Powerless

Yesterday in India, 600+ million people experienced a power outage in an unprecedented “grid down” nightmare scenario come true. The outage left people in the dark, halted public transportation systems, endangered hospital care, and plunged a vast area of India’s nation into a chaotic and frightening place to be.

In the U.S., engineers and energy experts have long published articles describing our own infrastructure woes and weaknesses and indicate the possibility of a “grid down” scenario to happen in our own backyards. That is scary! Scarier still is the fact that most Americans live with only 2-3 days of food in the refrigerator, half a tank of gas in the car, and not even a fresh set of batteries in their flashlight.

I am not someone who worries about things I cannot change nor do I obsess about catastrophes that have not and may not ever happen. However, as Ben Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure” and so I choose to be safe, rather than sorry.

In the coming week I am putting together a “survival kit” for my own home so that in the event of a natural disaster and/or power outage caused by heavy rains, winds, or a “grid down” scenario we are prepared to sustain ourselves for an extended period. Here are the items I suggest to have at hand, many of which I will be stocking up on too:

WATER, WATER, and MORE WATER!

Canned and packaged foods like require little or no warming/cooking such as:

  • Canned Organic Fruits and Veggies – I’ll purchase them for now but come fall I will can what’s left from the garden, especially the peppers and tomatoes!
  • Canned Organic BeansOrganic Kale Chips
  • Organic Rice Chips and Crackers
  • Organic Salsa
  • Organic Nut Butters

Manual Can Opener

Disposable Plates and Utensils

An alternate cooking source such like propane grill, charcoal barbeque or fire pit.

Stored fuel for your chosen energy device. This could be wood for the fire pit, propane cylinders for the gas grill, or 100 pounds of charcoal.

Cast Iron Skillet

Oil fueled, propane or battery powered lanterns that will cast a wide beam, large enough to fill a room with brightness when the sun goes down.

It’s HOT out there now but if power goes out in winter it is best to have:

  • Sleeping Bags
  • Down Comforters
  • Heavy Jackets
  • Socks
  • Someone to snuggle with and keep each other warm!

Battery operated or hand crank radio.

Solar battery charger. Very handy for charging cell phones

Books, games and playing cards. My favorite? SCRABBLE and a deck of cards.

If possible, A GENERATOR! And if you are lucky enough to have one, be sure to test it from time to time to make sure it works.

What would you add to this list?

To read more about India’s recent outages go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/india-power-outage_n_1722356.html.