Friday, March 30, 2018


Surviving a prolonged power outage

By Trey Rusk

Running Code 3
March 28, 2018

In the last couple of days two major metropolitan areas, Atlanta and Baltimore have been hit with cyber attacks. These attacks disabled vital systems used including a 911 system and other city services. The systems are back up and running. But what if it had been a section of our nations power grid or your city's water supply?

In 2008, our area was devastated by Hurricane Ike. We were without power for a few days. We took care of several people in our home during this time. We did the same thing after Hurricane Harvey last year.

On the second day after Hurricane, Ike I was cooking just outside the garage door on a propane grill. A neighbor that I didn't know very well walked up and asked where I was getting the fuel to run my generator. I told him I had fuel stored for power outages. Then he started talking about how he had been in Vietnam and how neighbors would start stealing from each other if the power remained off very much longer. It was a little weird. I turned to pick something up to where he could see I was wearing a Glock. Once he saw it he said, "Oh. I see your really prepared" I replied, "yes." He waived goodbye and walked away.

I tell you this story because I firmly believe that each household should be prepared to live off the grid for at least thirty days. People need to stock up on certain items, like storable food and water. They also need a power source and fuel to run it.

Here are a few things that I do in case of a prolonged power outage.

The older 5000 watt generators usually burn about a gallon of fuel an hour and have a 5 gallon tank. I had one and sold it.

I can get better fuel economy with an power inverter on a 4 cylinder car and it's not as loud. I power a small chest freezer, refrigerator and a few LED lights where needed in the house. Always use a chest freezer because the cold air will not empty when you open it. You do not need to run the inverter all the time. Run it just enough to keep your perishable food cold/frozen.

Metal 5 gallon gas cans and a good funnel is what I use. The newer red plastic gas cans all come with some sort of safety nozzle that I find difficult to use.

Solar powered lights have also come a long way in the last few years with LED bulbs. I caution folks not to draw attention to their property with a lot of outside lighting during a power outage.

I use a propane stove and as back up a white gasoline stove (Coleman) to cook and boil water.

Stored food should be kept indoors in a old style metal trash can. Never store food in a plastic storage container because vermin can eat through the plastic. MRE's are good but expensive. I buy small non refrigerated dinners from Hormel. Lots of rice and beans should be kept as well. You don't have to be fancy, just fed.

In addition to filling my bath tubs before a storm, I keep 220 gallons of fresh semi filtered water. It is rain water run off from my roof that goes through a mesh filter. I watch the weather and when I see rain forecast, I deplete the storage and it refills automatically when it rains. The storage container must be black so that algae cannot grow. You also need a sturdy steel bucket to transport water. If I find a good deal on bottled water for say $2 a case then I will buy 10 cases and keep it for one year. We then drink it and wait for another sale.

A good first aid kit is essential. My first aid kit is self made. It includes plenty of antibiotics that I buy from Mexico, gauze, tape, alcohol, sewing kit, forceps and a tourniquet.

I only use LED flashlights and I buy batteries when they are on sale. In my experience LED flashlights last a lot longer.

Samuel Colt made all men equal. That is true to a point. I don't care if you like guns or are vehemently opposed to firearms, you need to keep one in your home. If you own a firearm, you need to be proficient in it's use. Keep it loaded and stored securely. If you feel you need it, strap it on. All it takes is one criminal to kick in your back door armed with a club, knife or gun and without a gun, you lose. Remember, when seconds count the police are usually minutes away.

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