Power Grid Failure: What You Will Need

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You may be under the false assumption that a massive power grid failure is only something that you’d witness while watching an eerie apocalyptic film, but the truth is, it’s one of the most likely disasters that could occur. Just over the past few decades, there have been dozens of huge electrical blackouts throughout the world that have left hundreds of millions of people without power.

It’s even happened a handful of times in the United States as well, so don’t think that it only happens to third-world countries. Keep reading to understand Power Grid Failure: What You Will Need. 

Power Grid Failure: What You Will Need

Power Grid Failure: What You Will Need 

On December 20th, 2013, an unforgiving massive ice storm swept its way across parts of the US and central Canada, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in the dark. Many of them had to go several days without power, while for some, it meant that they didn’t have a way of heating their homes for a week or two.

Could you imagine if this were to happen to your family in the dead of winter? And think about if it were to go on for several days? Would you be prepared and have enough supplies to manage? Chances are…probably not. Here’s what you will need if a power grid failure were to wreak havoc in your area.  

Drinking Water

Drinking water is one of the most crucial items that your family will need following a disaster, and chances are, the water from your kitchen sink will no longer be an option. Experts will tell you that you need to have at least a 2 week supply of drinking water for you and everyone in your household. 

On average, a person uses about 1 gallon of water a day for drinking and sanitary purposes, so if you have 4 people in your family, you’ll need to stock up a minimum of 56 gallons of water to get through a two week period. That’s one of those large barrels people like to use to store water.

You may also want to think about learning a number of different methods to purify your drinking water as well.  I highly recommend 4 gallons per person per day, I get thirsty just thinking I would be limited to one gallon per day. Remember, you’ll also want some water to cook with, possibly clean at least your underwear, possibly wash some dishes, etc.

Stockpile of Food

There are a few things that you need to consider when stockpiling enough food for your family. Plan on having enough food for 3 meals a day (including snacks) that will last you at least 2 weeks. Try and choose meals that don’t require much heating of the food in a microwave or your electric stove. Also, with no power, there will need to be food items that don’t need to be refrigerated.

After all, the food in your refrigerator will probably go bad during this time unless you have a generator or other means of keeping those items cold. My suggestion to you is to gather plenty of non-perishable food items that your family is used to, which will last for an indefinite amount of time. 

First Aid

Chances are high, that you’ll probably be cooped up at home where you already have a first aid kit on hand. Just be sure that you have plenty of bandages, antibiotic ointments, tools, along with over the counter medicines to treat flu and cough, diarrhea, and help reduce headaches. In case you missed this post, 35 OTC Medications You Should Store

Sanitation

Sanitation is usually the one that everyone forgets about, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not one of the most important that you need to remember. Proper sanitation helps you maintain good hygiene and helps keep everyone from getting sick.

So, think about having an extra supply of hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, baby wipes for cleaning, trash bags, and toilet paper.

Most toilets in our homes will flush when water is poured down them, even when the power is out. If this is true for you, right after the power has gone out, go ahead and fill up your bathtub and washing machines with water to use for flushing and washing. Most water systems in municipalities are supported by huge pumps, and most of those run on electricity. No power, no water. Hard to imagine that happening in your area? Be prepared with the water mentioned above.  

Flashlights with Extra Batteries

Make sure that you have a number of flashlights and lanterns so you’re not left in the dark. Don’t forget to have an abundance of batteries for backup too. 

Heating

What happens if a power outage takes place during winter? You’ll need some way to keep your family warm. Those of you who have a fireplace or a wood stove, be sure to have plenty of wood or other fuel to keep them burning. You might think your family is fine since you have a natural gas furnace. Just remember, furnaces push and pull the air in your home with fans/blowers.

If you don’t have any of those, you can also heat up rocks and then place them in a dutch oven or heat-safe cookware to provide your family with extra warmth. Whichever heating method that you decide on, be sure to have a fire extinguisher close by just in case.    

Moving everyone into a smaller room with a towel covering the crack under the door will allow everyone’s body heat to help raise the temperature in a room as well. Quick and easy access to warmer clothing is also something to think about. Be sure to have plenty of blankets, along with warm sleeping bags so that everyone can get a good night’s sleep. 

Communication

You can’t depend on cellphones and landlines during a power grid failure, so you need to consider having a hand-crank radio to alert and inform you of what’s going on in the outside world. If for whatever reason you or someone in your family has to separate, you’ll need to have a 2-way radio to keep in contact.   

Butane Stove

A Butane/Propane Stove will be a great tool to have in order for you to boil and heat up your meals and water for bathing a young child, etc.   

Gas-Powered Generator

A gas-powered generator is more on the expensive side, but another great way for your family to be prepared for a power grid failure. Just remember that generators need fuel to run and you’ll need an efficient way to store that fuel.

Additional Items

Your list of supplies will look slightly different from everyone else’s, depending on your family’s needs. Be sure to have all the essentials based on the uniqueness of your family. Some of these may include prescription medications, feminine hygiene products, diapers, formula, dog food, toiletries, elderly care, and so forth. Plus, matches or a fire starter may be needed.

Final Word

This is not an exhaustive list of supplies that you need to have for a power grid failure, but your family will certainly have a greater chance of survival with them. What are some other supplies and items that you think would be necessary if this situation were to happen?

If you’re looking for an interesting read on the subject, check out the 12 biggest electrical blackouts in history. You may also want to read Ted Koppel’s book Lights Out. Please be prepared before you need to be. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Be Prepared For Power Outage Deposit photos_42881179_s-2019

31 thoughts on “Power Grid Failure: What You Will Need

  • September 28, 2020 at 7:28 am
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    We have all of these. Our generator is dual fuel. Gas or propane. I just got a crank style radio that will also charge a cell phone. We have the hurricane type oil lanterns and candles. I also have the stuff to make more candles. Matches, and butane lighters. I’ve tried to think of everything we might need.

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    • September 28, 2020 at 8:05 am
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      Hi Deborah, great comment! You know I LOVE hearing you are prepared!! Good job! Linda

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      • September 28, 2020 at 8:37 am
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        Just a thought for those with medical equipment, such as a CPAP, that require electrical power. A vehicle battery jump box with an inverter will give you approx. eight hours of run time. However, recharging may take more that twelve hours. Recommend two jump packs (three would be ideal) to establish a rotation as used up ones charge, some form of a generator (as long as fuel is available), and a solar source (I have solar panels, plus a wind generator, so I can charge at night if there is air movement). Yes, you are looking at $300+ dollars just in jump packs, but there are few, quicker, easier options

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        • September 28, 2020 at 9:49 am
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          Jeff, we have one of those, too. LOL

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        • September 28, 2020 at 10:24 am
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          Hi Jeff, thank you for bringing this up. I have so many families in my neighborhood that need to be prepared to have a source of power for their CPAP’s. I don’t know one family that has done anything to be prepared. I bought and was given several Goal Zero solar units to use for this very thing. I sure hope people realize we need solar and the items you mentioned. I always say, be prepared for the unexpected. Great comment, Linda

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      • September 28, 2020 at 9:47 am
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        I love being prepared. For whatever life brings.

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  • September 28, 2020 at 8:02 am
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    We went through Hurricane Laura about 3/4 weeks ago and I learned a lesson here. I under compensated on how hot it would get inside the house. It got in the 90’s. We had food, water, sanitation, meds, fuel etc. but sent son and hubby down the road looking for food since it was too hot in the kitchen and outside cooking. We lived off a generator (we have two) with a 110 ac unit and mostly stayed in the back room. So what I’ve decided to do was buy another new 110 ac and will put it in my kitchen. I felt bad looking for food when I had all I needed right here and that someone else could have needed it. Lesson learned.

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    • September 28, 2020 at 8:10 am
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      HI Judy, wait please explain why you sent your son and hubby down the road looking for food. Was it because it was too hot to cook in your house? How long were you without power? Could you have eaten canned food by just opening the cans? I love learning, please help me understand. One day our A/C broke down and we were without air conditioning for 48 hours. It was 110 degrees outside. I had more insulation blown in the attic several years ago. I think that’s what saved us. The temperature in our home was at 80 degrees, it was tolerable. Thanks for any input to help me. Linda

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  • September 28, 2020 at 8:37 am
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    Hi Linda. Yep, it’s me. If the grid goes down from an EMP attack (either by the sun or human), one very important thing for people to know is this. Absolutely nothing electronic will work which includes everything from cell phones to automobiles (including batteries) unless they have been protected in a faraday cage. Not everyone knows this. Preppers know this, but the general public doesn’t. Just thought I would throw that info out.

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    • September 28, 2020 at 10:21 am
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      Hi Pam, I’m glad you brought this up. I have one problem with a Faraday cage, it’s just me. I can’t store everything I have in one because I use them every day. My fear is a total power grid outage. Our country is so behind the times in being able to replace our power grids. An EMP is second on my list. Both issues will be bad, for sure. It’s not if our power grids go down, but when. Stay safe and thank you for the reminder. Linda

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  • September 28, 2020 at 8:50 am
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    Yes they were looking for food and I like learning to. And yes it was extremely hot in and out of the house to cook. We opened all doors to get a breeze, fortunately we have screens on the doors to keep insects outside. The humidity was horrible, almost stifling and the mosquitos were horrible. We were out of power for about a week. When the electricity came on, it kept going off and on. Yes we had canned food like spam, peanut butter, vienna sausage but they eat so much of it they didn’t want it. I did open a few of my #10 cans and we ate cranberries, dry foods like that but it was not a good hot meal. One day I cooked off of the gas stove and I was sweating from head to toe. I have high blood pressure so when I get hot it goes up, crazy but it does. Oh btw, we have three battery powered fans, ceiling fans and a large orange oscillating fan. My husband would rotate the wattage used in the house so we could take baths. My sister has a generac and she was out the same time we were and said when she called to get butane for her generator the cost was $500.00. We stored gas fuel before we left as we knew what would happen, just messed up on the heat. We own a 5th wheel RV and took a lot of food with us. When we had Hurricane Rita back in 2005, we learned a lot from it and that is where the RV comes in. Great investment. I could write a book here Linda. LOL.

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    • September 28, 2020 at 10:18 am
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      Hi Judy, you are the right person to write a book or tell me and I will quote you. Those of us who just saw those hurricanes on TV, it’s just not the same. I interviewed someone who I watched grow up that had to evacuate Hurricane Katrina. He was going to school at Tulane. His parents are our best friends and I was so scared waiting to see if he was able to get out of there with his family. Life is precious, and being ready to evacuate is critical. Stay safe, Linda

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  • September 28, 2020 at 9:09 am
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    You all realize our grandparents hadn’t heard of air conditioning… as well as hundreds of generations before them. 90 degrees is t hot if you live in the South.

    Next time, give it a try. You missed a great opportunity to live off the grid.

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    • September 28, 2020 at 10:25 am
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      Hi Mary, great reminder. I didn’t have any air conditioning until I was married about ten years or so. The humidity is the worst for me. Stay safe, Linda

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    • September 28, 2020 at 11:18 am
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      I live in Southeast Texas and it is hot. Yes our ancestors did not have air conditioners but we are living in a different age and being spoiled to air conditioning is rough.

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  • September 28, 2020 at 9:52 am
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    I think the thing I worry about the most is power outage/failure during the winter. I am well stocked with food and hygiene items but during the winter, I would have no heat at all. One of your posts a while back suggested (strongly) that we stock up on blankets and quilts. I have lots of them! And for a single person (as my daughter will attest) I have enough to bury myself many times over!! I don’t think I will freeze but I won’t be really comfortable either.

    I recall a trip my daughter and I took 25 years ago during the winter. We took the bus to visit my father over Christmas. The weather was so bad that we were not sure we would make it home at all! Well, we did but what we found was that there had been a terrible ice storm causing a major power outage. The power was out for 2 1/2 weeks! Fortunately, I had a number of kerosene lamps (antiques) and had kerosene for them. We cracked our kitchen window and spent a lot of time at the kitchen table – reading, coloring, and eating. My daughter was 10 at the time and she thought it was great!! As for cooking, I did have a camp stove that we used on the porch to heat soup but for the most part we ate sandwiches. Because of the kerosene lamps in the kitchen, we stayed relatively warm. Our kitchen was sort of closed off and those lamps put out enough heat to keep us, if not toasty warm, at least not freezing as many of our neighbors were.

    What I learned about myself is that I am pretty self-reliant and prepared for most things that might happen. If I know about a storm coming in, I fill the bath tub and washer; make sure that I have plenty of water and fuel for my camp stove; keep canned soups and other canned foods that can be eaten out of the can or heated quickly and easily on my camp stove. BUT, this is temporary. If we have a true grid down situation where the power is out for more than a couple of weeks, I may have some difficulties: staying warm being the most prominent but I will dress in layers, bundle up in blankets with a good book after I make my coffee or tea and just relax for however long I need to!!

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    • September 28, 2020 at 10:29 am
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      Hi Leanne, you are so experienced in survival I know you can figure out what to do. I love it! Ice storms are the worst. My biggest fear is the total power grid attack. I wish people would read “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel. It’s not fiction, it’s the real deal. Stay safe, Linda

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      • September 28, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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        Lights Out a fantastic book. You got me started on prepping Linda, that book really got me prepared. After that read One Second After and after that the series 299 Days, a 10 book series. I read them several years ago and now I tell my husband, oh crap, it’s happening, just like 299 Days.

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        • September 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm
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          Hi Melissa, oh I love hearing this! I got bored with One Second After, I’m not keen on fantasy type books. They could have written one page on what the whole book was about, but that’s just me. Please tell me about the series 299 Days. Did you read “5 Days at Memorial”? True stories about Hurricane Katrina. It’s an eye-opener. Thanks for the tip on the 299 Days. I will see how it looks! Linda

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          • September 29, 2020 at 8:21 am
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            I agree about One Second AFter, I didn’t finish it. I read Five Days At Memorial. Fantastic book about courage under pressure. 299 Days is a book about what would happen if our government collapsed. Very good book and I feel very realistic about what would happen. I just got Pandemic, written in 201, about a pandemic that is unleashed in various parts of the world, fictional. I’ll let you know how it goes, long read 700 pages.

          • September 29, 2020 at 8:31 am
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            Hi Melissa, thank you, I want to know about the Pandemic one. I will order the 299 Days books right now, thanks for the heads up. Linda

    • September 29, 2020 at 7:09 am
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      I’m in a similar situation with no fireplace or wood stove for heat, but plenty of wool blankets, comforters, etc. as our first line of defense. But for the worst case days I also have a big buddy propane heater that I can use with our 20 pound propane tanks. Hopefully it never comes to that, but in a long term grid down scenario it’s nice to have it just in case….

      Reply
  • September 28, 2020 at 10:58 am
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    Don’t forget to have matches (and/or various lighters). You’ll need them for lighting most stoves during a power outage–as well as any lamps or candles, or other fires for heating or cooking.

    Having a few good insulated containers (Thermoses of various sizes, as well as “coolers”) is a good idea. You can make hot food or drinks and put them in those containers to stay at least warm, so you needn’t keep them over a heat source. Or the reverse, in hot weather. Having something to warm you up without immediately heating it can be such a luxury!

    And I agree, our ancestors *had* to manage without AC and with far less heat. It’s a good idea to learn to set the AC (if you have it–we still don’t) to a higher temp, and the heat to a lower temp, than you *think* you need. (I.e., you don’t need a sweater with the AC, and you should be wearing longies even when the heat is on!) You’ll mind it less when you have to do without–and you’ll save electricity or other fuel!

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    • September 28, 2020 at 11:30 am
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      HI Rhonda, great comment! I have lived in homes that really didn’t need air conditioning. Living here in the desert is a bit more of a challenge. That’s why I was excited to see that for 48 hours we could get by at 80 degrees with the temps being around 110 degrees outside. It was a great test for anyway. I need to go add matches, thank you.Stay safe, Linda

      Reply
  • September 28, 2020 at 11:30 am
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    Linda, we store all or most of our batteries, extra lightbulbs, radios, walkie-talkies, etc., in our homemade faraday cage. It’s a new large metal trashcan lined with cardboard inside. We keep it in a closet under our staircase for easy access. If I were smart, I’d put our cell phones, computers, and iPads in every night, too. You’d be surprised how much this can will hold.

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    • September 28, 2020 at 11:33 am
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      Hi Beth, oh that’s a great idea, the batteries! Yay! Now we’re talking! I have heard about the large metal trashcan, a great reminder. Thank you!! Linda

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  • September 28, 2020 at 4:08 pm
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    Heating: A nice fireplace or wood burning stove is nice. And remember to clean the Flue if used a lot.
    Story: We had a fireplace and imagine my dismay when a Firetruck come to my house. Seems my 4 year old was burning paper in the alley and caught the neighbors fence on fire.
    Sooo. I channeled his inner firebug .. taught him how to light the fireplace and made it his official duty. No more Firetrucks!!! YEAH !!

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    • September 28, 2020 at 5:53 pm
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      Hi Mary, oh my gosh, this is so funny, not funny!! You know what I mean!! I’m so glad he is now your fireplace starter!! Wow, glad only the fence got burned. Thanks for the reminder to keep our flues cleaned. Linda

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  • September 28, 2020 at 5:35 pm
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    There are propane heaters that might work for those not able to have fireplace or woodstove. We have 2 & have used them to keep my tent warm back when I attended dogshows as a vendor in winter months. We’ve also used them in the house when there was a problem with the furnace when we first bought this house. We kept a window cracked open as well as kept the propane heater away from galloping canines & any upholstered chairs or carpeting.

    There are also terra cotta heaters that use candles to generate heat. Lots of instructional articles online!

    I’m intrigued by the concept. 2 terra cotta planter pots & a terra cotta planter bottom! They look simple to make & materials are pretty inexpensive. Could even warm food in a can or small pot on a terra cotta heater. Or set a rock near the terra cotta heater to warm up & then put the rock into a sleeping bag to take the chill out.

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    • September 28, 2020 at 5:57 pm
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      Hi BDN, I have never tried propane heaters, I read people use them all the time. I saw those terra cotta planters somewhere. I don’t want to store them so I didn’t go that route. But I also live in the desert so it doesn’t get really cold very many days of the year. One year it was bad, like really cold, and people had frozen pipes. We knew what to do, just open cabinets that are on outside walls or let the faucets drip a little. Great tips, Linda

      Reply

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