First Five Things To Do If/When The Lights Go Out (as in SHTF)?

image: Light’s Out by David Crawford

Guest article by ‘NRP’

What First Five Things will ‘YOU’ do If/When?

Hypothetical “Lights Out” Scenario

Recommended read: Light’s Out by David Crawford

OK; let’s set up a hypothetical scenario.

You are at home or at the BOL (bug out location) and suddenly, oddly, it seems quiet. Very quiet. Too quiet. No noise around at all, except for Nature Sounds.

The ceiling fans are winding down. The TV / Radio is quiet. Even the refrigerator is noiseless.

What lights you may have had on are now dark.

What are the very first Five Things you would do? (I will list mine at the end of Article).

Assuming there was no bright flash of light and the walls did not blow apart and melt the floor.

Also assuming you had zero pre-warning such as news reporting of pandemic-warning, economic-crash, and so-on.

The reasoning for this Poll or Article is learning what others believe the first course of action would need to be.

Most of the populist seem to only listen to the “News” and the Internet to make decisions and how to react in a particular situation. OR maybe they would not even know ‘how’ to act or react ????

So, without knowing exactly what has happened, how would you determine what to do? And, in a simple order how would you “Plan” your direction?

What 5 Things To Do Next

Basically what ‘Five Things’ would you do now or next?

My list;

1st | Assessment

1. Make a quick assessment; check the Phone (does it work). Check the water faucet (is it still flowing normally). Look outside (do I see a fire or a Mushroom Cloud). Turn on a battery powered radio (does it work, is there chaos or normal stuff). Try to start the car/truck (does it start/run)? Maybe even hit the HAM radio to see if there is anyone out there that actually knows for sure what has happened.

2nd | Going / Getting Home

2. Make sure the Family, aka Blue for me, is safe and at home. If so, make explicit instructions for what they should do next. If not at home, follow the plan for getting them home NOW!

3rd | Secure Water & Self

3a. If I have determined, in my little world, that the Power is off and nada else is working, possibility an EMP, major Grid Down, or Terrorist Attack on the Grid, I would make an effort to secure every drop of ‘extra’ water that I could. Fill the Tub/s, every pan, glass, bottle, cooler, everything I could get my hands on. Water WILL be the number one item you will need ten times the amount you think you’ll need.

3b. Next I would implement ‘Gray Man House’: Make sure all light will be blocked out, or in, at night. Even a candle will look as a beacon at night when the “Lights Out” hits. Also make sure any cooking will not be noticed, aka no BBQing. Remembering neighbors are very VERY noisy and may become desperate if this goes on long.

4th | Security

4. Implement Security. Do you “carry”? Can you defend your home and family? Maybe it is time to contact others in your “Group”? Do you have extremely trusted people that you can bet your life on? Does your family know what to do if they see people walking to your home?

5th | ‘Chill’

5. Relax, the entire world may have gone straight to “Hell in a Hand Basket”. This is NOT the time to panic, to make stupid decisions, to go ‘to the store’ for a few extra supplies. So my number 5 would be to fix a small Mint Julip, find my lookout spot, and contemplate the next few days/weeks/months and do mental exercises and reread that “Plan” you have worked out for this. You do have a Plan RIGHT!!!???

Thanks for reading.
Please let’s hear what your “Five First Things” would be:


Related article: About Ted Koppel’s book, LIGHTS OUT
( Light’s Out For A Nation Unprepared As CyberAttack Downs Power Grid )

THE MOST POPULAR “Light’s Out” related survival novel:
One Second After


  1. 1: Call the power company.

    2: Made sure my cats are inside.

    3: Call friends, relatives and town hall to see if they have power.

    4: Take everything outside that needs to be outside and everything inside that needs to be inside. For instance empty trash/cat box, bring in laundry if any is hanging on the line, make sure my car is in the garage and car door and garage door are locked, bring in ripe or nearly ripe fruits and vegetables from my garden, etc.

    5: Double lock all my doors.

    6: Fill up every container I can find with water.

    1. Yea, right! Make sure the cats are in so the protein will be available when you get real hungry.

    2. Last winter we had one of those OHHH crap moments. It was around 5:00 am and was -15F with a wind chill of -34F when the power went out. The day before I was thinking if someone was to fire a couple EMP’s, then would be the perfect time as most of North America was in the chill. So I,

      1. Checked my phone to see if it worked (works fine).

      2. Got out the emergency radio and put it on the local weather band (bunch of people without power in area).

      3. Hooked up the Mr. Buddy Heater to the 5 gallon tank and put in basement to fire up when it started getting too cold to try and keep the pipes from freezing. In a matter of two hours, the house went from 71 to 52F. Just as I was getting ready to fire up Mr. Buddy, the power came back on.

      1. INPrepper,
        A Wintertime major outage would be a DISASTER for many, especially as you indicated – during a real cold spell. I’ve thought that through as well, and have contingency plans for heat.

  2. Thanks NRP, a good reminder article.
    We do not have cell service , TV ,am or fm radio, but we do have a land line with a beautiful princess phone .
    My list would be close to yours. Contact my wife first. An assessment of phone , fridge, and a couple of different light circuits.
    Try calling the power company.
    We have 150+ gallons of stored water but I would still collect as much as possible.
    Check all door locks and use the dead bolts as well as the standard locks.
    Set stuff up so we could defend ourselves quickly.
    Then “chill” and try to relax a bit.

  3. Good list NRP
    DaisyK too

    Also presuming not weather related as were so many outages in recent days.

    Expand #2 to include “group”

    No solar on the well house yet, so tanked water on hand is it until manual pump is installed.

    Question on 3b – what do folks think about leaving up solar-powered motion-detector lights if power is out? Maybe just at perimeter points but not near house? OTOH Here in the bottom, around a corner, at dead-end, surrounded by forests won’t matter if half-dozen neighbors know I’m/there’s people here. They’d know anyway.

    Secure livestock out of sight. Keep dogs up front.

    Chilling for me would be praying, getting food and bedding stocked in the house for those on their way, moving propane cooker to back deck for heating water without scent of wood burning/food cooking.

    I can imagine that neighbors will gather in the road to talk as we do when something’s up. About half of us will have family coming.

    This question makes me review my preps and I don’t like the gaps I see.

    1. Quote, “what do folks think about leaving up solar-powered motion-detector lights if power is out?”

      If you’re concerned about opsec, the thing is, solar powered motion lights are so common these days that it likely would not raise too many eyebrows. Though I suppose it could.

      Solar motion lights are pretty common out in rural areas. Not so sure about urban suburban.

      I would leave mine enabled. I would rather see the perimeter if there’s movement.

      Night Vision Devices though are a major force multiplier.

    2. Anony Mee:

      “This question makes me review my preps and I don’t like the gaps I see.”

      This is exactly why I like articles like this, to try to get folks to think about their preps and readiness.
      I know I’m nowhere the place I’d like to be, but knowing this is a good place to start.

    3. Personally Anony Mee If SHTF and power is out I am going DARK. No Generator outside a sound proofed housing, No Lights showing, black plastic black out over windows, blankets hanging inside and outside doors to limit any stray light escaping.

      I know I can see lights across the valley, that’s a couple of miles through woods and clearings. Even though a lot of folks (myself included) have solar powered motions lights, the Troublesome Folks seeking stuff and help WILL GO to the Lights.

      A simple black trash bag over the solar light and your good until a month or so passes or when lots of shooting stops your call.

      I can deal with nearby folks pretty well, I know them and we will work together BUT I don’t want wandering folks to show up.

  4. I recall the NE blackout of 2003. I was at work and all the computers went dead; people could not phone our colleagues in another city as the cell phones were not operational either. We all left work early and I took the bus. I had to cross a fairly busy road with no traffic lights and the bus driver used her bus to block the intersection so that disembarked passengers could cross safely. No vehicle was stopping to let pedestrians cross. I live closer to work now and if there was no power I could walk home as it is 2.3 km each way. I have extra clothes at work for events such as this. I am in an apartment condo and our superintendent is great so I believe that some of us would do some things alone but there would be a group effort from like-minded residents who share the same values. I do not live on the ground floor because burglary risks would be greater with no power.

  5. Got a family and kids. This is my nightmare issue. Kids at school wife at work. I work from home.
    Wife is 20 miles south kids are 10 miles north…

    #1 lock down the home & Assessment in 30 minutes. Scan Ham radio for info. Then get ready to mobilize for kids extraction from school.

    1b water is a non issue I have a hand pump on the well. Would bag it under nuclear conditions to protect from fallout dust..

    #2 grab my gear and head for the kids. Hope my old truck starts I have spare protected parts to get it started if necessary. this would take an hour fingers crossed and knock on wood… Possible extraction for da wife after the kids if the truck is running.

    2b – No Truck & no running cars – jump on my bike and head for the kids. Wife has get home gear in the car. shes gonna have to hump it. Shes still young enough. ;) Boy can I only imagine what mood she would be in when she gets home. I feel sorry for anyone that tries to mess with her.

    #3 Recover and Reevaluate. Gather local Intel speak to neighbors assess security conditions in the area.

    #4 Secret Squirrel intelligence gathering, plan of action, long term strategy Plan A, B, C & D to implement as conditions permit.

    #5 Bend over put my head between my legs and kiss my own… Because we all know the best laid plans go to sh!t after first contact.

    Like I said this is currently a worst case scenario for me. Keeps me up at night.

    1. White Cracker 20 miles walking home is around 10+ hours assuming good health, good shoes and no twisted ankles etc.

      For a folding bicycle that’s less than 2 hours. Citizen bike has a Solid tire option called muffin tires, they ride great and never go flat. Glass, nails, spike strips, whatever.

      I bet you can find many ways to make a small bicycle useful after SHTF. A strong trailer springs to mind. I’ve hauled 150 pounds of stuff with mine.

      I hope Ken has a link to Amazon’s Citizen site. Good bikes. BTW I get nothing for mentioning them. They are good people with good American Customer Service.

      I’d want to get home STAT if the lights went out and radio’s/cell phones didn’t show it’s just a local power outage.

  6. Make it home

    Establish contact with family/team

    Secure perimeter

    Bring resources out of storage into work spaces

    Wait, gather intelligence, hope everyone follows the plan and pray

  7. My list would vary based on whether we were in suburbia or at BOL/mountain house at the time.
    In suburbia, it would be assess, get home (GHB and walking clothes/shoes always in vehicle), water gathering, checking on IL’s and elderly neighbors (if possible – depends on situation, and security.
    At BOL, assess, then although water is plentiful, would get all that we could in the house. From there, would depend on the situation. Home security, and neighborhood security with like-minded neighbors would be most likely next steps.
    I have not given enough thought to making either house dark-looking outside while having lights inside. And propane and kettle BBQ’s are two of several cooking methods that are available, but may be inadvisable.

    NRP, thanks for another excellent guest article. You and Ken always give me lots to think about, and show me where the holes are in my preps – thank you! 👍🤗

  8. Don’t know if I could come up with a list of “first 5 things I would do”. Guessing those five things for most would depend on where you live, and your current level of preps.

    For me, it would be implementing pre-planned protocols (to the extent possible) for food rationing, water usage and replacement, fuel management, etc. first.

    Security wouldn’t involve many changes early on. My location would make me being an early target very unlikely. Family would probably take listening/observation post duties on a rotation basis during darkness looking for any vehicle traffic on our country road, making note of who or what transportation might be up and running, if any. Watch duties would increase as outage goes on.

    After first week, maybe earlier, I would start setting my trap lines, put an emphasis on procuring wild game to supplement and stretch my food stores (wild game sources will dry up fairly quickly under dire circumstances, would be wise to get your share before it goes away)

    Begin networking with neighboring stock raisers to set up a slaughter and share schedule to stretch that source of protein in a manner that none is lost to spoilage.

    Identify early on those who are likely to be a cooperative helper, or a unhelpful hindrance (I already know, but there’s always new faces coming and going)

    I know there are some that disagree with me on this, but I will go about helping the infirm and elderly neighbors to the extent that I can. Couldn’t live with myself otherwise.

    1. I wouldn’t disagree with helping the elderly in need. as long as you do not put your family at risk. Make sure your sh!t is in order first. You also get the benefit of more eyes and local intelligence. Op-sec is key help as you can. most on insulin would not last too long anyhow. In the summer no ac or winter no heat they would expire after a short time. Comfort care is the Honorable thing to do if you are able.

  9. I see a common thread here about securing more water when we decide it’s SHTF. Some have hand pumps, that excellent planning as EMP would fry my well pump. Might be hard to fill all those extra containers after things get spicy?

    Has anybody thought about getting a 225 gallon Food Safe IBC container(or two) and filling it NOW? Around here you can get them pretty cheap makes a great base for a rain water collection system. Easy to use PVC connections to link them into your SHTF water system.

    1. That’s what I have, but those are filled by rainwater and at best would need to be topped up. Currently one is completely empty and the others about half. I don’t fill them with the hose, but our water system is gravity fed from a massive tank about a mile away. That tank is filled with pumps, yes, but then it’s gravity feed to the consumers. So the water would last until it was exhausted. Probably more than enough time to fill the tanks.

      1. Lauren, you live in a desert if I recall. Or close enough? If I was a Terrorist in addition to knocking out the electricity, I’d destroy the water tower. After all the goal is Terror and forcing the government to waste resources saving people. How massive an effort to bring in how many semi-trailers of water OR busses to ship your cities population out to somewhere else?

        Thus my concern of waiting until SHTF to fill up emergency water. Your first warning might be the water tower explosion?

        1. me2

          That’s a most important point. We can never be assured of time or anything else when an emergency arises. Always plan on the very worst. If you come out ahead, good for you. Glad to see you are well.

          On the point of time before exodus from the city, I would get in motion as soon as I, myself perceived the need. That would be my first order of business, decide whether or not to leave. You can always return to the city if you err on the side of caution.

          If I lived in the city and my plan was to leave if needed, I would have everything READY to go on very short notice. My input is worth about what it costs.

        2. If the water tower explodes it’s pretty much a short-term emergency (a month or less) and we have plenty of water for that period without the tanks. Even if the tanks were full, in any emergency I would still be filling the waterbob under the bathroom sink and filling every available container.

          Your point is taken, however. I choose to water what I can with non-chlorinated water, which means using the tanks and rainwater. There is madness to my method.

    2. I have two of those tanks sitting outside my back door, BOTH are full all the time. I also have about six cases of water in the house at any one time, and I have 6-7 of those water jugs from wally world that can be filled too.

      1. Our water began being a small trickle yesterday when we received 1.2 inches of rain in 30 minutes.
        Related? I don’t know, but my yard had 3 inches of water in it making a river to the street through my neighbor’s yard and mine.
        Poor roof design.
        You have no idea how much water you use until this type of thing happens.
        I have several tea pitchers and containers filled for convenience.
        The toilet takes forever to fill.
        Just a reminder of how spoiled I am.

        1. Oh, I have 20 (30 gallon) drums filled in the garage.
          Bought them in Lexington Ky. when they were 10 for $100.
          We made two trips and every few days, I wish we’d bought more.

    3. me2 I have 2 of them. One is outfitted with a garden hose attachment and both are up on concrete blocks so you can get a bucket under it to fill up. I’ll be posting more on my weekly on my water storage as I just refilled everything.

  10. If it’s late at night, go to sleep/back to sleep, deal with it in the morning.
    No reason to get bent over all the nothing you can do about it.

    During the day day, try to figure out what caused it through radio, phone if it’s working or take a trip into town and ask around police/post office…

  11. 1) I have a wall phone, primarily for this purpose. If the power goes out, I check the phone first. Then I check the stop light down the street.

    2) If neither of those is working, the power outage is more than just my neighborhood. Start the water running to fill up every available container, including the big tanks. Double check the gardens for anything that will need additional water.

    3) Get dinner out of the solar cooker.

  12. Good thoughts, NRP.

    1. Definitely draw water.
    2. Check phones, internet, vehicles, radio for serviceability….they maybe the key for assuming a lights out…
    3. Secure the household. I have precut window and door closures, 2x’s and brackets, plenty of screw and/or nails. Black plastic
    4. Secure/enclose livestock.
    5. Pray
    5 & 1/2. Constant arms

  13. #1 check service panel, if all is ok check neighbors situation. If theirs is out find out the cause to stay put or leave.
    #2 lights are out; employ alternative lighting.
    #3 ready up generator
    #4 take seasonal related actions; heating, cooling.
    #5 roam the neighborhood for info and to offer assistance.

  14. Well so far I have read some pretty good Ideas but I think the FIRST thing I would do is check the breakers to see if my system had shut down.
    This scenario happens a few times a year at my place so I would most likely look for the simple problem first before I started thing end of the world thoughts

  15. Good article, NRP. My list would be similar to yours. Being in the country, we wouldn’t have a noisy/nosy neighbor issue for a week or more. We went through a 4 1/2 day ‘lights out’ situation one winter when a blizzard struck. It was quiet all around, except for the distant genny (and our own). We kept our freezer and a few minor things running. We cook with propane, so we had real meals. We use a woodstove & firewood for heat (we also have a heat pump that can provide heat and A/C). We have plenty of stored water, and 1,350 gallons of water in our rain catchement system. And we melted snow on the woodstove that served us when we needed to flush a toilet (did not want to waste potable water). We took cold and quick showers….

    All of our needs were met: we were safe, secure, and sanitary, as the FEMA-mantra goes.

    If we had a grid-down EMP or nuclear problem, we would be involved in different scenarios. An EMP would mean that there would be needed outreach to neighbors. A nuclear attack would mean a hunker-down situation that would involve securing our home with plastics and good ole duct tape. Other actions would depend upon the size and location of the detonation, if that could be easily assessed.

  16. NRP
    Good article. Do you think we will have a short time “maybe 24 hours” before the shock of what just happened hits the common people? Also I agree with me2 about the bicycle, this is a force multiplier allowing one to take advantage of that first 24 hours.

    1. Left Coast;
      Excellent question;

      I believe that If/When a situation as I prescribed would take hold within hours, depending when it hit, Day or Night.

      Let’s take a few examples, such as the NY Blackout a few years back, within hours there were a lot of nasty things happening, or were reported to be. Look at “Black Fridays” and the craziness that goes on. How about when the EBT Cards went nuts, people were buying/steeling thousands of $ worth of food/goods even they knew it was wrong.

      Humans are an odd creature, we are opportunist, many think ‘If I commit a crime and not suffer the consequences than its ok’.

      So to more directly address your question; I would react or act, immediately upon realizing “something” has or I suspect something has gone awry.

      One must remember that people are dangerous, even more so when they are frightened, scared or mad.

      Most everyone says the Stores will be cleaned out within 3 days, I say 1 maybe 2 days.

      So you’re asking 24 hours, no I don’t think it will take that long, especially if it’s a major event such as an EMP or Grid Lights Out. If/When I would bet within hours is all that one would have to make and/or implement a Plan. You do have a Plan correct?

      PS; Don’t even think on getting FEMA or .gov “Help” if/when.

      If a major event happens there will not be enough peanuts around to help 320,000,000 Citizens, all alone maintain Order and prevent Ciaos.

      We literally will be on our own. Hence we Prepare as well as we can.

  17. Just my opinion,
    Keep calm and carry on!
    Of course the rest of your actions do depend on where you happen to be at that moment, but still applies.
    For us, it really would just be readjusting, if long term a lot, if short not so much but thats pretty obvious. The chickens still need feed, the garden still needs tending and everything else as well, most likely a case of wait and see for most stuff. People are stupid, they freak out over minor stuff, no power is minor, but if you have not taken basic steps toward preparedness i suppose it is a big deal.

  18. i would try to find out what happened and if nothing head out to the bug out location which is friend of mines place and wait there till we could find what happened and if and when the power was coming back on the place he has is right next to a lake so water wouldnt be a issue some of his neighbors on the other hand could be problem

    1. kevin
      Water is the source of life. That lake will be a drawing force unto itself to those that know of its location.
      Where one goes many will follow, just to save themselves. Next will come the food survival, and shelter.

  19. Good topic for discussion,
    Several mentions of ham. I’m not 100% sure, but if it was cme, then the radio should stay in faraday. Watch for “Northern Lights” Aurora Boreiallis. If I can see them at my latitude, the magnetosphere is in turmoil. Ham may not work as before or at all. The northern lights will decrease and subside, over a period of days. No one is truly sure of it’s effects. Our plan for cme is to keep the radios protected until no more northern lights. Probably wouldn’t effect cars or electronics, but I/we do not have back-ups for ham. Better to wait a day or three.

    Emp will fry electronics and automobiles, supposedly. Here again, no one knows for sure. An emp is instantaneous and should not pose further risk. Well, there could always be a second emp or a third. Just a chance we’ll have to take. I think it’s important to know the subtle differences between cme/emp. We’ll likely have a warning of cme. I routinely check Space Weather News. Either one, would be devastating.

    I don’t normally carry around home. That would change.

    Water will be an issue. I have dc deep well pump, in faraday. Also have the piping (ya hafta use 1/2″ pipe) and fittings to install it. Runs on solar, but would not be installed right away. We’ll rely on stored water for a while. Could fire up generator, if it still works, to run existing pump.

    Contacting VIPs would be very important, especially for the wife. They are coming here, at least that is the plan. The “not knowing” would be very upsetting to the wife, and me. Hey, I’m putting all the expense for ham, on her. ha ha ha.

    Security will be an issue. Hey, ya hafta sleep sometime. We’ll just do the best we can. We’re very rural so maybe that will help. It should get better if/when VIPs arrive. Living schedule will likely change, up with the sun and down with the sun. I’m not sure of “light discipline.” We’ll play it by ear. Seems prudent, though.

    I’ll have to decide when to bring out solar back-ups, inverters and controllers. Probably pretty quickly, as keeping the freezer going is a priority. The fridge may get turned off. Don’t have enough solar for everything. I can always make ice, just another form of battery, and use a cooler for a fridge.

    Good topic NRP. I’ll keep reading what others provide. I’ll undoubtedly, learn something.

    1. plainsmedic
      If the fridge is to be turned off, have you concider a propane unit with a large tank set up where it is not noticeable?

      1. Antique collector,
        Yes, I have (2) 500 gallon lp tanks. One in operation, the other needs replacement valve. That valve is on order and will be installed/filled in the near future. I have considered a propane fridge. Instead, I have on hand an adapter kit for my gasoline generator. This will allow the generator to run on propane. That way, I can charge solar batteries, run the existing pump, run big fridge and freezer, etc. as needed.

        I can see the next question coming; What if the emp fries your generator? I have experimented with wood gas and have a couple of options for Basic Power. What to hook up to that Basic Power? Well, it depends on the circumstance for grid down. Emp is a bigger problem, as everything electronic would be fried. Maybe just some things are fried? There are many variables for grid down.

        A long term grid down situation is a huge problem. I’ve devoted a lot of thought into this problem. It boils down to the following:
        1. Water
        2. Food
        3. Security
        4. Power, for all the above
        5. Transportation

        I think I have the water issue handled. Although unexpected issues are always a concern. I have SOME food storage and a big garden, though it is abysmal this year. Hunting and fishing is readily available in my area. I have a few options for power and a 1970’s jeep.

        Do I have it all figured out, oh no. Not even close. A grid down, is a life changing event. There are many options to all the potential problems. Each of us will have choices to make. I only hope I have chosen wisely. My family and I will suffer greatly, if I have not.

        How much of your preps do ya bring out? When do ya bring them out? If ya help folks, will they try to take what you have? Lots and lots of ?????? I have seen the ugly underbelly of society, in my years of working ems. Will I try to help folks, sure to an extent. I will not risk the health and well being of my family to help those who won’t help themselves.

        I would imagine very few “left-overs” when it comes to food. We’ll have to learn to cook only what we’ll eat. I think we could learn to live without refrigeration, especially if we had a freezer. Irregardless, we’ll have to learn to live with much less power. You can power a car or truck with woodgas. It’s not easy and it’s not neat, but it’s doable.

        I hope to never have to experience a long term grid down. They say 90% won’t survive.

  20. Hi NRP,
    I really have nothing to add. Everyone has great comments and ideas!
    Thanks for the article. Lots of stuff to think about, but I feel pretty good about my plans.
    I have a folding bike in the truck!
    luv ya’ll, Beach’n

  21. 1. Check to see why the power is off. Local issue, or grid down, or EMP/Solar Event.
    a. If local, do nothing.
    b. If grid down, prepare for a few days of no power using UPS & Charging Systems. Food consumption to perishable first. Standard security. Listen to radio.
    c. If EMP/Solar Event, immediate high security, as people will go nuts very quickly. Water not an issue. Food not an issue. Make no visible sign of having ANY preps, whatsoever. Ready heavy weaponry and stage for use. Arm the mines. Go silent. Go back. Unbox the good Scotch. Talk to the wife, helping her to manage the situation. Open a good book. Listen.

    2. Attempt to survive Zombies.

    3. After Zombies diminish. Unbox the everyday Scotch.

    4. Go on expedition to discover more Scotch.

    5. Check for radiation poisoning. If found, drink all the Scotch.

      1. There can never be…TOO MUCH SCOTCH! No matter how much you may have in your preps…you know…and I know…it is not going to be enough. In a world without money, you should have trade items about. Historically, good whiskey is a pretty safe bet…safer than guns, more interesting than spices, and easier to handle than frisky women.

        “Whiskey and fresh horses for my men!”

        1. Ision;
          Tis a well known fact that in the past men would sell their very last anything (even their soul) for a Drink, even rock-gut whiskey.
          In a world gone mad, Alcohol will still be in demand. Even more that bullets.
          Hence the name of a Shot Glass, the price of a shot of Whiskey was once a 45 long-colt cartridge.
          Wondering if Distillation would be a good trait to know If/When????
          A little Fruit/Sugar, water, and Yeast and poof, ya got C2H5OH.

        2. Plan now to become the only STILL in your area. Brandy works. Wine works. Blackberry wine….and brandy. Pruno? Survival BOOZE…now there’s a subject!!

        3. And that’s the lovely thing about grapes. Their skin separates the yeast on the outside from the sugar on the inside. The perfect food . . er . . drink.

        4. Anony Mee;
          Hence the song “Red Red Wine”…..
          Wine from Grapes or most any fruit can be Distilled Down to 100 proof or ????? very easily, BUT I personally do NOT do such, it is illegal without the AFT licenses and State approval. BUT I have heard of it being done. Also makes for great Parts Cleaner and Engine Starter Fluid. Careful ya don’t blow the heads off that engine HAHAHA

  22. When the power was out here last week I, and others I talked to, kept using the wall switches.

    1. Chevy
      Isn’t that the darnedest thing??
      Yep, I did the same.
      Basement stairway to flip the Genny switches…..hit the light switch….ohh crap need the lantern as not to break a leg down the stairs.
      Ohhh, toilet run…..hit the switch…. nothing….grab a lantern…..
      Then after many hours, you get it through your head…..powers back.
      Creatures of habit…..
      How many of us take the grid for granted?
      (Hand raised)

      1. Joe c, had fun with that. “Hey the toilet still flushes!”
        “The car still starts”

  23. Everyone has RICE in their preps… So, learn how to make SAKE. I learned from a Marine Sgt., who made it on his back porch. Nothing could be easier. I wonder if you could turn Sake into a rice brandy?

  24. – We recently had a four-day power outage. All the Smurf family found themselves reaching for the wall switches, which did not work, of course.

    We did get the genny out and into use, knowing that it was a limited time exercise due to weather. Two hours per day, at about a gallon of regular gasoline per time, kept the refrigerator and freezers cold. We also had means to pump water if we had needed it.
    With about 45 gallons of fuel on hand, we felt like we were adequately provided for, for a while. We could have gone out of the area and gotten more if we had needed it.

    Lighting, other than the genny-powered kitchen/dining area was provided by solar lights. These are not for reading but are adequate for moving around after dark without slips, trips or falls. Head-mounted lights were used for what reading was necessary.

    In all, we exercised just the top layer of our preps, and really felt pretty comfortable. The worst part was the lack of shower facilities due to the lack of power to the submersible pump in the well, and had it gone for one more day, the generator would have been connected to that pump for an hour or so while everyone got a shower. ‘Bird baths’ just get old.

    – Papa S.

    1. – Just FWIW, anybody else remember the still in the ‘swamp’ on the MASH TV show? Alcohol is an easy thing to come by, provided the desire is there.
      – Papa

    2. Papa S
      Our power went out on Saturday, a scorcher of a day. Only for 16/18 hrs tho.
      130 some thousand without power statewide.
      NYC and Brooklyn recently, 20-30 thousand without and made headlines.

      Only reason I hooked up the Genny is there were eggs in the incubator in lock down…come to find out the incubator doesn’t like Genny.
      Lost a few.

      1. Joe c a lot of electronics don’t like modified sine wave power. I’ve found only the expensive generators advertise sine wave power.

        For all the generator folks out there two thoughts.

        #1 Do you have a sound dampening system like an improved muffler and sound baffling walls to reduce how far folks can hear that generator?

        A stock open frame classic generator can be heard for MILES today when there is plenty of other noises. The side benefit of the improved muffler and sound insulated shed today is my beloved likes barely hearing it. That and a locked shed makes it harder for a Sneaky Pete to steal it off your back porch.

        And unless you need the full capacity of that generator (I only to run the well pump plus) please give thought to charging a battery bank to a sine wave inverter to feed your smaller loads. Your electronics will thank you. Just remember to double the running voltage of your Fridge and choose a inverter that can handle a little overload starting voltage for a moment.

        That way you can save gasoline by running all the large loads WHILE charging the battery bank and use the battery bank to keep the small loads like lights, microwave, Fridge running in-between generator running’s.

        Sort of like a Diesel Submarine the battery bank allows you some power when you have to HIDE.

        1. me2
          First 2-3 days I don’t see the sound being an issue because round here they are common with tornadoes, ice storms, squirrels in the transformers and drunks hitting power lines.
          After that they are really gonna take notice of how much fuel you have. That’s the even bigger issue because most don’t even keep gas in their cars.
          I’ve got mine in a lockable detached shed chained to the work bench. Unfortunately it’s not insulated.
          By day 3 hopefully my security will be greatly enhanced. I also see day 3-5 being the start of the exodus as they run out of stuff and the most dangerous time as they begin to take stock in what others have and start with the gimme or “come on and help me out” attitude. Anger and desperation will set in.
          I might need to consider a muffler or something.

        2. me2
          And, yeah my Genny is loud. I seemed to divert the noise with a couple 4×4 sheets of plywood…seemed to help.
          Pulling up with the car I couldn’t hear it…..of course the air conditioning fan was full blast.

        3. OH
          The egg cartons act as a baffle?
          Thinking FWTB
          would hurt me real bad if I used all her egg cartons…..
          Worth a try, though 😁

        4. Joe c I just ran how to quiet my generator into my Google and a lot of easy to use information jumped up.

          Check it out friend, hard to Go Dark and Hide with a generator running.

          Really I would suggest everybody take an hour or less to fire up that generator (even the quiet ones) and take a walk North, South, East and West from your generator and see just how far you can hear it running. My wife made me do it last year and that’s why I have a sound insulated generator shed.

          Remember today you have ears used to ignoring car noises and the fridge running. Those folks you don’t want to meet after SHTF will have pretty good hearing. Sort of like how keen your sense of smell gets when your really hungry.

        5. Yamaha or Honda generators. Very quiet. I have Yamaha. Costs more. You get what you pay for. Generator shed is a bonus on quiet.

      2. – Joe c,
        Our outage was actually in March, now that I checked. Only 150,000 homes across west Texas and eastern New Mexico involved. It was enough, believe me. One of the most annoying parts is the generator, when not in use, is stored in the garage with a power door. Yes, I can open the garage door without power, doesn’t mean it’s not annoying.

        I do have a small (2 x 105 ampere 12-volt marine-type batteries) battery bank. It’s enough to keep the lights on in the kitchen/dining area. I don’t really ask it to do much more. Yes, I know it could if need be. I’d just have to pay closer attention to it.

        – Papa

      3. – Joe c,
        Just as a thought, you might try a simple trick with your genny. If you have a 100-foot extension cord, try laying out a loop and then lay other loops of cord on top of the initial loop. Sometimes the power radiated and picked up by the cord itself (allow about a four to five-foot loop) is enough to offset the modified sine wave power, so that you can get by with what you have. This will also work for some other sensitive equipment when run on a modified sine wave inverter. It’s worth trying, anyway.
        – Papa

        1. Papa S
          Thanks for the idea.
          Seems as if I remember someone doing the same thing as you suggested.
          My dad? But why, back then?…
          for what purpose I do not recall….

        2. – Joe c,
          I remember my dad, a chemical engineer who was never afraid to tackle anything chemical, mechanical or electronic doing just that to clear up interference on an old black and white TV he was running during a weather outage at my grandparents’ house in the Oklahoma panhandle. I was probably about 6 or 7 at the time. Really hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned that.
          – Papa

  25. – Sorry, forgot the initial question about the first five things –

    1) check the cell phone, it’s at hand.
    2) check the wall phone, it’s on the way to the front door.
    2A) try to call the power company, if you had a dial tone on one or two.
    3) check the neighbors’ lights, and the lights in the neighboring town and the city in the distance. (it’s called prairie for a reason)
    4) try the battery-powered radio, it includes AM, FM, and Ham band frequencies.
    5) decide what is needed to do, after setting up the truck with the inverter, extension cord and seeing if you have a TV station up and running. (2 local stations have back-up generators)

    – Papa S.

  26. 1) Check the neighbors and outlying area around our place for electrical lightening, we set up high enough to see for miles.
    2) Call the power company to inform them power is out.
    3) Night time pick up the flash lights, gather up the other equipment store in the special cabinet. Gather the special equipment for acdh’s needs.
    4) Then kindle books for a relaxing read-hopefully!!
    5) Hope like hades it does not last forever :-(

  27. 1. If I am at work, check cell phone, landline and look out the door to see if the only stop light is working.
    2. If I can’t reach anyone and vehicle doesn’t start walking home. It will only take me 30 minutes.
    3. Fill everything with water.
    4. Gather all flashlights and candles, secure animals.
    5. Wait for hubby to make his way home. Hopefully he has the bike with him. It will take him longer to get home. PRAY!

  28. 0. If not home check cameras and home automation. Verify it is worth going home. If it is worth getting home do so and consider asking others to do the same and skip 3 & 4.
    1. Turn off main disconnect.
    2. Secure facility. This means closing/locking doors of everything. Make home/outbuildings/cars look like you’re not home.
    3. Grab portable emergency/weather radio. Grab 2-way radio and cellphone.
    4. If you were home when the power went out… Go walk out to the road to see if anyone else is out of power. If they are, walk into town and see how widespread it is. If local, call utility and report it and pole number/address.
    5. If not widespread start generator and go about daily business. If widespread get ready similar to what NRP stated.

    1. And I forgot, I excercise this far too often due to unreliable power (pretty far down a radial and a utility that doesn’t believe in vegetation management.). It has caused me to have a plethora of 1300va and 1500va UPS. Anything that is electric that isn’t 220 is on one… Including the washing machine and kegerator. Seems like I’m always replacing batteries but it is convenient to be able to cycle the garage door 8-10 times before you need the generator.

  29. Funny as I travel for a living I have a similar list for things to do and purchase if I am away from home and my preps. The entire list changes drastically when you are 1500 miles from home. Yes that is likely a 20+ day bike ride as I calculate it. Grandfather taught me always carry cash as it will always be accepted and they can keep the change for the inconvenience of no power.

  30. If the lights go out at our place, there is a huge problem since we have a 20 K generator that starts up within seconds of an outage. Step 1, head outside and check cell phone as I am looking around for anything unusual. That would include checking the generator.

    If cell phone is not working (step 2), which I would expect if generator is not working, disconnect mains to house (step 3). If cell phone is working, then I would assume small outage and my generator on the fritz (I would leave everything connected)

    This is where the plan changes based on how wide spread of an outage. If just regional, I would proceed with normal electric outage procedure without generator until spouse gets backup running. He works less than a mile away but would not expect him home unless worse case scenario.

    Step 4 is to say a prayer. And the prayer would depend on small outage that can still harm other people or a prayer for all of us because it is about to get ugly. Then take a few calming breaths as the reality of what is happening sinks in.

    If appears widespread outage due to no one having cell, generator out, possible evidence of natural or man made disaster, then Step 5 is implement Oh Sh!t protocol, which is many steps and review of lists because brain will be attempting to process the new reality.

    No matter the reason for outage, I am not sure if I would arm myself visibly to start with – it would be CC because the neighbors would not yet have a clue what is going on and they would think I went off the deep end.

    Good exercise to get us out of complacent mode. :)

  31. If after a thorough determination that it is a true grid down situation, hopefully my tractor will still work. If so, I will grab cash from the safe, toss an AR15 over my shoulder with an extra mag or 3, SW MP 9 on my hip and my GHB attached to the tractor.

    Kiss Mrs S and head out to the Dollar General Store about 3 miles from me to fill up the front end loader bucket with stuff and head back.

    Lock the gate and wait for my Son’s (Lord Willing) to make it to the farm. The work starts as soon as I make it back…

  32. Definitely the first thing to do is to assess what the situation is using all means at your disposal. I would definitely be concerned if the power was out and my phones, cell and home didn’t work. At minimum that would indicate a wide spread power outage that wouldn’t be fixed in a day.

    Since Ken has solar power with batteries, I am curious how he would know the grid went down? If he has that EMP protection that he advertises, how would he know if the power was out due to an EMP? Being totally off grid is a double edge sword, the benefits are that you wont suffer the power outage, the lack of water, etc. The downside is that you might not be when SHTF and this can be equally or more dangerous than being totally grid dependent.

    What I am saying is to not be so grid disconnected that you wont know when the SHTF so that you can make the adjustments so you don’t stick out like a beacon in the dark, because it needs to appear that your effected just like everyone else or you become a target.

    1. Question asked:
      “Since Ken has solar power with batteries, I am curious how he would know the grid went down?”

      My answer:

      I have both, grid power, and off-grid power. During most times of the year I would know right away if the grid went down because usually ‘some’ of the house is powered by the grid. The exception being during periods of long sunny days when I can switch-in the entire house to my off-grid source (transfer switches), as often happens during the summer. My solar system is ~4,000 watts with ~14 kWh usable energy battery storage at 50% DOD. Enough for essential systems and continuing survival, but not necessarily enough for all of our non-essential energy consumption. But I digress…

      With that said, lets pretend that I am in 100% Off-Grid mode.
      How would I know the grid went down?

      1. The internet. Like many people, I utilize the internet for a number of things including maintaining this blog. So I’m online a good bit. It wouldn’t be long and I would know. Most people have a modem from their cable provider for internet, and it would stop working. I used to have 2 bonded DSL lines for internet (no cable provider available at my location without paying extreme $$ to bring it down my road). A regional outage would bring down the DSL lines due to how it’s connected at a local hub in town. Currently I have RF internet (a dish on the roof) pointing to a antenna/transmitter ~3 miles away. The company does have battery /solar backup at their transmitter, but, if the outage is wide then chances are the internet hubs/servers would be going down since they tie in to Fiber at local hubs. Okay, you get the idea. For me, it would likely be “internet down” that tips me off.

      2. TV. Lets say that I’m not an internet user and I don’t run this blog. But I am Off-Grid, 100%. How would I know the grid went down? Most people have a TV. I do. Even being off-grid, many people can pick up a station somewhere by using a antenna on the roof. I keep tabs on the news by a number of ways, including the TV. If the grid went down, either there would be NO TV signal available, or some stations would still be on generator power and I would find out that way, through TV.

      3. Radio. I would be able to discover issues outside my Off-Grid perimeter by listening to the radio. AM. FM. HAM radio. The information will be out there. That’s one reason I am an advocate for having battery operated portable radios. I’ve written about it a number of times.

      4. Neighbors. I have a neighbor about 1/4 mile away. We’re of like mind, so no issues regarding OPSEC with him. He would be in touch. That’s another way I would know (he is not off-grid). I can see a few houses in the distance if I look across the valley a few miles away. If I’m paying attention at night, I might notice there’s no dots of light there. But I probably would not notice that since it’s far away – not typically looking for that.

      5. Going to town. I do get out once in a while. Actually, almost every day to at least go to the PO Box. So if the power grid was down, I would find out right there, at the post office. Eventually there are errands to run. Gotta fill the truck with diesel, or pick up this or that at the store. I would find out that way (though it might not be right away since I’m not running errands every day).

      So there’s your answer.
      – Internet
      – TV
      – Radio
      – Neighbor
      – Errands

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