Category Archives: Energy

When Things Go Dark

Whether the power is off for a short time, or quite a bit longer, it is important to think now about how to handle your basic needs.

All emergency kits should have a good quality flashlight, and spare batteries. A battery powered radio will be good to keep tabs on weather or news, have spare batteries for the radio as well. A small solar panel can be used to charge rechargeable batteries for long outages. If it is possible for you to get a small generator and store gas, do it, but remember that you cannot store enough gas for long outages.

Solar yard lights can also be used for emergency lighting. I have found a very basic solar light at the big box store for $2.00. Alone it will not provide much more light other than keeping you from stubbing your toe on furniture, so having a few is good. Even a few of them will not allow you enough light for specific tasks, but it will definitely beat being in the dark. Place them outside during the day, and bring them inside at night. I have modified a few that I have, by adding a micro switch to not allow them to run continuously and preserve the charge.

Candles should also be kept available in your supplies, along with matches or a lighter. Tea light candles are another good source for light. They are small, inexpensive, come many to a pack and can last for 2-3 hours.

By using a small 150W inverter that plugs into your cars cigarette lighter, and an extension cord, you can power small devices and lighting inside your home. Purchase a LED light bulb (which draws only 3-7 Watts), put in in a table lamp, plug it into your extension cord to provide adequate lighting for most needs. It is one of the best tips for the short term power failures I can think of, and the cost is minimal.

Cooking can be done outside on the grill (assuming you have a charcoal or gas stove, make sure you store extra fuel), and when your supplies run out, be prepared to start a fire for cooking.

Heating and cooling is a very difficult task to handle without a large generator, and is much longer subject for this post. I have some basic ideas for my needs including a small AC unit, fans for cooling, and a wood burning stove for the colder months. Please think about things you can do now to keep your family comfortable.

Please comment on any ideas you have that will help us all provide for our energy needs when things go dark.

Sensible Prepper

The 5 C’s of Survival

There are 5 things you should keep with you as either EDC (every day carry) or in you vehicle to survive most short-lived emergency situations. These items will greatly improve your chances of being found alive if you are lost in the wilderness, or get are forced by weather to stay where you are during a hike or hunting trip. It is important to let someone know where you are going, and when you should be back, so they can alert authorities that something may have happened.

1. Cutting – Simply a knife, preferably not a small keychain knife from a souvenir shop during your last vacation. I would suggest a folding knife with a blade at least 3 inches long. Learn how to properly sharpen your knife, and keep it sharp all the time. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife. This tool is helpful to make a spear, cut small branches for firewood, cleaning game to eat, and cutting the next item in our list – Cordage.

2. Cordage – Keep a 30 foot hank of paracord, or tarred twine, to help build a shelter or help make a snare to catch game to eat. Paracord has smaller strands inside the casing that can pulled out if smaller cordage is needed, and the casing is still usable for many tasks.

3. Container – Have a small metal container for heating found water to a boil. Boiled water will be much safer to drink, as any bacteria will be killed, keeping you from being sick, and prevent getting dehydrated from diarrhea or vomiting.

4. Cover – You can use a smaller tarp, poncho, or space blanket to provide a layer of protection from rain or cold. A makeshift tent can be made from a tarp, and use the cordage to tie it down. Being dry in the rain can prevent hypothermia overnight when it is cold out.

5. Combustion – Don’t think too hard on this one, make it easy on your self and have a couple of regular BIC lighters. I am sure that there are quality lighters like a Zippo, I have used them, but it seems like the fluid evaporates before I get to use it for something meaningful. It is also a good idea to have some redundancy with the ability to make a fire and keep a fire steel, steel wool and a 9-volt battery, etc. If you do not think you can start a fire, PRACTICE, remember you need some tinder (something dry that will catch fire easily), Kindling (lots of small twigs to bridge the gap between tinder and the fuel) and then use your fuel (sticks thicker than your thumb, or other wood that keep the fire going). I’m sure there are people that cannot make a fire using a lighter unless they have a firedog.

These 5 C’s could make an unexpected overnight wilderness emergency a little more comfortable, they could also save your life.