube, showing all the supplies they had for PR, that they were trying to go there, but FEMA was not giving them permission to go help. That’s as bad as it gets, not even people who did so much in Texas being allowed to help PR. If it were not for volunteers all over the US and the US military, it would be MUCH worse. Being that PR has the highest percentage per capita of any group of people in the military, and they are helping their own, I would worry even more of what would happen in the states. For those who are not aware of it, the Pentagon actually had a briefing (which people never even saw, since it disappeared from the internet immediately after I saw it) when they indicated they were taking over, even before president Trump announced he was putting in general in charge of overseeing. I’ve been preparing all my life and can’t understand how most people can’t figure out what they are facing.
@Carmen I agree wholeheartedly with what you’re saying, Carmen. What it comes down to, when the SHTF, is that we can’t depend on the government for anything. They’ll all be secure in their little bunkers. We have to depend on ourselves. I know that when society does break down there will be the looting and all the rest of it but for the most part if people can remember to co-operate with each other to survive then we all have a better chance to make it through. I don’t want to get too much into the conspiracy thing. This isn’t the website for it but the a-holes ruling this planet would like nothing better than for us to be at each other’s throats and wipe ourselves out. Saves them the trouble and expense. There has been no peace on this world since the end of the last world war. Some genius figured out that there’s big money in war and why not keep the money machine going. What’s a few million lives worth here and there as compared to all the profits that can be made from all the ongoing “conflicts”.
It comes down to this. People in America are being told they are not responsible for taking care of themselves but are entitled to health care, higher wages, cell phones, food stamps, housing, education, and so on and so forth. So many are with the mentality that I’m not supposed to take care of my self or family it is someone else’s responsibility. So when bad things happen and the masses have nothing to survive, they steal and kill what they think is inherently theirs. So they think they are doing nothing wrong because it is theirs any way. See where I’m going with this? This is why government assistance funded by tax dollars(someone else’s money not theirs) is a terrible wrong. Not just for those it is taken from but also to the one it is “entitled” to.
(Freeform/Tony Rivetti) GROWN-ISH – “Un-Break My Heart” – After going through a traumatic breakup, Zoey begins partying to get out of her feelings, but when a power blackout on campus forces her to stay in for the night, she must confront her true feelings in order to begin the healing process.
I have experienced more than a dozen hurricanes with no power, water or communications only once for over a month! Hurricane Andrew destroyed all infrastructure in Homestead and southern Miami. We left that luckily my pick up was not damaged inside the garage that somehow was still standing! I worked for a Tech School teaching tractor trailer instruction so after camping out at a friends place farther North, took a 53 ft trailer full of food,water and blankets back down. The National guard had to restraint the people at gunpoint to maintain control! These people were frantic and very scared that what I saw in there eyes was nothing short of terror. Many were crying carrying the water/food/blanket away. This was only two days after Andrew hit!! Just imagine what it is after two weeks when I returned with another trailer load. The people were screaming at the National Guardsmen “Give us food now”!
Hi bruk, many preppers are not really ready for when the SHTF, maybe because of time or money, then there are the people that know for a fact that IT will never happen, and of course there are the people that believe their government will look after them and fix all problems. I have been prepping for many years, and I still shudder when people tell they are ready for anything.
What the heck happened to Bruk’s comments? He makes a good point. From personal experience. One of the biggest problems in a true grid down situation is that people will be starving and will panic. That will be one of the biggest dangers. People will not be thinking rationally and will do things that they normally wouldn’t. I hope to god reason will prevail and the major powers don’t start fooling around with ANY kind of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
Figures. As soon as I post my comment Bruk’s comments turn up. I swear to god……LOL!
I guess you have some issues with my comment?? Our home was destroyed and we put what we could into the pickup including my generator camping gear and what dry/canned foods we could find leaving! There were no street signs so navigating was going north and finding streets that were passable took some time. Just another thing to worry about when leaving! My comment was to show that how unprepared most people are, how scared people react to no food/water/police/home and how we saw quickly that we can’t stay coming up with a plan quickly! I had my wife and kids to think about not worrying about what we leave behind but to get to a safe place for us! Living in a tent at our friends place was a much safer/comfortable place to be than staying where anarchy was mostly happening! We now live in the Lake Tahoe area with possibly the cleanest water in the world with game seen regularly and plenty of wood to make a nice fire in our fireplace! We have a diesel generator, wind generators and storage batteries with containers of dehydrated food! Our neighbors are equally prepared so no competition if it gets dicy!
No, Bruk. You totally misunderstand and you need to get that chip off your shoulder. If you would have read my other comment you would have seen that I totally agree with you. Panic and fear WILL be one of the biggest problems in a true grid down situation. People will not be themselves and survival instincts will take over. If they’re not prepared it will get ugly very quickly. What you did for your community was the act of a selfless person. I have it set up so that I get e-mail notifications if a new comment is posted on this particular page. I don’t want to lose track of this page as I think it was Auckland that posted a “recipe” for his particular health problems that he had which may help others and especially me. I’m almost 70 and I’ve had chronic back problems for most of my life. Very recently my back went “out” completely and since then my life has been a constant struggle with great pain thrown into the mix. I’m doing everything I can to “fix” the problem and it’s very, very tough for me. I don’t want to go under the knife AGAIN unless I absolutely have to! Very recently I received an e-mail notification of a new comment from this page and the comment was from you and I wanted to reply to it. I thought you made some very good points and I just wanted to add some personal comments to it. When I came to this page I couldn’t find your comments and I just made a little joke as to what could have happened to them. I wasn’t criticizing or judging you. You’ve been through a lot. For some reason, and I don’t know why, as soon as I posted MY comments YOUR comments turned up on this page and that was what my last comment was about. My little frustration as to what Claude’s web-hosting service is doing or not doing. Basically saying, for goodness sakes, that Bruk’s comments turn up AFTER my post. Kind of, “it figures”. For whatever reason they were not there when I first came to the page and I once again thought that the page had eaten your comments. I was just trying to make a little joke as to the fact that your comments appeared AFTER I posted my own even though I received the e-mail notification that you had already posted on this page. No disrespect intended. You’ve been through a lot, bruk, and survived it. Another testament to the strength of the human spirit. You’ve seen first hand what happens to people when they’re deprived of their creature comforts. Especially food. Starving people are very desperate people. We also need to keep our egos in check and not jump to conclusions. Sometimes our own egos can be our own worst enemies. Don’t think the worst of people on this page. We really are trying to help each other. This forum is a safe place where we can talk to each other as friends with no disrespect EVER intended. I’m really sorry you took my comments the wrong way. That’s not how they were intended. As I’ve mentioned somewhere else our chances for survival will be much higher if people learn to co-operate and work together as opposed to everyone for themselves kind of mentality. Understanding and compassion go a long way when people are serious about helping each other. And last but not least you’re very lucky to live somewhere where most, if not all of your neighbours, are already also prepared for potential disasters. Consider yourself very lucky, bruk, and give thanks every day for what you have and take nothing for granted. You’ve seen first hand how life can very quickly change. Not always for the better. Any helpful comments or tips from you are always welcomed with open arms. God bless. 🙂
I misunderstood to say sorry??? Just to let you know that my Daughter, a 8 year Penn State grad doctor of Nutrition, told me 13 years ago to try Cod Liver Caplets first than to have my knees replaced! I still have my original knees and have NOT had a sore back/stiff anything (other than my manhood, LOL) since taking 6 caplets a day at the start! I am now 70 years and I have reduced my hiking in the mountains that I don’t climb Mt Tallac the last two years! Check it out and you can’t take too many that I have taken 4 more after a hike. It is also a natural blood thinner. It also does wonders for you skin and hair.
You’re very lucky you’re still in as good shape as you are, bruk. Everyone ages differently. I’m going to try one thing at a time and Auckland’s problems were closer to what’s going on with me now. There’s a good health food store near me where I can get the boron supplements and the anti-inflammatories. Things like lemons and cherries are easy to pick up here. Thanks for your input.
Cod Liver Oil Caplets that I didn’t add the word OIL!
Interesting and helpful, thanks all, hope I can join in!
Of course you can, Sal. That’s what this forum is all about. It’s about sharing information and experiences which hopefully help prepare us all for any potential disasters or catastrophes down the road. Even if it’s only something like the power going out for a day or two. Depending upon the time of year and where you live it could be an inconvenience or a real problem if it happens in the middle of winter. I remember the big power outage. I think it was 2003 and it lasted for something like 3 days. It was the middle of summer and everyone took it in their stride. It was like a short unexpected little holiday and no one panicked or nothing got out of hand. Because I live in Canada and it can get quite “chilly” LOL! in the winter that particular situation might have been quite different had it occurred in the middle of winter. If you have something to contribute jump right in and let us know. Your particular experiences and knowledge can only help to increase the knowledge base of the whole. These pages are a safe space where we can discuss almost anything without fear of being ridiculed or censured. The only caveat is that if you have a long post I would suggest copying it first in case the page decides to eat it. Has happened to me a few times and it’s quite annoying if a want to post a long comment. Takes me a huge amount of time to write even something fairly short as I really am the world’s worst typist and if the page “eats” my comment it’s a waste of a few hours of work and not worth doing over. To say it burns my butt is a gross understatement. LOL! Welcome to the forum, Sal. And just as a short little personal P.S. if a North American or world-wide disaster does happen I don’t think it will take the form that we have anticipated. No sane country can afford to push “the” button. They’ll be committing suicide. I can see emp weapons being used though. And that WOULD be a real disaster. The more likely scenario I see happening before that is the melt down of the American monetary system. The whole thing is based on the Fed (a private corporation) creating money out of nothing and constantly increasing the debt load of the American people. This cannot go on forever and sooner or later (I would think sooner) there has to be some kind of “correction” in the whole corrupt system. What form this “correction” will take, that I don’t know. Could be something as “simple” as devaluing the American dollar which would still have a huge effect worldwide as most countries still use the US dollar as their reserve currency. The people that created this corrupt Ponzi scheme have now effectively boxed themselves into a corner and whatever solution they come up with to fix the system will not bode well for the rest of us.
Armin, less countries are using the US$ than ever before, I went to Hong Kong about 5 years ago and everything in the shops had 3 price tags, the HK$, the Chinese Yuan and the US$, but now nothing have a price tag in US$, the street currency exchanges don’t like taking US$ and only pay about HK$3 for each one, which is really about have their value.
I can believe that, Shijiazhuang. To me it looks like the American dollar is in a death spiral. I don’t blame them for shying away from the American dollar. No one wants to hold American money anymore. I’ve converted all mine into other currencies. Most countries now use fiat currencies but with all the Fed’s “quantitative easing” and all the other baloney going on in the States, not the least of which is the dog and pony show headed up by Trump, the American dollar probably isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. The latest graph I’ve seen is that compared to the dollar when the Fed was created, the American dollar is now worth about 5 cents. And I’ve also heard that now both China and Russia are refusing to deal in American dollars. The “Brix” countries may follow suit. If more and more countries refuse to hold the American dollar as their reserve currency then it’s quite possible that the US dollar’s demise is imminent. Appreciate your info. 🙂
We are actually rather snug here on the homestead; but, have been prepping for 40+ years while living here for 35.
For water we have a great well, an ever flowing creek, water catchment and local farm ponds. Anything but the well would require treatment for use for anything but flushing the toilet; but, we also have filters and chemicals for that purpose.
Trash right now is a large dumpster that get dumped every 3 months or so; but, we also use a burn barrel, and could compost or bury many items.
Sewage is the easy one, with a large septic system, so all we need are buckets of water and we can flush normally.
Our area has neighbors who are people living rural just like us, all with wells and septic systems, and quite capable of burning trash if required.
Sanitation and avoiding people is our plan.
We will have no problem with heat (propane & firewood) and are used to no AC and using fans and shade. A cool shower can also help here if it’s really hot.
In the urban areas I agree; but, out here in more isolated rural areas, we are ready for most anything, and live here at least in part for that reason, the isolation.
We could pay off our only debt, the vehicle is things got to that point; but, I think banks would rather have cash flow than to run a used car lot.
Our only utilities are telephone and electric and if all the power was out, we would have no bill for power; but, would have power with our generator and could shut off the phone for a while.
So very true and a good reason to be out of debt.
We do, in both cash and PM’s; plus, monies in accounts with numerous banks and brokerages. If we can’t touch that money, then the banks can’t get their payments, so I think something could be worked out.
The Speed of Decline
I think we see little bit of this during any multiday event, from hurricanes to wildfires to blizzards. The first thing we see is that all of the ”French Toast People” run out to purchased their Bread, Milk, and Eggs, seemingly to make French toast.
They also strip shelves of all the water.
Lord Cameron of Dillington said “We are nine meals away from anarchy.” And I think he is correct.
Also probably correct; but, that’s why we prep. We only go to the super market a few times per month, and could easily shelter in place for weeks to months and not really miss any meals. That is however, all too uncommon.
I think normalcy bias would rule for a few days, waiting for the lights to come back on like normal before chaos would reupt with everyone.
Government assistance would be there; but, would be somewhat limited by priority. I’ve worked with our county EMA for 20 years, and while we have very large generators, they would no doubt be directed to shelters and medical facilities. In the aftermath of the recent Dayton Ohio tornados, we loaned the city of Dayton our 500 KW diesel turbine for a few weeks to run their well field and supply water to the city. This is a concept known as mutual aid; but, when everyone’s tail is in the soup, you have to hope your local agencies have what they need, and many do not.
The Complexity of Recovery
Part of the problem with this discussion is the assumption that everything has somehow broken. Cascade power failures covering large areas can happen with very few components in the system failing, so this might not be all that bad to recover. Something large scale like an EMP that damages lots of pieces of infrastructure could fall into this long term recovery category, so like everything, it just depends.
I would be one of those with power in any case, and have already made arrangements to have neighbors here, both to use power for charging devices, taking showers, washing clothing, and above all, security.
What the anarchists would accomplish in those areas with power evades me, since they cannot take it home with them; but, you are probably right.
Once again it would depend on the failure mode, something I don’t think you actually mentioned.
Preparing for These Realities
We will be bugging in during anything like this, and since we have no threats other than tornados or roving groups of people, I think we would fare rather well. We chose this place for that fact with no flooding or wildfires possible.
Done & done; but, we’ll at least have enough power fir some lighting and enough fuel for heating & cooking.
We did our bug out from the city almost 40 years ago and will be staying right here, with all the comforts of home. Before retirement, that meant paying the cost by driving anywhere from 25-40 miles one way, all the while improving this location to make it rather self sufficient. We have a well insulated house with good windows & doors, on site propane storage for more than 3000 gallons, propane and alternative wood heat, propane fueled whole house auto start generator, a good well, and plenty of food stored away.
We also have solar means for charging batteries and have some solar powered lighting.
The list could go on; but, I’ll end it here, since we’ve invested time, money, and ideas for decades to be where we are; but had an unfair advantage, since I’ve been doing this since I was that weird kid who preferred camping, building fires and field expedient shelters, instead of little league with the other guys.
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