Surviving Long Term Without Electricity
By: Tom Chatham
We all like to think that even if something catastrophic happens we will still have at least some access to electricity to run some of our most critical items. It is in our nature to be optimistic when it comes to our well being. Unfortunately the universe has no limit to the ways it can harm us. Whether through natural or manmade occurrences, we are subject to crisis at any time.
It is this potential for hardship that we are required as thinking persons to take due diligence and insure we can overcome potential events at least to some degree. Preparedness allows us to exert a certain amount of control over what happens to us.
It does not matter if it is a hurricane, earthquake, CME or war. How well we cope with the event is entirely up to us. When the worst of events happen we are forced back onto our own resources until things stabilize and resupply of basic needs is restored. In some cases it could be weeks or even years before this stabilization happens and distribution systems are reestablished. This will depend on the type of event and its damaging effects.
When the worst happens and society as a whole is stripped of its modern conveniences, only those that can cope with the new reality will likely survive. This means knowing how to use the ways of past generations to get by from day to day. Survival will depend on how prepared you are to revert to these older techniques to fulfill logistical needs. Here are some of the major items you will need to deal with when the worst happens.
Water sources and pumping –
Finding and retrieving clean water is a critical need when services are cut off for extended durations. Knowing where to go locally to find clean water and having a way to collect it and carry it home become life saving measures. Having the means to filter water or knowing how to build devices to do so becomes priceless knowledge.
Growing food –
Having food stores is essential to staying alive following an event until distribution and production systems are working again. Storable food gives you the time to find new sources of food or to begin growing your own food. The ability to grow your own food provides you with a sustainable source of food for indefinite periods of time. Extra food production also gives you a product to trade with.
Storing food –
Once you have food you must have a way to store it until you use it. Different foods have different storage requirements and shelf life. You may need several types of storage to satisfy all of your needs. Root cellars, dehydration, canning and salting are some of the most popular methods that do not require electricity to maintain food supplies.
Providing heat and light –
Providing heat and light without electricity will require primitive methods to some extent. Wood stoves for heating and cooking are necessities over long periods of time. Some stoves with glass doors will even provide some light. Oil lamps and candles are the most basic types of home lighting. In desperate situations it is possible to make additional candles and produce liquids to burn in lamps.
When modern types of transportation no longer work you must cultivate older systems to fulfill your needs. Bicycles, horses, boats and walking will be the fallback systems most will use when modern systems fail.
Without electricity to send and receive signals from afar, older more local systems will be required. Bike or horse messengers will become standard again. For more technical minded people like ham radio operators, Morse code can still be utilized with the use of signal mirrors or signal lamps. Message boards at central locations will be useful for dispersion of information to local populations.
Poor sanitation has the ability to kill more people than anything else on Earth. We see it all the time following major disasters. Whatever your living situation is now, it could drastically change within minutes. Understanding proper sanitation methods such as how to build an outhouse in your yard can mean the difference between life and death. You need to know how you will dispose of waste safely if your current system stops working. This is especially true if you live in a city where your options may be limited.
In the old days before telephones, the sheriff was a long ride away. Any imminent threats had to be dealt with by you. That can happen again and does following some disasters. Being able to keep your surroundings safe following some event will allow you to start the rebuilding process. Lack of a safe area makes survival much harder especially long term.
Long ago when a person got sick they either sent for the doctor or carried the sick person to him. This usually required actual horse power in either case meaning it was slow. When this happens today we have the advantage of having modern medicines and equipment to keep people alive when they would have likely died in the past. Many of these modern techniques and medicines can be maintained by individuals to insure they are available to injured persons if help cannot come. Knowledge of medical procedures and organic medicines would be necessary if a long term disaster occurred.
The possibility of total loss of electrical production and electrical devices is very small but not impossible. The only way to be fully prepared for any type of event is to assume the worst case will happen and have a plan to deal with the needs of the community. It is good to have back up equipment to satisfy your needs but some natural disasters can destroy that equipment leaving you only the most basic means to work with. When that happens what you know becomes very important.
Knowing how to take care of basic needs for long durations without the aid of modern conveniences becomes more critical as the world around us becomes more automated and technologically based. Many people today cannot function when something as simple as a power outage or communication outage occurs. They have forgotten how to think for themselves and think through the most simple problems.
If the worst should happen such as an earthquake or major war, leaving you cut off from modern services, it will be up to you to work through the problems you face with the tools available to you. Help may not come for a very long time and if that happens your life will be in your hands.