Most of the times we zip through life without paying attention to the many little details that make life easy. Then all of a sudden, one of those little details comes up missing and our world comes to a standstill because we cannot function without that little detail. Take electricity for one. It’s always there, but do we pay attention to it? Not usually. We get up in the morning, and turn the light in the bedroom on, and the little alarm clock that wakes us up runs on electricity. Then we make breakfast and brew the morning coffee, and turn the light in the kitchen on. We have an electric coffee maker, a toaster, microwave oven, electric range and an electric refrigerator to keep our foods cold.

Then we scuff off to the bathroom to take a shower. Again we turn the lights on, and the hot water that we enjoy comes from an electric water heater. And then most of the men in urban land whip out the electric shaver and shave our face. And the day continues on like that. We flip on one electrical switch after another. All day long, every day of the year, year after year, at least for most of us, anyways. There are a few brave and adventurous souls who have taken the big step of getting off of the grid, and that same electricity becomes less of a need, and less important to the daily routine.

But for the rest of us, we trudge along flipping those switches as if it were nothing. Until one day we get up in the morning, flip the lights on, and the room remains dark. Not only that, but the room is cold. And you cannot make your breakfast and coffee, nor have that piping hot shower. Your first instinct is to check the breakers and make sure something hasn’t shorted out, but everything seems ok. Looking out the window you see that the street lights are out, and so aren’t the other homes on your street. The grid is down. There is no electricity for anyone in your neighborhood. How many others have no power? You scramble around in the dark trying to find a flashlight, fervently hoping the kids didn’t play with it and wear out the batteries. Once found you then search for an old beat up pocket radio so you can get some news.

If the radio works and you get some news, you feel comforted because there are other humans outside your castle walls taking care of the problem. But what happens if you cannot get any news from the radio? The world as you know it is dark and cold. There are no lights, no heat, and no contact with the outside world. No television and no radio. So, you get dressed and make what little meal you can without having to cook it, and trudge out to the car. Ahhhh, the car starts. You clean off the windshield and turn on the radio. Nothing but dead air, so you fly through the stations to find one that is broadcasting. At last you catch an out of town news report that pretty much kills your day. The massive snowstorm has turned to rain, freezing tree and limb alike, sending both down on top of the electrical infrastructure plunging hundreds of thousands of people into the same darkness you have awoken to.

Welcome to surviving off the grid! Surviving off the grid can be a treat, or it can be a nightmare. This is why we need to develop our emergency preparedness plans now, and learn to adapt to different situations so that we can in fact survive comfortably under stressful times. The most common way for us to get around a loss of grid based power is to fire up a generator, and continue on with our regular routine, except for having to fill up the genset with fuel all too frequently. But this doesn’t get you off the grid lifestyle, it just perpetuates it.

The smart preparedness planner doesn’t rely on an external source to fulfill his or her needs in an emergency setting. They will already have an alternative way of life in the works and ready to go. Alternative cooking, heating and lighting equipment and supplies will be at the ready, and raring to go. Battery and wind-up flashlights will be all over the house, or at least in every bedroom and the kitchen. A camp stove of some sort with plenty of fuel may be waiting in a convenient closet. An emergency radio will be sitting in the kitchen or living room, fully charged and waiting to be turned on.

A kerosene heater, or possibly propane will also be handy, and filled for when the need arises to keep everyone warm and cozy. Kerosene or oil lamps are also something that may be at hand. Another handy item would be a led lamp or lamps to light up the night and keep the boogey man at bay.

The point is, if you are prepared, then there really is no problem when you awake to a home with no power. It may be a minor inconvenience, but there should be no need to go off the deep end and panic over it. Wake up, make your breakfast, then get cleaned up and if the roads are passable then you can go to work, and hopefully get there on time. Think of the chore of becoming prepared to do without as simply getting ready for an extended camping trip, if you will. Many of the things we do while camping are the same things we would do in an emergency without any power, and the general infrastructure down and in disrepair.

Get your gear in order, fill up your fuel tanks, and load up on water and food. Right now most of the nation is in flood frenzy, but very soon hurricane and tornado season will be upon us and that is definitely not the time to prepare. The biggest threat we face in general terms is the loss of the electrical grid that supplies millions of people with electricity. Make certain as you make your plans that you include the loss of the grid in mind, and plan around it.

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