Welcome to the third week of National Preparedness Month here at Simple Family Preparedness! Each week this month, I I’ve done (or will do something (and challenging you to do something) that I hope will help both you and I become just a bit better prepared. You can find a list of what we’ve done / will do each week here: Welcome to National Preparedness Month!
I do not claim in any way to be an expert on power outages! In fact, in my adult life, I’ve only been without electricity once. It was a widespread outage (most of Southern California) and to be honest, it scared me a bit when I realized how truly unprepared I was. My first thought when the power went out was “Oh, we’ll just eat out for dinner.” Well, like I said it was widespread, so that wouldn’t have worked b/c all the restaurants had no power as well. Luckily, we did have quite a bit of food stored, but I had friends who tried to take a trip to the grocery store to get food and they couldn’t use their credit cards. They had no cash, so they left without food.
Luckily, that outage only lasted for about half a day. I didn’t lose anything in my freezer. We used our camp stove to cook (our range was electric at the time), and we had plenty of candles to get us through a few hours. But it did get me thinking. I made a few changes at that time (like storing more flashlights and batteries and keeping all our “power out” supplies together), but nothing huge.
But lately, I’ve wanted to improve even more in this area. In our society, most of us rely very heavily on electricity. We simply expect that it will be there each day. I know I do!
Yet, in reality it is highly likely that most of us will face at least a short term (1 day or less) power outage in our lifetimes. Many of us will experience something much longer. Sadly, I believe that most of us have no real idea of what we’d do without power. It is simply something we’ve never given a lot of thought to. I’d like to change that in my own home, and hopefully some of yours as well!
I will be turning off the electricity in my home for two days this week. I know that will not be exactly the same as a wide scale power outage, but I will pretend that no one in the city has power either.
For those 48 hours, I will not use anything that requires electricity except those things I can power with a small generator that I have (such as cell phones, my laptop etc).
I also will not use my gas range. Technically, this could be used (lighted manually) in a power outage, but I want to be prepared for both a power / gas outage. Plus, I’m assuming that many of you have electric ranges / stoves / ovens and I’d like this experiment to apply to as many people as possible.
One important note: I will not turn off the power to my large freezer in the garage. I have a lot of food in there and do not want to lose it for the sake of an experiment. (-: However, fyi, in a real power outage, I do have a plan:
I would move most of the food in my indoor fridge / freezer to the outdoor one. I would get that outdoor freezer as packed as I could. The only food I would leave out would be what I needed for the next 3 days. I would move that 3 days of food to a great cooler that we have.
I also have ten 1/2 gallon containers of frozen water in that outdoor freezer. I would leave eight in there and move the other two to the cooler. The cooler would stay in our cold storage in our basement. After three days, I would open the freezer again and remove just what I needed for the next three days. I would continue this until either the food was bad or the power was back on.
I would love to have as many of you as possible join me! I’m hoping to learn a few things (or a lot like I did with my living without running water experiment) and become better prepared for a power outage. Plus, I’m excited to practice my outdoor cooking skills! (they need some work!)
So, pick two days this week and shut off all or most of the electricity to your home. Pretend as if you are living in a wide scale power outage.
I will be posting about my experience on Saturday. I’d love to have you come comment and let me know about your experience as well. If you are a blogger, feel free to leave a link to a post about your experience. The more the merrier as we all learn from each other!
Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.