There are still more than 1900 homes in New York and New Jersey that are without utilities of any kind in the prolonged wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Some families are getting assistance from FEMA and going to hotels, which they must leave every two weeks, go and apply for more vouchers and then check back in to the hotel.
Others are sleeping in tents.
Still others have remained in storm damaged homes without electricity, water or heat.
Sandy hit the area on October 29. It has been 3 full months and President Obama just got around to signing the aid bill today.
Could it be any more clear that you are on your own after a disaster? If you are not prepared, you, too, will be at the mercy of FEMA, waiting months for the President to get around to authorizing aid, huddled in a tent through the frigid months of winter.
Think about being without utilities for three entire months.
- You don’t have heat unless you have a fireplace or wood stove.
- You can’t flush the toilet
- You can’t take a shower.
- You can’t turn on your tap to wash dishes.
- You can’t put a kettle on the stove for tea.
- You don’t have internet or television.
- You don’t have refrigeration.
- You can’t cook a warm dinner for your children.
How would you cope with this? Think seriously about 94 days in this situation. Would you be prepared?
If you are a prepper, this is the type of thing you prepare for. If you aren’t a prepper, does this situation inspire you to get started?
Think about what you’d need to survive 3 months without utilities. In this particular situation, people are able to go out and purchase things, so as bad as it is, it could be worse.
In a completely down-grid situation you need:
An alternative heat source that does not depend on natural gas or electricity
- Little Buddy propane heater
- Wood stove or fireplace place
- Kerosene or oil heater
Fuel for your heat source
- Heating oil
Non-fuel warmth items
- Sleeping bags
- Tents (a great way to share body heat is to set up a tent in the warmest room in the house for the family to sleep in)
- Coats, hats, scarves and gloves
- Heating pads that can be warmed up near your heat source (like rice bags)
Water (these figures will vary based on the season)
- Drinking water – figure on 1 gallon per person per day
- Water for pets – depending on the size of the pet, 2 liters -1 gallon per day
- Water for cleaning – washing dishes, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, personal hygiene, keeping counters clean, etc.
- Gravity-fed water filtration system with extra filters
A way to cook, or at least heat, food
- Wood stove
- Camp stove
- Outdoor Barbecue
- Kelly Kettle
- Rocket stove
- Fondue pot
Fuel for your cooking method
- gel fuel
Food, particularly items that require little or no cooking
- Peanut butter
- Canned soups, stews and chili
- Canned pasta
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- MREs (not healthy for daily use)
- Dry milk
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
- Fruit that stores well, like apples and oranges
Coolers (can be packed with snow in the winter – in some situations you might be able to purchase ice)
Cleaning supplies that don’t require water
- Lysol wipes
- Disinfecting spray
- White vinegar
Ways to keep clean
- Dry shampoo
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Strong mouthwash like Listerine
- Kitty litter, buckets and heavy-duty garbage bag for personal sanitation use
Convenience items (these items will reduce your need for water)
- Paper plates
- Paper napkins
- Paper towels
- Disposable flatware
- Disposable cups and bowls
- Garbage bags in all sizes
- Battery operated LED lights
- Kerosene or oil lamps
- Solar garden lights (charge them outside during the day, then use vases to hold them indoors at night)
Entertainment – most people depend on the grid for the majority of their entertainment – here are some ideas to entertain yourself and the kids without power
- Books (the real ones made from paper – my favorite!)
- Drawing pads and pencils
- Art and craft supplies
- Yarn and needles
- Books with crosswords, wordsearch, sudoku, etc.
- Playing cards
- Board games
This list isn’t meant to cover everything a person would need for 94 days without power. If you aren’t yet prepared, this offers some suggestions for you. Everyone’s situation is different. You may have resources in your environment that will help you make it through an emergency that will rule out some of the preparations here. The biggest step is to realize what your needs will be and figure out how you would meet them if a disaster like this struck your home tomorrow.
The important thing is to realize that this can happen – right here in North America. It’s happening right now. As you sit there on your computer reading this, nearly 2000 families on this continent are trying to stay warm, clean, fed and healthy without electricity or running water.
It’s not just something that occurs in places like Haiti or Thailand. Our grid is so susceptible that it can be taken out by an ice storm, a summer thunderstorm or a confluence of events like Superstorm Sandy. Spend some time thinking about how you and your family would fare and then think about ways you can improve your odds.
Have you lived through an extended power outage? What challenges did you face and how did you meet them? Share in the comments!
I absolutely draw the line at not being able to put the kettle on for a cuppa tea.
I have been wanting a Kelly Kettle for some time, and that will be a purchase I will be making.
Right now I have two butane stoves. The fuel comes in cans that look like hair spray. They work wonderfully, but I need more fuel.
A Kelly Kettle will burn anyting from newspaper, charcoal, to bits of wood.
Daisy, My hope is the same as yours. That this incident would cause people to wake up. If history is any teacher though, I think that it will not make a bit of difference for most. I hope I am wrong. I look back after Katrina or any other large hurricane or natural disaster.People lost loved ones, homes, pets, also entire families lost generations of memories in items like heirlooms and photographs. What we see after the disaster is many of the same families moving right back to the exact spot where their greatest nightmares occurred. The truth is personal responsibility is become and anachronism. I know you have family in the Jersey area and I hope that they are well. My question to you is, do you think they learned, will the prepare for their future needs sans big brother? Peace Clay
Clay – nope, sadly, they didn’t learn a thing.
Oh sure, they talk about it and have an extra case of water kicking around, but as for hardcore preparedness, no, they truly did not learn their lessons. It really makes you shake your head. If you live through something like that and still do not see the need to prepare, then I have to despair that anything can wake you up.
Only long term hunger and down-grid situations, I suppose. Then it could be too late.
Very frustrating, indeed.
Daisy- do you have a good source to purchase Kelly Kettle in Canada? OR in USA only?….I usually get hit with addional charges for duty, etc. when I order from USA… thanx in advance.
CC – awesome to see you here! Thank you for stopping by, I’ve been thinking of you.
Yes I do have a source in Canada, and I’ve ordered from them twice now. The service has been very speedy and also friendly.
Hope you and yours are well!
Hi Daisy….thanx for the info, and will have a look, and hopefully order from them…..I am into and have now completed my first week of my own challenge as playing nurse…..not a game I would wish on anyone, but I am learning and dh is starting to improve…..I think!
I would have taken part in your challenge if things were a bit different….but in a way, as I have not been able to leave the house for the past 8 days, I guess in a way, I am challenging myself, and think I would be ok for a month…(as long as I don’t run out of potatoes and other veggies, as dh requires these twice a day.. take care, CC
CC ~ If you ever want to talk you can reach me at [email protected]
Hang in there – being a caregiver is hugely challenging.
Sadly, the mayor of New York decided to donate $345 million to John Hopkins while his fellow New Yorkers are freezing and without water. Go figure.
Plans for a simple homemade well water pump (or premade for a higher price) are available from woodhenge community, not sure the website, but if you look up woodhenge adams ny you’ll find them. thats my biggest concern should the power go out for extended periods, with a well. Have to play around and see if our solar panel can power our existing pump. Old rv’s have great dc pumps we’ve used in the past on a cistern system, not sure if they have the power to pull from a deep drilled well. We have a water source 1/4 mile in the woods, not that accessible in 3+ feet of snow in cny. these past few storms the east coast has had have been pretty crazy with very high winds, higher here than when sandy came through. You’d really hope that people in NY NJ would wisen up after sandy, and all the crazy storms we’ve had since. Crazy to see how the jet stream is stretching down the rockies into the country where usually it hit the mnts and stays north till it get to the great lakes….I forsee real serious weather ahead, and hope my fellow nyer’s learn from these lessons and prepare as best they can. Our taxes will most certainly rise to cover the costs of rebuilding and aid to those downstate who didn’t heed serious warnings, while the power companies that took its sweet time to bring the grid back online will make some sort of profit from others despair. sad sad sad.
I was just in jersey this weekend for an organic farmers conference, (sadly this meant i couldn’t fulfill the stockpile challenge all the way, and ate lots of junk enroute, but did bring some jams and pickles to munch on for the drive)
At this conference one of the biggest things being discussed was recovering from sandy, chopping endless wood, and providing donated wood both for heat and rebuilding and food to those in need in their state, and ny. Such a hard working crew, while the beneficiaries of their kindness sit on their hands awaiting govt assistance, rather than rolling up their sleeves, and helping those who are actually helping them….
Beth – sadly, I agree that it doesn’t appear that very many people learned a lesson. The good folks who prep had their beliefs confirmed and will continue to prep but I despair for many of the others. I have some friends in the area and as soon as the lights came on, as the darkness went away, so did their resolve to be better prepared in the future. 🙁 I can honestly say that they did not learn one thing.
This may fall on deaf ears, but it must be said. Please, please, please if at all possible move far inland away from the coastal areas of USA or anywhere for that matter. At least 200 miles to be safe.