It can be overwhelming to be a new prepper, with the plethora of information that is available. Some of it talks about a supply of food for a year, hand tools for anything one might desire to do, and a hideaway in the woods where there is plenty of forage available. However, this is an end goal, and people are not expected to be able to be that prepared when just starting out. Instead, a good place to start is to know how to live without power for a week or two.
Most people are not prepared for a power outage that lasts more than a few hours. At the same time, it is not at all out of the realm of possibility for a situation to cause a power outage that lasts a week or two. In fact, this happens regularly in different places around the world. Being prepared for such a situation will mean being prepared for all sorts of disasters and catastrophes that may occur.
Start by making a list of what would be needed to get through a week without power. It is possible that many of the things are already somewhere in the home; the key is having them organized and available when needed.
What to Have
There are some things that a person cannot live without. There are others that add to comfort and convenience. In general, the phrase, “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it” tends to be true; however, it is possible to overprepare, as well.
- Water is the most important thing. A person can live without food for more than a month, but without water for less than two weeks. Most people take their tap water for granted, but if the power is out, it may not run at all. Even if it runs, it may not be safe to drink. Those with electric stoves may not be able to boil it for safety. Having a good supply of water means having a gallon a day per person, so a family of four should have 28 gallons of water set aside. Remember that water does, eventually, “go bad,” so water that is stored should be used and replaced regularly for best results. Remember, too, that water will be needed for cleaning. Keep some additional water for this purpose.
- Food comes in a close second. While humans can live without food for a while, it weakens the body and limits the ability to survive. Food that keeps well for extended time periods are best, but even with those, using the oldest and replacing it with fresh regularly is a good idea. Some good options include meat jerky (beef, turkey, venison, or whatever), granola bars, trail mix, canned foods that do not require cooking (preferably with a pull-tab top; otherwise, be sure to have a can opener available), packets of such things as soups, drinks, oatmeal, and such that can be used with just water, and freeze-dried foods. Keep in mind that any pets in the family will also need a supply of food, as otherwise keeping them fed will reduce the family’s provisions.
- A first aid kit is essential. While it can always be hoped that first aid will not be needed, chances are high that it will. Doctors and hospitals are unlikely to be available in such a situation, so having the means to care for minor wounds or injuries is very important.
- Basic survival equipment such as a multitool and pocketknife, candles and matches, flashlights and batteries, a whistle, duct tape, a can opener, camping dishes, a sewing kit, writing instruments and paper, and similar things will be useful. The actual list will depend on each household’s needs.
- Health and hygiene items including clothes (remember underclothes and socks), tissues, soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet paper, dental floss, feminine hygiene items, gloves, etc.
- Things that entertain or help pass time, but do not take up a lot of space, such as playing cards or other card games, books, even an e-reader if there is a way to charge it, some small craft items, a musical instrument, or whatever is enjoyed.
- If a generator is available, it can be run outside to charge devices and, if large enough, may be used to run some appliances.
Where to Store It
While it may seem a good idea to stockpile things in the garage, that is not the best place for survival supplies. The main reason for this is that the extreme changes in temperature can cause perishable items to go bad sooner. This is also true for attics and basements.
A corner of a bedroom or closet, where the temperature is controlled, is a better option. Under the bed may be an excellent choice for many people. Food and water would be better kept in a pantry or utility room where it can be accessed easily, since it needs to be used and replaced regularly to keep it fresh.
This Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletin contains practical information and hands-on instructions for preparing for when the power is out.
This guide explains many useful examples about living without power or water in the case of an emergency. It offers advice on living without electricity and water for up to three weeks after a disaster.
3. Just In Case
This book explains how to be self-sufficient in the case of an unexpected catastrophe. The resources in this book include food supply, equipment inventory, evacuation kits, communication, and more.
This set of ebooks includes information on being prepared in the city, living naturally, survival preparation on a budget, how to prepare for a natural disaster, and more. It includes things to do, handling illness, gardening, and other prepping information.