Your Challenge: Survive 4 Month Blackout Without The Power Grid

Your mission, should you choose to accept it (an old ‘Mission Impossible’ TV-show reference), is to survive a 4 month blackout without the electric power grid. Without a functioning infrastructure (which relies on the grid). No grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, Walmart, etc.. Are you very serious about prepping and preparedness?

The thing is, although I’m not suggesting that you literally do this, the aforementioned challenge may actually be forced upon you one day. I’ve written about long-term grid-down many times. In fact I’ve discussed preparedness for varying time periods ranging from just a few weeks, a few months, to a year or more. The other day I listened to a particular podcast which inspired me to hit on this topic once again. This time, a 4 month period, due to his apparent current-event ‘intel’ via special-operations contacts who are suggesting an upcoming period of extreme challenge – perhaps for 3 or 4 months. Regardless of said intel (h/t Mike Adams), I felt it a good excuse to address the hypothetical.

You never know… Personally, I’m very concerned about the present day time period. The many susceptible systemic risks and geo-political conflict. It’s not beyond the realm of possibilities that a series of cascading events (or a sudden event) could lead to a prolonged period of extreme challenge. So if you too are concerned about such things, keep reading…

First of all, the least of your worries will be food. It is ridiculously easy to acquire 4 months worth of food. Yes, it costs money. However with today’s high inflation, it makes sense to purchase sooner rather than later, given the ongoing devaluation of one’s dollar. I suspect that most here on this blog have easily stored this much food, and likely much more.

The Biggest Challenges You Will Face While Surviving 4 Months

In my opinion, some of the biggest challenges to your 4 month survival period will be as follows. Other people. A water supply. A source of energy. I will also add home heating during grid-down (if it’s during the winter with very cold temperatures). I’ve covered each of these individual topics here on the blog over the years. However, I’m presenting this hypothetical 4 month period because I believe it could help you overcome, or prepare for, these obstacles.

The Unprepared – Other People

The problem won’t be the pre-acquisition of food. Presumably you’ve done this beforehand. Rather, one HUGE challenge will most certainly be the non-prepared and desperate people, who will want your food. There would be a tremendous human catastrophe going on. I mean, potentially really horrific. Unprepared people will not survive 4 months under these circumstances, let alone 4 weeks…

Your world will instantly become very local. It will be you and your neighbors. At least at first. You will be forced to make decisions, some of which may be exceedingly difficult. Perhaps you help some to the extent that you can (and trust). These will be personal decisions and choices that will be unique to each of us. No one here on the blog can recommend one way or the other to anyone else, because this boils down to one’s beliefs, actions vs consequences, and ultimately of course – one’s survival. I’ll leave it at that…

Security. Wow, this will be a huge thing. Lots to do about where you live too. City and Urban dwellers? Not good. Cities, especially Blue cities, will disintegrate first. Each and every one of the unprepared will be just as hungry, regardless of where they live. However, higher population density translates to more hungry desperate people in a smaller geo. That spells much more trouble… I believe those of us who already live rural will not be affected anywhere close to that of suburbia. Each of our locations are unique. It’s up to you to gauge the extent of your security situation and subsequent operations.

A Water Source

The municipal water pressure will drop to zero. Previously on the blog, I’ve written about average water consumption. According to my analysis, on average, each person may go through about 66 gallons of water each day! Now granted, during a time of grid-down survival, you won’t be using that much water. But even if it was only 10 gallons, the amount of water (and storage thereof) will become a very big issue.

Already got a well? And an alternative energy source to power your well pump? No problem…

However if you don’t, well, you’re going to need a nearby water source. And the ability and equipment to haul /transport and store that water back at home. Unless you live right on a river, stream, or lake, this is going to be a daunting challenge. It absolutely must be addressed, or you will not make it. Period. So do your due-diligence and figure this out. Get what you need to accomplish this.

And it should go without saying, a countertop Berkey water filter (or equivalent) will be an absolute necessity. Get one from the Berkey Guy at USA Berkey Filters (tell ’em I sent ya…)

Alternative Energy For Critical Systems

The power grid is down. Everything’s shut down. But there is a definite advantage having an alternative energy source for your critical systems. Even something small to recharge batteries for your important devices.

Bear in mind that a generator will only function to the extent of your fuel storage. And, people will hear it.

Solar power. It can be as little or as big as you want it. Some is better than none. Those ‘solar generators’ with built-in batteries will provide some power. Although don’t expect it to run the house! They won’t. However they can be recharged via solar (but it does take a long time with their typical panel kits – and requires sun of course).

If you have some know-how, you could build your own sort of ‘off-grid’ system. One with it’s own receptacles and/or integration into transfer switches in your home. That’s what I did… I have enough panel power and battery storage to power my propane-fired furnace (including integrated hot water tank), my chest freezers, and refrigerator without issue or worry. There’s usually enough excess to power other systems too. The whole house if it’s full sun (and I don’t turn everything on at once!).

With that said, I suggest looking at your own critical systems. What can you live without, and what might you need. Determine your requirements, and procure what you need to fulfill those requirements.

Heat

The 4 month grid-down could take place during the winter months. Prepare for it as if it will. In my opinion, it would be much more dangerous than during the summer. Temperatures consistently below the freezing point, will freeze your house. Water pipes will burst. You will be very cold. Hypothermia will set in, and if it does, you will die.

Obviously, your geographic location matters. However a great extent of the U.S. is in the cold during winter, so this will be a concern for sure… So, what to do? How to heat your home?

Again, although it requires know-how, you could integrate alternative energy into your furnace. And be sure you’ve got enough fuel (propane, oil, whatever). Note that natural gas infrastructure may also lose its pressure under this scenario. I have an underground propane tank. I would keep my thermostat low, to conserve fuel.

Got a pellet stove? Got enough pellets on standby? Do you have a way to run that pellet stove without the grid?

Even better, a wood stove. No electrons required.

Point being, I added ‘heat’ to some of the higher concerns, in case this happened during the winter (and you live in a cold zone).

The Takeaway

I have covered this topic many a times. This time, I’ve presented a 4 month scenario, inspired by current-events and apparent insider intel that we could be facing a similar period of extreme challenges ahead. Best to be prepared…

84 Comments

    1. same here Kula. there are not many of the unprepared within walking distance from us. it’s just old country rednecks around here, but there are a few and we know who they are. we can see them coming from a mile away. you know the type. nice people, but who live hand to mouth and don’t ever think about tomorrow. garbage cans full of pizza boxes and fast food bags, and never go outside to do anything except to ask for a favor. they ain’t gonna make it. i have never understood a man not cutting his own yard unless he was sick.

    2. Kula,
      Remember what Isaid a long time back…range stakes, all along your perimeter, made a stand of stout ankle high wire with little anodized bells on them. (cans and rocks works too.)

    3. My personal gut feeling is that at the shepple majority have the potential to be zombies waiting to attack anybody or anything in order to obtain what they never prepared for. A majority of good people will turn into a rabid predator when the circumstances become reality. Hysterical masses will overcome and overrun anything that becomes an obstacle. Human nature is what it is……….plan for the worst and hope/pray for the best.

  1. Detoxing from the media world. However just maintaining your water and hygiene will take a lot of time and the mind on other more pressing issues. Time to make more candles!

    1. “Media” will still exist, but no in its present form. News will pass and be broadcast by ham operators and CB’ers to people, who will spread word in the locality. Of course, as is now, accuracy will be questionable…

      I think it’s more like “detoxing from the INTERNET world…”

      1. Yep, that’s why battery-powered radios are so important for preparedness. Gathering intel about what’s going on out there. Shortwave radio with Ham bands (with SSB capability) is advised. Don’t forget a length of wire to attach to the extendable antenna for better reception.

        For local comms, handheld 2-way radios, VHF/UHF, even CB radios.

    2. You are exactly right. Prioritization will happen TO you or BY you.
      The following comments are to the thread in general, not to your wise counsel. I just could not figure out how to comment in the general tgroup.
      One thing I noticed, with a bit of disappointment, is that none of the commenters to this excellent article spoke of success and achievement after 4,or 3, or 2, or 1 month of living as the author said is coming. Even a personal or family trial of one week without power would reveal a lot, like omissions… a manual can opener, the right sized batteries, some missing ingredients for favorite recipes, dog and fish food.

      My husband and I go 5 months without resupply in winter. Inventory lists reviewed each season, a 2 is 1 and 1 is none assessment of items in stock, adaptability and a can do attitude are key. We make mistakes every winter, even after many years.

      We have both electric and manual pumps for our well. Take note. The manual pump is exhausting for me to use. I have to pump 100 times to fill less than 5 gallons. Just sayin. Do not assume anything until you try. I bought 2 Berkeys and neither worked as fast as advertised. We used lake water.

      Regards and thanks for your logical comment.

  2. 4 months would change our country forever. Nearly all commerce (jobs) will cease. The first week could be quite dangerous. Fires, looting, riots will be evident in ALL cities. No more school either. No phones, water, hygiene. Have your children/grandchildren survived? You may never know, unless you have comms. Will that affect your mindset? How about your wife? Is she fine with never hearing from her ‘babies’ again?

    4 months is long enough to make LEO/FIRE/EMS stay home. At some point, they’ll all need to take care of their own. Besides, no fuel means no cops. No power means no comms for dispatching anyone any where. Even if there were a few remaining on duty, no fuel to get there.

    As I understand it, a “cold start” to the grid has never been done. Could “they” figure it out? Probably, but there is doubt. How much damage has been done? Will workers return? How will they know to return?

    Many of us are as prepared as we can be, well mostly. We’ve likely thought of all the goodies we’d like to have, but don’t. Decisions!

    1. A “cold start” to the grid. Wow, let that sink in…

      Depending on how it went down, the damage, the repairs — one wonders how that’s going to happen, given the collapse – finding workers who survived (how many were prepared??) — and then getting enough utility worker survivors back on the job to start it all back up after the collapse? Sounds nearly impossible!

      1. Military has huge diesel powered generators that can be used for starting power plants.
        Then there are the natural gas powered power plants that don’t need a lot to get going.
        Oil fired power plants.
        One can start others, those can restart others.

        I see the larger problem is containment of the reactors and cooling pools.

        1. Another consideration in a cold-start situation will be the “phasing” between the grid and the generator being started. The wave forms need to match up in real time. If they get this wrong, wreckage can result such as generators ripping loose from their mountings, etc.

          1. Cat6,
            You are right about phasing, but this is fairly easy to do with line sensors and controllers. The new inverters have this same control that allows you to piggyback two or more units. I think coming back from a total shutdown, each utility will come up in isolation, then adjust and sync with whatever is on the main transmission grids, then inter-tie as need be. This is what goes on inside your grid-tied solar system inverter when you come online.

    2. Locally we have had this discussion within the first responder community. I am in a large county east of a major metro and we have done the research to look into alternative fuel for gen sets. Locally, in the county we have only found 4 gas stations with back up gen sets for over 600 square miles…do the math). All public safety entities (and hospital) are using the same local company as their primary delivery source. (We have recommended at least three for each, 2 in county and one out of county). All of these delivery companies are having staffing issues. Oh, the county does not have its own fuel farm. Some departments have a a little fuel in gravity tanks but not enough to make a difference. When we talk about this, it mostly falls on deaf ears……very frustrating.
      Bottom line is that first responders will fall quickly….within the week if this scenario plays out.

      1. to frosty1056, Wow, thanks for the insight on that one… It’s got to be tough to convince ‘management’ to consider scenarios that challenge their normalcy bias.

      2. Frosty1056: Take a look around the city yard, bus stations and school bus yards. Look for a horizontal blue diamond sticker at the rear that says ‘CNG’. Underneath you should fine at least two fiber-wound tanks in a detachable bracket, already plumbed and regulated. A big ‘ol Harbor Freight dolly might be useful. At 3,600psi you should be able to run some generators for a bit.

        1. Best to make sure you get the high pressure regulatory with it. At 3600 psi, if you open the tank valve to the open air directly, you’ll have a rocket!

  3. guys, if you do have a well, invest in some well buckets and some rope. some effort will be involved in pulling it up but you will not go thirsty. it will work without elect. we have a 100ft deep well just for that and it’s good water. we may die, but it won’t be from thirst or lack of cleanliness. i have firewood falling from the sky everyday in my yard, sticks and limbs. 40 gallons of kerosene, oil lamps and extra wicks and at least a 2 years supply of food that we have canned plus the grocery items that we have put back and the ability to plant more. a river a 1/4 mile behind us downhill full of fish.
    let it come, i’ll be glad when it gets here. the anticipation is killing me. the world will be a much quieter place.
    in 2005 when Katrina came through we had nothing for a month, our world was quiet for a time and the sky’s were dark. i truly enjoyed it except for not having AC. in September : ) we called it camping in the house.

    1. Why not invest in a functional well head hand pump ?
      We have one, just need to reinstall it if the need arises.

    2. Scout.
      I’m in the South too. I prefer to call The Big Situation “The Great Campout” for a reason. We’ll survive. Maybe not as comfortable but we’ll live. I’m actually hoping it does happen more around winter though. Easier to heat a room than to cool it. That’ll be the biggest drawback for the DW.
      It would suck to loose the job for a spell but it would be nice to have a vacation and not HAVE to worry about money. Silver lining for everything. ; )

    3. We installed a hand pump on our well. We can even hook it up by hose to the house to provide water there! I’m picturing my five grown sons, who live nearby and would come stay in the country with us, taking turns pumping so their mom can have a shower!

  4. Wouldn’t it be something to take 4 months off from any civilization and come back ready to take a nice hot shower and enjoy all the luxuries in your home only to find out that everything went in the toilet while you were gone!
    When we go camping we get close, especially when we live in Alaska and went down through northern Canada on vacation.. We used to tent but when we got old we really like our class b motorhome. We still bondock but have some amenities. We could probably live in the motorhome, near a clean mountain stream with our little solar panel and it’s trickle charge, with no one around for 4 months (in the summer).

  5. Good to hear from you old lady. I was talking to a friend last night who hunts over there near “Q”, and I got to wondering about you. Hope Mr. is doing well with his medical treatments.

  6. People: This is always going to be a wild card; the reconciliation of hungry people showing up at your door, possibly armed, your faith and your ballistic readiness, and what you actually have on hand. Best thing you can do is keep a low profile, and, if possible, not keep all of your food in one place…

    Heat: I’m sold on kerosene heaters! They store easy when not in use. They go a long way on a tank. Kerosene stores well. Look around yard sales, estate sales, and swap meets. They can be had for pennies on the dollar compared to the new ones, and there’s NO DIFFERENCE between a new one and a 70’s model. Get extra wicks for each one. The wicks take forever to burn down, but can be contaminated and rendered useless by bad fuel. I actually have a couple of these heaters in the house, and use them during the day, saving the furnace for nighttime. They do a good job of heating the area of the house you’re using, while keeping the rest of the place “warm enough.”

    Water: I live in the desert. Water is ALWAYS an issue, and will become more so if the grid fails. If you live in a warmer climate and have a pool, there’s your “hygiene” water. I refer to my Doughboy pool as “an emergency water tank I can swim in.” In the event of an emergency, I’d cover it to keep it as clean as possible, and to minimize evaporation. If you have an RV or camper trailer on-site, keep the water tank full, and swap the water out once in a while, sanitizing the tank before refilling. This could be an issue in sub-freezing weather though… I keep fifteen 5-gallon jugs of purified water on hand in a temp-stable location, cycling it through my kitchen for drinking and cooking purposes. Yeah; in the desert, water is a subject near and dear to the heart…

    1. MacGyver…..same here desert dweller, installed my first ibc 265 gallon water container, planning for at least one more, ditto on the camper water storage tank (58gal fresh but also has a black water tank never used so that will be another 50 gallons of fresh) and two bathtub water bob’s bladders. Lived all over the country miss fertile ground and tall trees, but gladly traded it for the high plains deserts and extremely low population density. So water supply is my number one prep.

    2. Your first paragraph – yes indeed that will be a difficult one to deal with. Low profile (opsec) only works if it has been implemented since the start. Most people at some point “spill the beans” to an extent, and soon enough more and more know that you’re ((gasp)), a prepper. I really don’t like the word, prepper, given the mainstream negative connotation. But we’re sort of stuck with it.

      Great advice regarding a Kerosene Heater. I don’t have one, but I’m going to look into it.

    3. “not keep all of your food in one place”

      I’m slowly vacuum sealing up lots of one pound bags of rice for the kitchen cabinet.
      Up there will be soy sauce, old canned items and expired stuff that can be eaten, handed out, ignored and be the decoy.
      Easy to locate and won’t hurt me any if it’s taken.

  7. If power goes out for the time mentioned follow the positive comments mentioned about kerosene heaters for the first month or two if possible, even if your have a wood stove. That wood smoke smell carries a long ways and unless you don’t mind people wanting to stay over, don’t give up that heat source.

  8. If the electrical grid goes down we will all find out that there is one deadly problem which will exist and this problem is common to all other modes of SHTF. That problem is a lack of medication – such as antibiotics and personal maintenance medication. So let each of ask “How well have I stocked up on medication and how long will my stock last”?

    1. 20 bottles of ibuprofen, 5 years worth in omeprazole, all the antibiotics I could want., hayfeaver meds for several seasons, antacids.
      Liquid penicillin is impossible to locate the last few months but there are alternatives.
      Two boxes of various otc meds.

      That omeprazol could be a super barter item, so many people need it.

      1. Horse
        There are alternatives on all medications. One simply has to be open minded on those that they wish to swallow. If you are ill and need xyz, but not in the two-legged kind, look at the alternatives for such items. just sayin…..

          1. We use a lot of it on horses, Ampicillin is the easiest substitution next to old sulfa.
            Ampicillin comes in a sealed bottle in powder form, kept cool it stores for a long time even if the exp is typically only a year out when bought.

            I have been checking the farm store here for penicillin for months, just not getting any in and the drug company I order from is horribly back ordered because of a production halt last year and materials shortages.

        1. I have lots of various antibiotics for livestock.
          I’d list them but too lazy.
          Most are the same thing people use just in much larger amounts.. pill size or concentration.
          Last time I got sick from a tick bite I used oxytetracycline from the farm store, took it orally.
          Tastes horrible, you burp and taste it all over again.. nasty crap but it worked.

  9. Need the wood burning heat and the generator for short periods of time. Can not bug out for a few months or everything will be gone. That leaves the only option for us and our neighbors, defend. Hope that if it comes, it is during the coldest winter time. If it comes in the hot summertime like now and all of civilization is screwed, check the wind direction and start a good back fire. Nature can be a force multiplier.

    1. With you on hoping it would come in winter Hermit. I heat with wood anyway so no problem there. While I have about 600 gallons of water stored Snow to melt will help stretch that till spring when I can get to the river. Without snow plows running people just ain’t gonna get to the area I live in so no Golden Hoard just locals to deal with and not that many of them. Just did 14 days last winter without power so stretching it longer would really not be much of a problem

  10. How long will a ric of wood last? I know there are a lot of variables, but are we looking at 10 days or 10 weeks? I grew up with a fireplace but my parents seldom used it and their plan was just (just keep stacking)

    1. Lauren – lots of variables…stove efficiency, wood type, climate, insulation of house etc. We use two chords for 6 Mo of heating. A ric is about 1/3 chord, thus likely no, not enough for 4 Mo.

    2. Lauren….so many variables, hardwood versus softwood, seasoned versus unseasoned, size of dwelling, humidity level, fireplace versus wood stove, size of unit, and burning 24 hours per day or less, even the size of wood being burned. Sorry, but all of those come into play, as an example I used to heat a 1600 square foot house in Colorado at about 6,000 ft elevation totally with a with large wood stove, with a propane furnace, and or quartz’s electric heater ( those last two were only used if I was traveling) in a season I would consume about 5 to 7 cords of seasoned mountain pine. Note a fireplace is a total waste of space ( in my book ) unless you use a wood insert and even then you only have the front of the insert radiating heat. When I lived in the Midwest, I burned even more, now in I am in the high desert plains in Nevada and use only about 2 to 3 cords of pine per year. Hope that helps

    3. Lauren,
      10 days, or less, depending on outside temp and not knowing what type of wood burner you have, but knowing your general location. If you plan on heating an “average” size house for a winter in your area, 6 or 7 cords of wood would be a decent number to have put up.( ~20 of your rics). Just trying to give you a ballpark number to shoot for. If you can give us more details (type of stove, house size and age of construction/insulation) I may be able to get you a closer number.

      1. That gives me what I need. Thank you. I took out a walnut tree and I am having some delivered, but nowhere near that much! : )

        1. Lauren,
          Was that walnut dead standing or alive? If it was alive, it will have to be cut and split and aged for at least one season. You may find you can do with less if you put up hardwoods as opposed to pine and soft woods. If your woodstove is rated for coal, you might try getting a ton or two and trying that, or as an emergency stickpile. If properly banked, coal can last most of a night. (Some people are bothered by the smell though.) Just something else to consider.

        2. Lauren,
          I second what Minerjim said about the walnut. At a bare minimum, let it season for a whole year. Even then, you’ll likely have to mix it with other wood. Seeing as you have it, you can make it work. I would avoid cutting walnut if I could. Beautiful wood, but not great firewood. Almost impossible to burn when green.

          1. The tree was alive, but the guy who brought the wood a few minutes ago said it was hackberry, not walnut.

            In any case, the new wood will either go in its own place or on the bottom of the pile.

            Unfortunately I wasn’t able to bring with me either the woodpile or the ton of coal from the old house.

          2. Lauren,
            The hackberry. Pretty good firewood. It has the opposite problem though. It won’t store well. If it’s green now, you can start burning it late this winter. Make sure you burn it next year, otherwise it will be rotten and pithy. You’ll get the hang of this. I burn osage orange (hedge). Really hard wood that will store forever. More BTU than anything in the midwest. If ya see any wooden fence posts that look really old, it’s hedge.

            I’m not too particular though. I always have a separate pile I call “sh3t wood.” It could be anything, cedar, elm, cottonwood, literally anything. It will all burn. Good luck

  11. – Have to agree with the posters above, when Texas suffered our grid down winter weather episode, DW found out she loved my kerosene heater much more than ample supply of firewood and fireplace. House stayed, well, near comfortable and the remainder bearable while we were without for two weeks. I have increased my store of kerosene and am looking for an additional wick for the thing (already have a spare).

    Little butane stove, (the one for the oriental market) and Propane camping stove both got used without problems for cooking and obviously added to heat in house, but we did not feel like either would have been a viable heat alternative for our long-term lives.

    ‘Camping in the house’ with multiple battery lanterns and hot coffee/chocolate makes for a much better day when the power is out, even with the intermittent use of a portable genset. We did use a goodly amount of gasoline for the genny, even using it just 3 times a day. (Temp here was 12 F.)

    – Papa S.

    1. Papa Smurf, what kind of kerosene heater do you recommend? Was there any odor from it?

      1. JS….I am sensitive to kerosene heaters, they can be a smelly mess, to burn, to maintain, and to store, after a decade I got rid of them and have not looked back. I remember that’s unless you have adequate ventilation they can cause a monster headache. Kerosene is getting pricey and it’s a lot harder to find. To each their own, but for me their are much better choices.

      2. – Mine is the large Kero-sun. China-made unfortunately, but what isn’t nowadays? No odor and no problems as long as I made sure to burn only K1 clear kerosene. One five gallon bucket was not. I have put it back to the back of my storage and not bought any other from that supplier. DW is very sensitive to the scent from non-K1 clear kerosene, so I will use it for non-heating uses outside the house.

        – Papa

        1. – Ace hardware has been a reliable supplier for K1 kerosene. We used about a gallon per day, and it’s about $50 for 5 gallons in our area.

          – Papa

        2. – If you meant what type, it’s a convection heater. I picked it up at the Farm and Ranch store along with a couple of five-gallon cans of fuel.

          – Papa

  12. Survival depends on knowledge, skills sets, ingenuity, and a will to live in my opinion. I focus on the basic simple means of providing the ‘Seven Necessities to Sustain Life’. It is my opinion that mobility may play an important roll for survival based on what I am seeing TPTB are “telegraphing” in their moves. In my case, the Achilles heel is cold weather depending on the length and/or time the permanent “blackout” might occur. With the the possible mobility factor in mind, I set my plans based on Kerosene heaters and the wood burning Rocket Mass Heater (RMH) for my heat source. The Kerosene heater is portable and can be moved room to room or location to location where needed. I am working on a design for a RMH (small) that can easily be moved and easily re-constructed. A subterrainian living space is my end goal as the limited temperature range is a plus for heating and cooling. But where…..? It is not the work thats hard….. its the damn decisions. These are exciting times for those with an imagination. I believe that to survive….you must go to where most run from if you have the ability. If not…. you do the best you can till you can’t….. the Lord will take it from there. :-)

  13. We only burn K 1 clear kerosene, because it is almost odor free when it burns. You have to look for it, not all kerosene is K 1 clear.

  14. A couple of months ago I finally got a generator plug installed so that we will have power for the well, as lugging water is very heavy and time consuming. Then two weeks ago our well went dry as our area is in a severe drought. The brook out back dried up as well. Our pond is no more than an oversized puddle at this point. Now we drive into town for water to a spring maintained by the town. I know that our neighbor also lost their well. I am seeing more people daily at the spring. I am wondering what will happen if that dries up as well. Their is still a pond less than 1/2 mile down our road which we will turn to if the spring in town dries up.
    Never expected all of our water sources to dry up. It is an eye opener.

    1. When your water runs dry, your priority immediately turns to acquiring it. I’m sure that it’s quite ‘eye-opening’. Finding a source – transporting it – storing it (repeat). Without water, we die. It should be everyone’s priority to figure this out – what to do for emergency water…

      1. Yep, the amount we really use is quite a bit more than the few gallons they say is essential,

        1. Hi, invest in small spray bottles.
          GOOD quality heads..
          I have used these on live aboard yacht.
          Reduced water consumption by 90%.
          Most water is wasted by taps than actually used for intended purpose.

      2. Barely a month at the new location. Power went out a few days ago for 4 hours. No apparent reason. 1st thought- no power = no water. 2nd thought- no power = no septic lift station. We live on a river with clear water, in the woods with a firepit and wood to boil if needed. Got a Big Berkey and generator as well. But nothing is really ready for an extended outage. Definitely moved this up the project list.

      3. Things continue to get desperate. The town closed the spring because the water is too low now.

      4. Snow. 1:10 ratio for melting snow to water. Varies a bit by snow density. Been there, done that. SLOW.

  15. I doubt I would still be alive after 4 months of the electricity being off…and if it was off everywhere.

    I am sure I would be killed by someone before I ever run out of life sustaining supplies, or shelter. Plus, if all the power is gone for 4 months…it will probably STAY GONE for a much longer time…giving rise to insurmountable survival concerns.

    Survival is only possible, for anyone, during a limited time of trouble, which effects only a limited area.

    The dynamics completely change for any universal trauma, effecting continents, and these make long-term survival hopeless for the vast bulk of Humanity…including me.

    So, I only prep for such things as Hurricanes and local power outages, along with the ability to defend against limited criminal aggression, knowing I have no chance of surviving a truly global disaster, which spawns armies of Zombies…or causes nuclear reactors and nuclear storage failures…or both.

    Whatever the disaster one faces, if people do not see authorities in control within three days, expect to be forced to prove your marksmanship and your Will.

  16. Good Article Ken.
    I’vs not commented much lately, been doing the Lurking Thing, but this Article really intrigued me.

    Most of the Old-Timers here will recall how many hundreds of times I tossed out the “Lights Out Weekend” challenge. And the week long challenge.
    I wonder how many folks out there in the “95% world could do even a weekend all alone a full 4 months as you are suggesting? Not many I would think.

    Honestly being totally self sufficient for 95%er’s would be completely impossible.
    If one thinks on what it would take for the change of Lifestyle, I doubt if most would make it a month, at most. All alone 4 months or longer. Heck most would die from internet/sell-phone withdraws alone.

    So, with all that optimism I just laid out there……… Go ahead and try a “Lights Out” week or even just a weekend. MOst here would do just fine I would guess, so I’m preaching to the choir.

    1. NRP & Blue,
      You “Lights out challenges” where the first thing I thought of when I saw Ken’s article. Darn good suggestions. Firemen practice burning down old building, military practices by running “war games”. What better way for MSB folks to test there preps and response to the major disruption of electrical power. (BTW, glad you and Blue posted, many of us were getting concerned.)

    2. NRP & Blue,

      Good to hear from you. We stayed in an off-grid small cabin one night of our trip. One night is no big deal, including no internet and cell phone. Four months? Yeah, it would be hard to go without news and comms. Lighting was kerosene lanterns and candles. Both get depleted faster than most imagine. There was a pretty nice outhouse, with wood shavings for odor control. Not sure how that waste gets handled there. Four months worth?
      Handling required. We packed out our trash. Something to prepare for is garbage reduction/disposal. I haven’t given that a lot of attention, but will. Something we didn’t have to worry about was bands of hungry crazed marauders.

  17. NRP. Kudos and good to hear you are doing well, I have been doing a 7 day blackout and two day fasting periods. In addition I tried 5 days periods only eating hormel completes one a day around mid-day and some fresh fruit water or juice. I was amazed how much better my energy level was, also lost some weight.. I have purged all candy, cakes, pies, over 10 years ago, maybe twice a year I have a bowl of ice cream or a slice of pie but when I do I really notice the sugar hit. We all should be performing these “ trial runs” better to ease into less then being forced into it by an event itself. Great thing about doing this your perspective on what you need, what you maybe want to focus on becomes better defined. Blessing all, keep on with you preparations now more then ever.

    1. BamaMan,
      i have said it many times before, but clean, potable drinking water is what’s going to make or break most people long before month 2.

  18. Scout you are spot on about drinking water …….living in the northern Nevada high plains, several people in the area, whether on county, or private well have back up water storage, ibc wire cage totes, polyvinyl 500 gal and up containers. I am installing 4 linked ibc 250 gal totes. Next project will to complete 200 gal rainwater catchment tank. Have three berkeys with extra filters they are truly a major component in any drinking water supply system……using them now for 30 years.

  19. There will be a lot of hungry and thirsty people, some of which would only turn to violence if it meant their life. The only preparedness that matters is a remote community prepared for the inevitable assault. If you live in the cities and suburbs, you are already dead. In the rural areas, you might fight off a few if you have a weapon and can use it. Even a small group of community members organized will only repel 3 attackers for every armed community member in a prepared defensive position. Geography is your only real friend. When the large gangs get to our community, the only thing left on the menu will be long pigs.

  20. IMHO
    If the grid goes down for longer than a month, the infrastructure will end up being so badly damaged from the resulting violence it may never come back, 4 months? Try permanently by region or area

  21. – Reading articles written by survivors of WWII, the Balkans, etc. almost everyone of them noted that the primary thing that got them and their families through the worst of times was having a hand pump for water. One noted that they had to replace one that was stolen one night after being left out overnight. I have the capability and equipment to build two complete setups stored where it is out of the way, but can be in the well and functioning within 24 hours of need.
    I do have the equipment to produce more if materials can be obtained, but I don’t stock additional piping at my location. I do have a neighbor, the local ‘well guy’, who does have the additional piping about a mile away. We have a good working relationship and he is a personal friend. I don’t want to be the ‘well guy’ but he is aware of my plans and abilities. I’m just a bit older than he is. The pumps I can build are repairable at DIY level, and I can teach homeowners to care for maintain and if they want to to produce their own.
    Our area is not generally regarded as an area one would want to ‘bug out’ to. In general we live in an area where ‘Cotton is King” and aside from the feral hogs, almost no one wants to eat the cotton. We do have alternative crops of pumpkin, peanuts, and soybeans, but the average city dweller seem not to know about those crops. Livestock is pretty much whatever you might want, but again, we are not in what the military calls the ‘Line of drift’
    – Papa S.

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