Power outage preparedness

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How to survive the Final Blackout
Planned Power Outages
More blackouts are coming: are you ready?

How to survive a planned power outage...
Did you know that your local energy company may need to power-
down during wildfire season or extreme weather conditions? This
planned blackout means your power could stay down for 24 hours
or more in forced power shut off for public safety. You might find
you're out of electricity for five days or more. Are you prepared?

The utility companies are concerned about downed power lines
and sparking more wildfires, but you should be concerned about
your family's food, water and medical needs. Get ready!

Below is everything you need to know about power outages and
planned blackouts by the utility companies...

The Perils of Planned Power Outages
Power outage preparedness is among the basic tasks for a
prepper. If you should face a planned power outage, think of this
episode in your life as a dry run for an apocalypse.

Seasonal gusty winds combined with dry conditions have caused
power companies in California to cut electricity to reduce wildfire
risk because they've been sued for past damage and they want to
mitigate their financial risks. The power companies in Southern
California and Northern California cut the power to ensure that
the gusty winds don't interact with the power lines to create even
more wildfires. They care about their bottom line and not yours.

This is a practice exercise. For preppers, these planned power
outages can act as a dry run for an
Electromagnetic Pulse or a
pandemic
where the electricity is cut off and there's no end in
sight for the devastation of mass starvation. Take time to think
about your life without electricity for months on end. Without
electricity trucks are not able to distribute food and the sales
shelves will be emptied in a couple of days. Even in a temporary
planned power outage, there are considerations of safety.

When the electricity stops, here's what to expect:

#1: Your solar panels don't guarantee electricity.
Among the lessons learned in California's planned power outages:
people with solar panels did not necessarily have electricity, but
those who had generators did! PG&E and Southern California
Edison harvests the energy from the solar panels, but when the
power is shut off they don't leave you with any special reserve.
Even during a power outage the solar panels will continue to
generate energy, but if you own a solar panel you won't be able
to use that energy unless you have a battery backup system in
place.

Solar battery storage is the only way to keep the electricity that
you generate from your own solar panels, unless you're
completely off grid. Hurry, because the 30% Federal solar tax
incentive ends in 2021.

For more information:

#2: Be sure to gas up!
Planned power outages may involve fire evacuation planning.
When the power goes out the gas stations won't be able to pump
the gas you need to evacuate and the stations open may partake
in illegal price goughing. Ensure your tank is never more than half
empty.

  • Keep electric cars and hybrids fully charged. If you have
    an electric vehicle, you'll need to power up in anticipation of
    a shut down.

#3: Businesses may operate on "cash only" basis.
In the case of rolling power outages, some businesses may be
open and it's up to you to find out where to go. Keep your cell
phones charged for this valuable information and bring your cash
and flashlight.

When business are forced into darkness, some may continue to
operate to protect their business. Some will accept cash only,
which is why preppers always have a supply of small bills on hand
to get any last minute supplies. Larger grocery chainstores may
have generators on hand, but just enough to run the credit and
debit cards. The store will be in complete darkness and you will
need a flashlight, but you'll find several people wasting their
cellphones as a flashlight.

#4: Garage Doors Might Get Stuck.
Your life may depend on getting out of your home during a
firestorm and you won't be able to do it if your car is stuck in the
garage.

Does your garage door have a battery backup? Be sure everyone
in your household who is tall enough knows how to open the
garage door in an emergency safely, especially young drivers.

Learn how to open a garage door without power. You'll need to
open outside latches or locks, find the garage door emergency
release handle and pull down on the release handle. This handle
is usually red so that you can quickly identify it.

#5: Ensure you have Surge protectors.
One overlooked preparation for a power outage is to install surge
protectors. A surge protector is a basic level of protection against
a bad spike of power that could save your life. Ensure you have a
heavy duty outlet strip with a circuit breaker on your most
sensitive equipment and be sure it's plugged in when you work on
your computer. If your surge protectors are old, it's time to invest
in a new strip. You'll always need more than you think. Get extras.

With advance notice you can unplug sensitive equipment such as
computers and televisions, but having a surge protector provides
added peace of mind. Thankfully your solar panels will
automatically switch


#6: Get ice blocks and make bags of ice.
Ice supplies will dwindle quickly on the notice of a planned power
outage. As everyone is competing for the same resources in town,
you'll find that ice will disappear from the sales shelves, but hard
to find blocks of ice will be the first to disappear.

Act swiftly. The earlier you get your ice, the better it is for your
food supply and medical needs. Immediately, you can double zip-
lock bag water to create your own ice blocks.

  • Prepare your refrigeration. In anticipation of a planned
    power outage, set your refrigeration to the coldest setting in
    advance. After the power outage, keep the doors closed and
    retrieve only when necessary.

  • Get block ice: Look ahead to find local vendors who stock
    block ice. Make room in your freezer to store it. Block ice is
    handy to have in your cooler because it will last longer than
    bagged ice. A block will melt more slowly than chunked ice
    so you'll have less mess and longer lasting refrigeration.

  • Diabetics: If you or someone you love is a diabetic, make
    sure to have a diabetic plan for emergencies that includes
    diabetic emergency food and refrigeration for insulin (not
    just a plan for how to deal with hypoglycemia or diabetic
    ketoacidosis)! Diabetic medicines require refrigeration. Never
    place insulin directly on an ice pack or gel. Portable ice
    machines are available that can make a batch of ice in
    around 6-8 minutes! The portable icemaker, right can
    produce 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours with no batteries
    required. You can plug it into your car.

  • Infants. Nursing mothers who freeze their breast milk will
    need a plan on how to deal with the problem of thawing milk
    and have formula and clean bottles on hand.

#7: Water may stop working.
Ensure your family has enough water to get through a two-week
emergency. This should include enough drinking water and water
to clean pots, pots, pans and utensils. You may have to forgo
taking a bath. Plan for a gallon of water per person, per day and
store it your safe room. For family of four you'll need 28 gallons
of water for a seven day supply of water.

Pumps can go dry as water plants lose their power! Water will
work for a while, but eventually the plants won't have enough
treated water to pump to the community.

A good option for a planned outage is to get a
WaterBob. This is
a reservoir system that stores water in your bathtub for
emergencies.

#8: Remember to stop at all traffic signals
Expect traffic accidents as traffic signals shut off. During times of
shut-off, use extreme caution and stay alert while driving. Treat
all intersections and signals as a four way stop sign if the signals
are off. Also, drive slowly, especially in tunnels, which may be in
completed darkness.

#9: Expect school closures.
There may be day care and school closures in response to power
outages, which can be distressing for parents. Be prepared to pick
up your kids or have a plan if school is dismissed because of a
power outage.

Prepare for other types of closures, such as youth groups who
have regular meetings at schools and churches.

#10: Round up a seven-day supply of food.
In addition to fresh food you may be able to get at the grocery
stores. Gather from your pantry a supply of boxed and canned
shelf-stable and ready to eat foods along.

It's always handy to have
bucket of Mountain House or other
freeze dried food. Pilot crackers with peanut butter is another
good prep to store. You may not be able to cook when you're
hungry, so pack
food bars and ration bars.

#11: Indoor emergency cooking.
One of the primary concerns of power outage preparedness is
dealing with the cooking. Humans instinctively want a warm meal.
As well, cooking your food is a way to ensure its safety.

Even when the grid is down and it's raining, snowing or whatever
mother nature throws your way, you can cook indoors if you're a
clever prepper. Yes, you can cook indoors without electricity!
Below are your
indoor emergency cooking options.

#12: Get Indoor Emergency Heat
Power outages happen,  so be ready with emergency heat in
winter and ways to cool yourself in the summer months.

  • Consider a propane space heater. Ordinarily propane is not
    good for inside use, but Mr. Heater is the exception. This
    indoor-safe portable and reliant radiant heater has been
    approved for indoor/outdoor use for spaces up to 225 square
    feet. It's clean-burning, nearly 100% efficient. It connects to
    a propane tank (event the small and convenient camping
    ones). This propane heater connects directly to a 1 lb.
    cylander and is the perfect solution for heating enclosed
    spaces like large tents up to 200 square feet.

#13: Watch for downed power lines.
With high winds come power outages. It's important to remember
that power lines overhead can carry more than 500,000 volts and
could kill you. Get away, and then call 9-1-1.

Assume that the downed power line is energized because even if
you don't see a spark and don't hear a hum. Don't touch anything
that's touching the line, such as a tree, a fence or even a car
because the volt could transfer then to you. Be especially alert to
water near the downed line. The only thing safe to do is back
away.

  • Downed line while you're on foot? As a pedestrian, be sure
    to shuffle away with your feet closed together on the ground.
    Do the moonwalk. Voltage will decrease as you move away
    from the downed line. Your instinct might be to run, but in
    so doing you could inadvertently be conducting electricity
    from one leg to another!

  • Stay in your vehicle. Stay in your car until rescue workers
    say it's safe. If it's time to get out of the vehicle because of
    a fire or other danger: jump to a dry area with your feet
    together and then shuffle away! Don't touch the vehicle and
    the ground at the same time to avoid shock. That's why you
    jump from the car.

#14: Consider a generator.
A generator may be necessary to power life-saving equipment like
a C-Pap machine or other life support device. Be sure to fully
discuss your medical device with health practitioner. Also, a
generator is important for people who must store their
medications in the refrigerator.

While a generator is commonplace on the East coast, many in the
West Coast don't have this life-saving piece of equipment. A
generator will also help you if you rely on a sump pump. A
generator can help you because food spoils quickly.

When the power fails, people in cold regions turn to their
generators. Be sure to keep generators 20-feet away from
openings to your home. Direct the smelly and harmful exhaust
pointed away from your home. Keep the generator dry. Don't
operate it in rainy, wet weather conditions, and don't operate it
standing water!

#15: Get extra cellphone chargers.
A cell-phone car charger is always a good idea as is a solar
powered battery bank. The
solar charger power bank, pictured
immediate right in red has the capacity to charge your phone
about 5 times and a tablet about 3 times. It's well worth the
price, which is around $30.

#16: New gun and Ham Radio laws may go into effect.
California's governor, Gavin Newsom passed several new wildfire
laws designed to increase oversight on the Public Safety Power
Shutoffs from his perspective. Preppers in California are feeling
infringed on their rights for HAM radio operation and gun
ownership:

  • HAM Radio laws. Domesticpreparedness.com describes Ham
    radio as the original electronic social media. Licensed
    amateur radio operators voluntarily register with their local
    Amateur Radio Emergency Service leadership for
    communications duty in the public service when disaster
    strikes. This means that only ham radio operators are
    authorized to transmit during declared emergencies. That is
    until the law changes in your state. California law, for
    example, recently declared that HAM operators no longer
    provided a benefit to the state. They advised HAM Radio
    Repeater operators to remove their equipment from
    mountain locations or pay huge fees.

  • Power outages may affect your 2nd amendment rights! It
    seems California Governor Gavin Newsom signed some new
    gun seizure laws amid curfews and power outages. Who
    knows what laws may go into effect for future power
    outages. Did you know that more people die of heart disease
    in California than fire arm deaths, which were 3,184
    compared to 62,797 heart disease deaths?

#17: Martial Law and curfews may go into effect.
How will you survive losing your rights? Martial law could set in if
there is a significant disruption to the food supply massive
looting happens. As evacuations happen and survivors merge into
other communities, how will the reaction be?

As a community is in transition of a disaster the government may
set
Martial law into action, including a suspension of many of
your rights. Martial law goes into effect when often as a response
to an emergency. It could be an invasion or major disaster or
even a planned emergency power outage.

Even if you're not a prepper, it's important to have an emergency
plan for when the energy company forces a power shutoff.

What can you expect in a planned power outage?
Entire communities may plunge into forced darkness on the fear
that high winds could bring down wires and start wildfires. When
transmission wires hit dry brush and vegetation flames may ignite
placing entire communities in peril of wildfires. This means you
must prepare for a situation where the energy company will force
a power shut off and take care of your food, water and medical
needs, but you also need to be ready to escape a wildfire!

The power grid has vulnerabilities related to weather conditions,
including gusty winds and storm events. These wet and windy
weather-related forces may damage power lines. Before the
power company threatens a shut off, there are some things you
can do to prepare.

There are any number of reasons for power outages:
  • Blown transformers
  • Heat wave
  • Ice storm
  • Power surge
  • Strong winds
  • Wildfires are just one of the many reasons!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Think of a planned power outage as preparation for an
ElectroMagnetic Pulse
, where society could be forced off the grid
forever. The forced shutoff will have you thinking like a prepper,
not only in terms of how to handle a power outage, but also in
terms of mitigating fire risks on your property. As preppers we
hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

In prepping you'll hear about the "rule of three":
  1. Air: You can't live more than three minutes without air.
    Ensure you have respirators for fires and pandemics, NBC gas
    masks for nuclear, biological, and chemical threats
  2. Water: You can't live more than three days without water.
    Make sure your family has a minimum water supply to last
    two weeks and beyond (we recommend three months of
    water and water filtration methods, such as a Big Berkey
    pictured immediate right).
  3. Food: You can't live more than three weeks without food. Be
    sure you know the 37 foods to survive crisis. Then take care
    of your long-term food storage needs.

  • How will you survive without electricity in terms of food,
    water, and medical needs? You may think you're prepared,
    but you'd be surprised how your partner uses all the fuel for
    camping or someone forgets to keep the gas tanks full. You
    may find the kids won't eat some kinds of freeze dried foods,
    but will really like others. How will your preparedness plans
    fall apart in this "dry run" for the real deal apocalypse? Take
    notes and stock up on the supplies you need to give your
    family comfort.
nine reasons to love a Big Berkey
How chewing gum can help you survive
Katadyn is the water filter trusted by the U.S. Military
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50 survival tools you forgot to buy
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Ten reasons to stock up on pilot crackers
Prepper's TO DO list
Condiments to stockpile for survival
Best Emergency Survival Food Bars
How to clean without running water
Prepper Toilets
Mr Heater
What to do when the power fails
Portable ice Maker
Cord for portable refrigerator
Furman Power Conditioner
30-days food Storage
Planned power Outages
Bath tub reservoir for hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
Above, six items to have for long term power outages.

Will you be a victim of a planned blackout?
The utility companies are concerned about downed power lines and
sparking more wildfires, but you should be concerned about your
family's food, water and medical needs. Get ready!

Emergency preparedness is nothing more than thinking in advance
about what you'd do in a natural or man made disaster. Preparing
for inclement weather, food and water shortages can save your life.

Happy endings...
A forced shutoff will have you thinking like a prepper (and we hope
it does). Welcome new preppers!
Get started prepping today.

  • Be sure to help keep your community fire safe by creating 100-
    feet of defensible space around your home and clearing dead
    or dying pants.

  • Hire tree trimmers or alert the utility company if you see power
    lines touching trees on your property.

  • Get ready for the power outages with a surge protectors, a
    generator, flashlights, solar lights, food and water and a
    portable heater.

Dead or dying trees and overhanging limbs and branch above the
power lines present the most risk and you can alert the power
company to these problems. You can also do your part by removing
bark, pine cones, pine needles, and twigs on the ground as these
are also risk factors for fires.

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