DC Disaster Debacle and our Fragile Electrical Grid

by Survival Diva on July 12, 2012

I messed up!  If you’re looking for the “Buying Bugout Property On The Cheap” article, I sent the wrong link.  You want to go here: secretsofurbansurvival.com/1527/buying-bugout-property-on-the-cheap/

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you this week by Jeff Anderson’s “Collapse Survival Secrets.” If you haven’t yet, I want to strongly suggest that you check it out. He’s slashed the price on it this week and is including “Flash Mob Survival” as a free bonus. With the sheer volume of flash mobs that have been happening, including flash mobs of 40, 200, and 300! people THIS WEEK, this is incredibly timely and valuable information. To find out more, go to SurviveInPlace.com/survivesocialchaos

It’s Survival Diva, fired up about the recent electrical grid crash in DC, how it happened, and what we can do, personally, to prepare.

It been painfully obvious that our decision makers inside the DC beltway don’t have a clue how to protect the American people in times of disaster. Some would argue they don’t care. At the very least, they have proven their privileged lifestyle has left them disconnected from the plight of the average American and light years away from the meaning of an effective preparedness plan.

At the same time, David works with several disaster response professionals from the DC area who know what they’re doing, have “been there and done that,” know what we, as a country need to do to prepare, but who are hamstrung by DC politics and forced to implement plans that they know won’t work as well as they should.  

Our current policy makers tell us they are the smartest, the best educated, the most able-bodied to handle national emergencies. With the summer storm that hit the East Coast on June 30, 2012, crashing the electrical grid and bringing punishing temperatures in the triple digits, the only plan they put into action was to call a state of emergency—which was done at the speed of light. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with decades of disasters, calling a state of emergency does not bring relief to those afflicted. It does fill the piggy bank, though.

Few on the Hill possess the skillsets to hunt and fish for their food, or garden and preserve its overflow and it’s highly unlikely they have food and preparedness goods put aside–unless they are one of the few deemed important enough who will be whisked away to a private location, complements of a concerned government. How then, when they are clueless about basic survival (other than rushing to a Howard Johnson’s), can we believe we can place our personal welfare in their hands? 

The Chasm between Us

Consider this; the DC Metro area enjoys lower unemployment rates and higher average salaries than most of the rest of the country.  People working for the government oftentimes do the same work as their counterparts in the private sector, but they receive bigger salaries and more benefits.

But it appears the rule of “Not in My Backyard” was employed with the recent East Coast storms when a state of emergency was called directly after the devastation of power outages to more than 3 million, and with it extreme heat. Compare that to the Joplin tornados, which called a state of emergency DAYS later after a reported 348 deaths in numerous states occurred. It seems clear that our elected officials are more willing to declare an emergency quickly when it happens close to home.

(David’s note:  The importance of this can’t be overstated.  This disaster happened in the back yards of the people who are planning emergency response protocols for the rest of the country.  They reacted FAST, threw the full force of local, state, and federal resources at the problem.  They have well funded, trained, and equipped CERT teams and volunteer groups and it STILL took over a week to restore power in some areas.  NOBODY can afford to trust others to take care of them and you absolutely must do what you can as an individual, family, and neighborhood to prepare for breakdowns in infrastructure and supply chains.)

We only have to look at the warnings that were given to our leaders about how fragile the power grid is, which were ignored, to understand their complacency with regards to the public’s welfare. Eric J. Lerner points out in his article in The Industrial Physicist, experts like former utility executive John Casazzu had warned “Blackout risks will be increased” if plans for the deregulation of electrical power was implemented.

Lerner goes on to explain the U.S. electrical grid is one huge machine, co-dependent, and made up of only three grids with a handfull of interconnects: The East covering the Eastern two-thirds of the country; the Western encompassing most of the rest of the US and Canada, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas covering much of Texas. We are now seeing the results of our leader’s not heeding the advice of experts as Mother Nature.  Add to that the fact that we’re in a period of increased solar activity, and you start to see how vulnerable the entire country is to a situation like what happened in DC.

(David’s note:  Most people try to ignore how vulnerable our power infrastructure is.  Preparations for Electromagnetic Pulses from Coronal Mass Ejections is a prime example.  Many people don’t know that we had an X class solar flare last week and another one on Thursday the 12th.  The one that happened on the 12th was facing the Earth and the resulting CME (coronal mass ejection) will hit Earth on Saturday, July 14th in the morning in the US.  This one will probably not do much besides interrupting some communications, but we all need to be prepared for larger and more destructive solar activity as we become more dependent on sensitive electronic equipment for everyday life.)

Progression of the East Coast Storms & What We Can Learn From It

When the storm hit the Eastern Coast on Saturday June 30, 2012 it toppled trees, and rendered swatches of the U.S. without power. Reports of sweltering homes, spoiled food, street light outages, and disrupted services to a reported 3 million people. Soon, their concerns turned to anger over the lack of response to repair the electrical grid…while the mercury climbed. In fact by June 24, 2012 there were a staggering 1,900 heat records reported.

Problem: At the onset of the disaster, the biggest concern during the power outage while the mercury continued to climb was the health risk it posed; especially to the sick and the elderly and to infants. David Morris discusses measures you can take to combat extreme heat in his post Surviving Extreme Heat and Power Outages. Listed below is but one of David’s insightful recommendations.

Solution # 1: First, we’ve got sweating. Our bodies rely, in large part, on sweat evaporating off of the skin to cool the body. You want to give the body the tools it needs to be able to sweat as it sees fit.

If you take medication that interferes with sweating or is a diuretic, then you’ll have a harder time sweating.

If you don’t drink enough water, you won’t sweat as much as you need to. I like to drink as cold of water as I can.  Some will go back and forth with me on whether you’re better off drinking cold water or room temperature water…I drink it cold when I have the option.

If you consume sugar, caffeine, or alcohol, you will need to drink more water or you won’t sweat as much as you need to.

Your sweat contains salt and minerals. If you don’t replace them, your body will enter a low salt state called hyponatremia. When you’re in this state, you feel like you want to die. I would gladly have the worst flu conditions that I’ve ever had for a week than hyponatremia for a day.

All of these factors are more pronounced for the extremely young, extremely old, and people who are chronically ill.

By Saturday, July 1, 2012 as reported, in part, by Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press: Some Virginia suburbs of Washington, emergency 911 call centers were out of service; residents were told to call local police and fire departments. Cell phone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water until sewage plants returned to power.

Brooke Richart, a 26-year-old teacher from New York City, said she was among the stuck passengers (Amtrak Passenger transportation was gridlocked due to downed trees). “We tried to walk up the side of the mountain to see if anyone could get cell service. We didn’t have cell service the entire time we were down there,” she said.

Problem: Spotty cell landline and cell phone coverage and reduced emergency services capabilities.

Solution: As discussed in the recent post Get Started With Life-Saving Medical Supplies, it is important to set aside medical supplies and first aid reference books to refer to for a time you find yourself stranded without emergency services. You should take a first aid and CPR training course, so in an emergency, you will be confident helping others.

Although it is possible that land line and cellular phones might work during a disaster, it is always wise to make alternate plans. Be sure to discuss alternate plans to meet up if away from home. There may be circumstances where your neighborhood takes a direct hit and evacuations of your area become mandatory (such as the recent wildfires in Colorado). Choose an alternate meeting place, away from your immediate area, and practice dry meet-up runs with loved ones.

Choose an alternate contact person outside your immediate area, who is unlikely to have experienced the same calamity. Everyone should have this persons phone number with them at all times. If a loved one becomes separated, they may be able to get messages to the contact person, provided communications are still operable.

By July 2, 3 days after the storm hit, over two million people were still without power while utility companies waited for extra crews to arrive from as far as Quebec and Oklahoma to clear downed trees, broken electrical equipment, and downed power lines before they began the task of restoring power. The death toll by July 2 had reached 22 by some reports.

By now officials concerns were not concentrated solely focused on the sick and elderly, but “widespread use of generators run in enclosed spaces, leading to further deaths.”

Problem: CO Poisoning from running generators in enclosed spaces.

Solution: Generators must always be run outdoors, where fumes and poisonous CO cannot collect in living spaces. BBQ’s also emit deadly CO gas. They should never be run indoors, under any circumstance. Camp stoves can be used indoors during a power outage, but only with proper ventilation such as open windows. It is important to keep CO detectors in your home, to warn you if dangerous levels of CO are building in living spaces. CO is a silent killer.

By July 8, power has not been restored to 2 million people. In order to handle the heat, residents by the 9 day mark have emptied stores of bottled water and must try to replace spoiled food. However, grocer’s shelves are sparse. At this point in time, the media reports have dwindled as they turn their attention to “fresh” news, leaving millions of people without power to struggle on their own.

The process of restoring power has been slow while repair crews are overwhelmed by the scope of the devastation. The biggest problem, some may argue, is the public’s naivety of not having provisions put aside for emergencies as they wait for relief.

Problem: Food shortages and spoiled food due to lack of refrigeration.

Solution: Preparedness should start with easy to consume meals such as canned goods and MRE’s. They give you time to come to grips with an emergency as you ease into your preparedness plan while performing damage control for whatever calamity has occurred.

Depending upon your living conditions, you will want to put aside either a good supply of canned goods, or MRE’s, or if you have the room; long shelf life bulk goods, stored in buckets with tight fitting lids. The food should be stored in Mylar bags or Glad bags that do not treat their bags with pesticides.

If you have a bit of land or an area under your home available, consider a root cellar or a cold room.

If you live in a year round warm climate, root cellars and cold rooms may not be effective. But, you can make your own clay pot refrigeration (sometimes called zeer clay pot refrigeration). This method has been used for centuries to keep food cool. Instructions; Start with a large, porous terra cotta clay pot. Insert a second pot –glazed is preferable to keep liquid from penetrating to your stored food. Fill the gap between the larger, porous pot and the smaller, glazed pot with wet sand.  Store food in the smaller glazed pot, and cover with a wet towel to keep heat and sunlight out.

David’s note:  You can and should add water bottles to your freezer and/or refrigerator when the power is working.  Not only will this make them more efficient by providing thermal mass and keeping items cooler when you open and close the doors often, it will also keep items cooler for longer when the power goes out.

Remember, this happened in DC after a freak storm.  Not after an earthquake, tsunami, volcano, hurricane, terrorist attack, or solar flare/CME, but a freak storm.  This area got attacked on 9/11 and people still weren’t prepared.  That means that we need to be incredibly diligent in getting ourselves prepared and encouraging others around us to do the same.  If you haven’t gone through them yet, I want to strongly encourage you to go through my www.SurviveInPlace.com course, my www.FastestWayToPrepare.com course, and SurvivalDiva’s book, “Survival.”

So, what lessons did you learn from watching what happened in DC?  Have you made any changes to the timing of your plan?  How about the increase in X class solar flares—Have they made you accelerate your planning?  Are you buying anything “just in case”?  Share your thoughts by commenting below:


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{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1dave b
July 13, 2012 at 5:35 am

thank you for reminding me about the terra cotta food cooler. i remember learning about those over a decade ago when i took ceramics as an elective. a clever inexpensive way to keep important items cool.


Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy Kosling
July 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Looking at a YouTube clip of the Zeer pot, and your reminder fills one of my greatest needs when the lights go out… keeping my insulin at 45 degrees F. Food, water, long term storage is done and keep filling up my storage when there are sales or my currant news makes my heart beat faster. My alternate lights are my parents oil lamps. Alternate cooking – charcoal, propane, well dried wood. I keep seeds and garden tools and as a renigade gardener have sweet potatoes everywhere (they just look like pretty flowering plants.) Thanks for the reminders. With our modern lifestyle, I will miss the Internet communication and news if we get hit with too many solar flares.


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1RobertsonsFFA
July 13, 2012 at 6:05 am

I’m concerned about solar flares and EMP’s because I think what occured early this July probably pales to an EMP attack, whether it is natural or man made.

If an EMP attack occured many or most sensitive electronic devices, unless shielded with a faraday cage would probably be fried up. That’s why I think that we should consider non-electric devices and tools for preparation.

Recently, our group has been investigating Earthships as a self-contained off grid system that can keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, since it utilizes passive solar heat with south facing windows. It is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter due to thermal mass of the man made walls (earth jammed recycled tires) and it being dug below the freeze line. For more info look up Michael Reynolds website on Earthships at: http://www.earthship.com

The folks at the Earthships website still rely on alternative energy such as solar and wind, however, I thought that other systems could be implemented such as methane gas digester or biogas for heating and cooking needs. (in case of EMP)

Two other sources that I like to check out on non-electronic tools is Lehman’s or Amazon.com. If the Amish don’t require electricity for daily living, I think that we can adapt and survive not to require electricity. That being said, if someone could rediscover Tesla’s secret, then we wouldn’t need to rely on the electric company before an EMP were to occour.

Just my 2 nickles worth of info. 😉


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

As David mentioned in the post, an X-class flare is headed our way tomorrow morning. If satellite services are disrupted, that’s one thing. A Carrington Event is a another!

I completely agree with your suggestion of having manual tools and will add here: Manual wheat grinder for those with stored wheat and corn. Have back-up when planning on a generator to handle cooking, lighting and refrigeration needs. They’re a wonderful convenience, but are good only until fuel runs out! Also, when looting is rampant, they are not safe to run–unless you’ve planned for a quiet method to run them.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 3:15 am

Diva, if a disruption goes on long enough you will run out of whatever you’ve stored – unless you can make, grow, or raise it. If an ‘Event’ goes on two weeks, why not a month? A month, why not six months?

Old discussion: short-term vs long-term and bug-in vs bug-out. Everyone will do as they think best for their situation. The methane digesters (7 MM in China during last 35 years) need a fixed base but after the first 30 days produce what is essential a propane substitute – 15% of slurry volume per day (and pathogen free fertilizer). The Chinese determined 10 cubic ft will handle one person’s cooking and lighting (lanterns) needs for that day.

The question for short-term is survival. The question for long-term is standard of living. Personally, I want to retain as much of the knowledge-base (both lo-tech and hi-tech) as possible and work towards the highest standard of living I can achieve for family, friends, and community.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm

That’s true! If a crisis is long-lasting, few of us have the room to store more than a years’ worth of food…if that. With so many in my group, 1 year is all that is manageable. Chickens (many urban settings allow them) and Heirloom garden seed and the means to preserve the overflow will help. And having a book on edible wild foods is good! Most include healing herbs as well.
Thank you for the tip on methane digesters. Hope everyone here decides to check it out–I certainly am. If you have a site that explains it to those of us who are “technically challenged”, that would help ( :


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Flare results can vary. March 9-13, 1989 event (about 33% of the 1859 event) which knocked down the power grid (within 90 seconds) leaving 6 million without power for 9 hours in Quebec Province and parts of the US.

Some debate as to exactly when the next peak or maximum will occur. Estimates range from September 2012 through May 2014 (see charts at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/ ). Solar Flares may occur at any time but there seem to be more and larger ones at the end of a cycle.


Vote -1 Vote +1SonOfSam
July 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I am wondering: is a car’s outer body an effective faraday cage? Because if this were the case, then it might sense to store backup electronics inside our vehicles


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
July 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

A car would probably not be your best faraday cage. To test this take a battery powered radio, turn it on with the volume high, and put it inside your container. If it is receiving a signal it will be hit by an EMP. What ever you settle on make sure that you insulate the electronic item from the metal container. Failure to do so can cause the faraday cage to act as an antenna which would totally foul up your plans. Some suggest a metal trash can with a cardboard liner for insulation. Try this link for EMP info.



Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 2:46 am

Robertsons, excellen!


Vote -1 Vote +1JJM
July 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

EMP attack would be the most severe and damaging. Solar Storms are definitely worth being concerned about. The next 12 months are expected to be abnormally high activity levels. I subscribe to for warnings on my GPS survey operations. Latest (and only for past couple weeks) is a moderate threat level:
Space Weather Message Code: WARK06
Serial Number: 199
Issue Time: 2012 Jul 14 1914 UTC
WARNING: Geomagnetic K-Index of 6 expected
Valid From: 2012 Jul 14 1915 UTC
Valid To: 2012 Jul 14 2359 UTC
Warning Condition: Onset
NOAA Scale: G2 – Moderate
NOAA Space Weather Scale descriptions can be found at
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 55 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents – Power grid fluctuations can occur. High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms.
Spacecraft – Satellite orientation irregularities may occur; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites is possible.
Radio – HF (high frequency) radio propagation can fade at higher latitudes.
Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as New York to Wisconsin to Washington state.


Vote -1 Vote +1JJM
July 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Subscription site at


Vote -1 Vote +1JJM
July 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm
+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Rocky
July 13, 2012 at 6:29 am

I highly recommend multiple fuel stoves.

Propane, Colman Fuel, Charcoal, and wood.

I have and old Coleman cook stove dual fuel and a Volcano plus a couple of hiking cook stoves, and last but not least my LP grill

Be safe, the life you save may be your own.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

You’re recommendation is spot on!


Vote -1 Vote +1Jon
July 20, 2012 at 5:28 am

Don’t forget your generator. For less than $200 you can get a kit to modify your generator to allow it to use gasoline, propane or natural gas. In many cases, propane is easier and safer to store than gas. I also got an attachment so I can run my cookstove and lantern from a propane tank.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ron C
July 13, 2012 at 7:34 am

I live in Alexandria, VA (DC area). No power for 6 days. Generally I was ok, able to bug out to a friends house about 1 hour away. Never lost water service, never needed to tap into my canned supplies. Only issue was the heat. Spent one evening in the house temp over, 90. I used my first aid kit ice packs to stay cool while sleeping. Lucky I could take many showers to stay cool as well. Didn’t need to break into stored water supply. Issues now lost about $1000 in food due to lack of ICE and refrigeration. Hint above about adding water bottles to your freezer bought me one extra day, however no power for several days food still spoiled. Two windows damged by storm and one when I put my elbow through window trying to open stuck window, First aid kit was handy and used, cut on arm about 2 inces long. 911 service down, I teach First Aid so wasn’t to concerened. House plants died due to heat even with watering.

Now thinking about storing even more water, even if I didn’t use my stored water. It would have been my major concern due to heat. Thinking about a generator and fuel storage as well.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

It helps everyone on the forum to hear first hand what you experienced…there’s nothing like a real emergency to open up any cracks in a preparedness plan.

If you have a yard, some folks bury steel drums in the ground, and cover it with a piece of wood for easy access. It is a safe way to store it. Gas stabilizer/extender is important to add for storage life. A diesel-run generator isn’t a bad idea–diesel stores for up to 5 years.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 3:21 am

Ron, 25 lbs of dry ice (if you can get it) will buy a 10 cubic ft chest type freezer 3 days. Handle w/ thick, dry glolves.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
July 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

While you guys were going thru the storm problems, we here in Central Utah were going thru the wildfires. Lost electricty the first day, off for a total of eight. Thought everything would be ok as we have two generators and plenty of fuel. As I am a firefighter and needless to say not home much, my wife learned how to operate the generator. As I was only getting about 3 hours of sleep per night, had to keep the generator going during the night to operate the fans. Went thru 25 gallons of gas in eight days! Wow, next time I will use the small Honda generator at night and save a ton of fuel. Wasn’t as bad as Colorado, but we did loose about 62 homes, another 100 structures and one life. Folks, when you are told of a mandatory evacuation, just go. Surviving in place is not a real good idea when the fuels are tinder dry and the fire runs as fast as this one did. What did I learn from this disaster? More fuel, less generator. Never had to touch our food supply and my wife and daughter did just fine.


Vote -1 Vote +1CK
July 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm

My freezer went out last week with out warning, we lost a few hundred dollars worth of food. We now have a plan to bottle all the meat we have in the freezer rather than let it spoil. We bought 40 lbs of chicken on sale a few months ago and bottled half and froze half of it, we have also bottled stew meat, roast, ham, and hamburger. We really like the bottled meat its convenient and delicious much better than the canned meat. So just a thought if you have a warning of the power going out, you can save all the meat at least. If you purchase a pressure cooker and supplies it would pay for itself really fast if you saved a freezer full of meat, not even counting the savings over buying canned meat.


Vote -1 Vote +1Debbie
July 13, 2012 at 8:03 am

I feel like my life is constantly in preparedness. I have one MAJOR concern. I live in the country side with a water well. Can anyone recommend a hand pump to buy that the tubing runs alongside the present water pipe? I see hundreds offered but I have no idea what to buy. I don’t have a lot of money to spend so it has to be dependable yet affordable. Our well is approx. 60′ deep. What kind would anyone suggest? What else do I need to buy to complete hookup? Thank you! Deb PS, Also, is there any of you living in Western NY? I’m trying to find like-minded folks in my area to converse with.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

You are VERY lucky your well depth is only 60 feet! Mine is 260 feet ) :

There isn’t an easy answer to your question. If you live in the NY area, you likely get freezing temps, which means you’ll need a frost-free model. After I researched what was out there (I live in North Idaho where it freezes in winter) and searched other peoples recommendations, I ended up purchasing a manual Simple Pump–hand pump. They do have power-run for those with a generator or solar panels, also. They cost $1,500–took nearly a year of saving up to finally get one! If you’re in the same boat, go to Lehman’s and purchase their water cylinder for around $50. It is narrow and holds close to two gallons of water at a time. It works by lowering into the well by a rope. That way, if you must save up for a manual, frost free hand pump, at least you’ll have something while you save aside.

If your water has to be run through a purification system (I say this because mine is full of iron), you will need a good water purifier, like a Berkey or a Katadyn. The Burkey is around $300, but it’s a lifesaver!


Vote -1 Vote +1Debbie
July 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Thank YOU for filling me in! My brother-in-law claims there are pumps that raise the water only half way and hold it there so it doesn’t freeze, but he didn’t know what its called. Again, thanks for responding!


Vote -1 Vote +1Great Grey
July 14, 2012 at 2:44 am

Debbie what is often done to keep a deep well (one with the pump in the water) from freezing is, a small hole (1/16″ – 1/8″) is drilled in to the lift pipe a foot or 2 below the frost line. That way it will drain to below the frost line but you won’t have to pump a lot of water to refill the pipe. For those with suction (shallow well) pumps they make some that will drain back when you leave the pump in the full up position.


Vote -1 Vote +1Great Grey
July 14, 2012 at 4:58 am

PS a hole smaller then an 1/8″ may plug up. also don’t use on pressurized system unless it is designed to handle air that will be introduced to the system.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jack
July 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

Debbie, You might consider just drilling a small hole (1/8″ should work) in the side of the tube located about 3 feet below ground level instead of worrying about frost free. This would let the water in the tube drain down to below the frost line. Since this is not a pressurised line, I can’t think of any reason that this would not work.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jack
July 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

Sorry folks,didn’t see the other comments suggesting the same fix. Maybe the moderator will catch it.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
July 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Actually, Jack, many people skim the comments so when a solid thought–like what you provided–shows up, we keep both. Thanks!


Vote -1 Vote +1edd
July 20, 2012 at 8:40 am

AMDG Debbie I am one from WNY and a newbie at this I have a place in the urban part and have been looking for a rural place for years- where taxes are not too high. We have started saving for disaztor protection but are stepping it up. With all the plaes we hae loked at with wells I am very interested in a response to your question.

Alos looking for like minded people in our area.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
July 13, 2012 at 8:09 am

After talking with some of my local folks after Hurricane Ike it is the main Electrical Trunk that gets first attention and then they have a priority list, hospitals and such. But the regular ol Joe’s home is far down on that list unless you have some clout. A good rule of thumb that I was told is 7 days before power is restored. If you plan on using a generator that is alot of fuel for 7 days….Better be thinking a tri-fuel generator..


Vote -1 Vote +1tim
July 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

and this is the same govt that said have 3 days of food,water,and shelter at a minimum. practice what you preach.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Debbie
July 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

Keep up with running disaster scenarios. I’ll tell you why. I feel I’m ‘pretty well’ prepared for emergencies. At least I did until three weeks ago, Sunday AM when we woke to find our refrigerator not working and almost all the food in the freezer half thawed. We couldn’t get a technician to look at it until the next Wed, which meant all our food would be spoiled. My husband got excited, which in turn got me excited, and it wasn’t until that AFTERNOON, we both calmed down enough to think the situation through rationally. We LOST approx SIX hours panicking about the cost to replace that food, instead of CONCENTRATING on finding a solution. Hubby remembered we had two camping refrigs which he brought up, hooked up and we were able to put all refrigerated items in-no lost food cost. I called my sister-in-law a few towns away and she was more than pleased to let us store two coolers worth of frozen food in her freezer. Again, NO LOST COST. Lesson that got hammered home; practice drills, write lists of solutions for any given scenario. Do NOT let your spouse panic you!


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Enjoyed your description about concentrating/solving the problem instead of stressing. There are untold possibilities here, and they all have a better outcome when there’s a game plan.

I found that out one day three years ago when my sister in law and brother were visiting. Had just had a large shed delivered to store tools, canning supplies and many life-saving preparedness goods. I asked her “What if suddenly some wild-eyed guy showed up with a tire-iron, wanting to break into this shed? What would you do?” She looked at me, clearly at a loss. “I don’t know,” she finally said.

“What if that same guy had a gun tucked into his jeans and he looked a lot like Charles Manson, wild-eyed and clearly dangerous?” I asked. Her answer? “I don’t know.”

It became clear to me we should have had a game plan for the group for EVERY situation. Otherwise, we could be wasting time, arguing what to do. My brother solved the question with one look that said it all.

As you said, we must do dry runs for different contingencies, so we’ll work as one–no hesitation, no stress, just action.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Mona
July 13, 2012 at 10:02 am

Living in the far burbs of DC, and a heavily affected area, I learned that matters are getting worse instead of better. And we lived closer to DC on 9/11 with hubby having an up close and personal view that day. Even those with generators had no AC during our 5 day outage with 100* temps. There was NO gvt help, we are on our own people! It was a good drill for me, I learned my holes. It was a good mental exercise too since it was sudden. I was able to see my family’s reactions since they believe modern amenities will also be there. Our calvary was light and tree companies coming in, not gvt help.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

Then the emergency was a blessing in disguise. Your family was able to discover holes in your emergency plan and know NOT to expect help when it’s needed. Now, while your putting aside stored food and goods, they’ll probably help you organize it…without the eye roll ( :


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1fred
July 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

Good advice on terra cotta – simple things work best. Heres a similar story- same lessons learned- San Diego/SoCal blackout six months ago was only 12 hours, but at the time everyone expected it to last 2-3 days and people freaked- driving on side walks, paying $200 for a gallon of gas to get home.
The cell towers defaulted to 911 priority traffic, so no calls available for awhile. TV and Internet out of course as home power out, and with no “Iphone” access, people freaked about that- and forgot the basics- your car still works, and the radio works too.
However – only one of the designated AM emergency broadcast radio stations was online, while many of the FM stations continued with regular music and pre-recorded stuff, including the local PBS tax payer supported liberal format station.

As it turns out, a little bit of searching found one station (a conservative format) with a host who stayed on air, taking calls, and updates from local residents about when power was restored, and advice. Lesson learned, dont depend on Uncle Sugar to save you – instead be prepared and look for others like you, for just like the 2004 and 2008 wildfires, it was a grass-roots up network of self-reliant and calm citizens who stepped up and worked together that provided the most info, and most relief to those seeking it.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Katrina was a FAILURE for FEMA, the indesicive LA Governor, the New Orleans Mayor hiding out in the upper floors of a hotel, and the people. They actually had a decent Emergency Plan which the Mayor diidn’t implememt – and he still got reelected.

However, it DID get people of various agencies talking to one another – and finding out who they really needed to talk to for things to get done on the ground. Whether the lesson sticks is open to debate.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

$200 a gallon gas!!!! People have lost their survival sense…to forget to try their car radio. Hmmm


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tom
July 13, 2012 at 11:28 am

If this country is going to endure black-outs, then D.C. is a great place to start.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David ( Stormydave )
July 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

Thanks for not sending me a video, God bless. Love your stuff


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

To All Impacted by the storms/power outage

I’m curious…were grocer’s shelves empty? Was bottled water still available? What about traffic? Was there grid lock, or were you able to travel fairly normally? Was there looting, or a higher crime rate being reported?

Media coverage was spotty to say the least. There were few reports on specifics, other than to say grocer’s shelves were sparse and bottle water was “difficult” to find. Difficult could mean impossible. There were no reports of crime, yet I tend to believe crime would have increased, based on what often occurs during a disaster.


Vote -1 Vote +1Missy
July 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

The biggest things here were gas was gone in two days even with the owner of the station rationing ($25 limit per customer) ice, and water. I live in central WV and more people here are at least somewhat prepared as a matter of course. We were short on gas although I had 40 gallons in my van and we had 10 gallons in cans. We were very lucky in that my husband works at the little gas station 1 mile down the road. Their generator wasn’t big enough to pump gas so we loaned them ours and another employee loaned us a smaller one to run our fridge and freezers. It wasn’t big enough and we had to alternate what we ran but it kept us from losing our food. Even when the station quit selling gas to the public we were able to get gas. We were out 4 days here with others in our area were out 14 days! Most stations ran out of gas and lines were crazy. And this was really rather minor compared to what can happen. I was ready to start canning meat from the freezers because of the expense of running the generator. I really want to become less dependent on those freezers! We were hot but we did pretty good. We also have natural gas which was a lifesaver but we’ll be moving soon and may not have it at our new place. I’ll have a wood stove for cooking and heating. I don’t like depending on the grid.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Thank you for your heads up. Having gas put aside is huge, especially while adjusting to a grid down. Manual backup is a good thing for when fuel runs out ( :
Having the gas available is a biggie–your report of 14 days out at the gas station is a good reminder.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1texastwin827
July 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

It’s interesting to see the comments, in regards to this article. As a person who lives in a Gulf Coast state, I have only had one hurricane experience, however, but my sister has dealt with Rita & Ike as both went through rural East Texas. Because they are rural, when Rita came through, they had no electricity for THIRTY DAYS and were without for a week, with Ike. Few realize that Ike was the 2nd worst hurricane (in terms of damage) to ever his the US…and yes, he topped Katrina. Both storms hit in Sept…one of our hottest months when temps average in the 90 to 100’s which, coupled with the increased humidity from a hurricane, makes for a miserable short term existance!

In most cases, it is the individual state that responds….FEMA is a joke. They will show up with some ice (and not usually enough to make a big difference) and maybe some food in the major cities, effected, for their “photo ops” to show how well they are prepared (Not) . In Texas, because we are a “veteran” of hurricanes, it is our Texas National Guard that comes through with the ice & MRE’s. In fact, our state guard was ready to go into LA, after Katrina, and were prohibited from doing so, for a long time, by FEMA!

There is little you can do but suffer with the heat after the power goes down, until it’s repaired. Our normal Texas weather, in peak hurricane season, is what the folks in the NE is what we experience, so I’d like to make 2 suggestions, that is “standard” operation, down here.

1. If your local weather is telling you about a MAJOR storm that is coming through…FILL YOU BATHTUBS, IMMMEDIATELY. Of course, it’s better to clean them before you do but if you don’t have time to do so, just fill it! An average size tub holds about 50 gallons of water. Always keep a bottle of unscented Clorax, on hand to sterilize water (and know how to do it. The info is found on their website). Keep in mind, that chlorine (in the Clorax) is toxic so it is better to make sure that any drinking water that is sterilized in this manner sits in an open container, for at least 24 hrs, to allow the chlorine to evaporate. That does not mean you can’t drink it, just that you should not do so, OVER A LONG PERIOD of time, without airing it. If you don’t lose electricity, and have water, at the worst, all you have lost is 1 tub of water.

3. Make a habit to have, on hand, non-perishable foods, that your family will eat. Meats=Canned Tuna, Chicken, Vienna Sausuages, Spam etc Coupled with canned veggies, they can be eaten cold, if need be (although I can’t imagine eating cold Spam…but it can be grilled :-))

2. Food that is defrosting can be grilled, to extend it’s “life”. Granted ice is required to save it, however, if you can manage to cook it and obtain at least one bag of ice, per day, it can provide meals, safely, for several days. One should always have the means to grill this food! If you live in an apt, etc where there is not room for a large outdoor grill, buy a “tabletop” sized one and keep on hand, charcoal & Lighter. Above all, do not use any grill (or a gas generator) in doors! Each time a hurricane comes through, we hear of people dying from the poisonous fumes from generators or grills because they used them, indoors. I’m sure many of those who die from generators thought they were keeping the generator “safe” from theft.

Make yourself familiar with Hurricane Prepardness procedures…then increase the time frame they suggest, by at least a week.


Vote -1 Vote +1Debbie
July 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Also, if you believe electric loss will be long term, (if you have one) can as much up as possible. Its what I’d planned on doing if my sister-in-law had no room in her freezer when our refrig died. Like you said, if your tubs full of water, you’d have plenty to drink, plus have enough to can up veggies, berries etc. Pressure canned beef, deer, pork, bear etc require no added water. Chicken, turkey, rabbit, fish require minimal water to can.


Vote -1 Vote +1texastwin827
July 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Sorry for all the typos…am visiting my daughter and using my granddaughter’s laptop….which seems to have a mind of it’s own!


Vote -1 Vote +1Gulfcoast Gal
July 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

To texastwin827:

Mr. Sledge will fix any machine with an attitude. lol

Hope you are fairing well with the week-long deluge we’ve gotten. This isn’t even a tropical storm; however, people, livestock and pets have been left scrambling for high ground with little warning. My heart goes out to all who “lost everything” in the floods.

What does my heart good is to see “ordinary people” banding together to address water rescues. One riding stable awoke to find horses in their barn neck-deep in still rising water. The word went out, and so many neighbors on higher ground drove their personal stock trailers to the rescue in the middle of a trecherous night. They risked their own lives, wading in to lead the horses out of the barn. God love ’em. One neighbor volunteered to shelter 20 of the horses. The rest found temporary shelter at Sam Houston Race Track.

On the human side, we already see individuals coming to the rescue with food, water, dry clothing, etc. Neighbors banding together to help neighbors trumps FEMA any day of the week.

What troubles me are the parents who let their children go out to play in the flood waters. Even if the children aren’t swept away or sucked down a storm sewer, they are exposed to really nasty bacteria, water moccasins (ill-tempered, aggressive snakes on a good day), giant floating mounds of very angry fire ants, and even an occasional alligator.

PLEASE… If you have to wade to high ground, that’s one thing. But don’t let the kids out to play in flood waters, even if they’re 30 years old. –G.G.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

We just had a flash flood (Lake Havasu City, AZ) last night. One of my neighbor’s relatives was drowned. He drove into maybe 2′ of moving water and it rolled his pickup several times. His two passengers got out but he didn’t. Later that evening a Phoenix TV station showed some Havasu videos from around town. One had a station wagon parked uphill w/ 18″ water coming down the street. Accross the street you could see a 300 lb motorcycle moving down the street faster than a normal waking pace. Less than 1′ of moving water can knock a man off his feet.


Vote -1 Vote +1Beth
July 20, 2012 at 7:57 am

I was wondering where you were located–we share the same name but there are very few in our area left (Indiana).


Vote -1 Vote +1Gulfcoast Gal
July 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Sorry, it took so long to respond. Texas Gulf Coast area.


Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
July 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hi Diva, My in-laws were not affected but three miles away a friend of my mother-in-law was the only one to stay in her condo. Some of the other condo owners had their places looted.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Thank you for the feedback. It’s sad but not a surprise. The media must have chosen to leave that part out. Unfortunately, we need to be prepared for these folks if they come around in a disaster.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rosabel
July 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Thank you everyone for some excellent advice that I will save for future needs. As a decendent of WWII and before we even had electricity in my town, I intend to fall back on how we lived before we had any modern utilities. A boat once a month to this island was our only outside contact, so families had to be very self reliant. We wish these ‘events’ didn’t happen, but since they do, it is the wise ones who will endure.
Keep safe, and God Bless!


Vote -1 Vote +1Andrew
July 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm

First I want to say I subscribed to your newsletter a while back when I ran across this site and I enjoy the information and wanted to contribute a little with my story. I live in Alexandria right next to DC and was actually in the city June 29th for my birthday when the storm hit. Forutnatly I had begun prepping a few months ago on a budget. By this time I had a BoB that is fairly well equiped, emergency foods, and water. I was in a position of power when there was none in my apartment. I had a hand crank radio and thus was comforted by news reports of how repairs were going, light from my kerosene lantern, and food (fortunatly we didnt loss water). But this emergency also tought me some of its failings (such as cash since atms were ofline and stores would only take cash even after the power was back cause they didnt have internet connectivity) which I will improve. Emergency services were overwhelmed (sirens were going by my place constantly), gunshots were fired fairly close to my building, and grocery stores were running out of food (they also put their meat in freezers in the back that ran off generators so no one could buy it). My sister made the best point when she said “I cant imagine what this would be like if people were actually in a panic…” because everyone was calm, complacent, and waiting for it to just be fixed. Thank God Im a prepper and thank you for the work you and your family try to provide those that will listen and I plan to buy your full course once the prepping budget allows.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

You mentioned one of the most important items in a prepper’s arsenal–a hand crank radio. Any emergency brings questions…how many were affected? How is it likely to impact my loved ones? What’s being done to improve the situation? And in the event of a nuclear incident, it is imperative to know how wide-spread by listening to emergency broadcasts, which will tell you when it is safe to go outdoors (and why if you store food and water in a shed or something similar, always keep 2 weeks of food and water indoors). A Ham radio is a great tool for a disaster, but a radio will also give you important information.


Vote -1 Vote +1Trevor
July 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Heard on the radio this AM that a way to protect electronics from an EMP attack is to store them in microwaves since they are designed to keep EM signals from getting out they also can help keep them from getting in. Would love to know what y’all think. May hit the Goodwill store to buy some old ones if this is the case.


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
July 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm

From what I’ve read about EMPs, they consist of a variety of wavelengths of the EM spectrum, all the microwave would do is shield from microwave frequency radiation, not the other waves so you’d still be in trouble as far as keeping everything safe.


Vote -1 Vote +1Shirley S.
July 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I loved the Texas comments. I’m in central Texas, myself. When I had lived in Florida, though, I would watch the Hurricane Watch and get ready by getting all necessary clothes washed/dried. Those appliances could be out if it hit. I already had my box ready with paper plates, plastic ware, paper towels, batteries, radio that took them, flashlights and canned goods, as well as bottled water. If a warning was issued, I made phone calls to family to get home. Then we would each have a job to do. One would fill pitchers, or big tupperwares, with water and put in refrigerator, one would fill the tub (it would already be freshly washed during the watch), one would get blankets and pillows, cards for entertainment, into the “safe room”, and one would turn the clothes washer on to fill with water. That person had an easy job, so therefore, would, also, turn the toilet knobs at the bottom of the toilets off, to prevent any water backup from toilets. My question is, could there be a backup of water from the rubber hose from the washer, or could it be turned off by a knob, also? Of course, we were, also, prepared to evacuate. The first ones on the road wins, you know! What can anyone say about the washer backing up. Anyone experience that? (PS: Looking back, life was more simple then with just Hurricanes to be prepared for!)


Vote -1 Vote +1Great Grey
July 14, 2012 at 4:23 am

Shirley S.
About washing machines they are made with an air gap to prevent water from back flowing, even if the fill valves don’t close and the tub overflows, so the only way it can back flow is if whole machine gets submerged.
Also unless you have very old fill valves in your toilets, they are made to prevent back flow. although they may let air in and allow your pipes and heater to drain, so shutting them off is a good idea.


Vote -1 Vote +1Carol
July 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Simple question–is there a need for any type of generator to be stored in a faraday cage? I have the Yamaha tri-fuel.


Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
July 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

The simple answer is yes, there are a number of things in your generator that might be fried by an EMP. A windowless metal shed that is grounded at all four corners might work. Make sure the generator does not touch any of the metal of the structure. To test make sure there is no radio reception in the storage area.


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
July 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I thought about the same thing myself, most newer gas engines use an electronic based magneto ignition system versus the older engines which didnt (how many of those are gonna be left?), meaning that the little module (however few components exist) may still be vulnerable. My solution was to build a genny using one of those yanmar clone chinese diesel engines that can be had in 6 and 10 hp configurations from ebay from $400 and up depending on the vendor. I got a 6 hp model and a genny head and welded up a frame from bed rails and used an idler pulley from a 70’s big block lincoln along with the v belt pulley for the large shaft to make a genny thats able to run a lot of crap. The engine has no electronics short of the little module for recharging the starter battery (it has an electric starter as well as a pull cord). If the recharger module got fried you can still use the cord to start the thing, or have spare recharger modules if you want to have that option. Just a thought.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Sue the Frugal Survivalist
July 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm

We have a restored 1966 car that would not be affected by an EMP. Unfortunately, the new distributor has an electronic chip in it. We’re storing the distributor in the microwave until the latest solar flare passes. My husband plans to buy a second distributor and a thrift store microwave in the future so we can keep these items with our emergency supplies.

Also, we had copies of all our car keys made. They hang on a hook in our emergency supplies closet. My husband refers to them as the “Bug-Out Keys”. He says it would be our luck when an emergency evacuation is announced, we won’t be able to find the car keys. We have since lost our keys several times and the Bug-Out keys have already been very useful.


Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
July 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Older microwaves tend to leak around the seal. If they leak out they can leak in. Another option is to wrap with insulation like cardboard or bubble wrap, then wrap with aluminum foil, another layer of insulation, another layer of foil, and finish up with insulation. Place this inside your microwave, a metal ammo can, a cardboard lined metal trash can, or other sealed metal container.

If your car won’t start after an EMP disconnect the battery. If everything is not totally fried it might reset the computers and get you running. The metal of the vehicle should give you some protection though I would not expect it to be 100%. As long as the engine starts you can deal with the CD player or electric windows later.


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
July 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I have a few oldies also that I upgraded to the first generation electronic ignition. The module in the distributor (assuming its GM) can be removed from the distributor to be replaced, the only thing to stock would be spare modules, which are smaller than the dodge and ford modules I have. Also in the oldie I use everyday I keep a breaker point distributor in the trunk with my spare parts so if in the event something did happen that killed the module, I can quickly swap back to the breaker point distributor and be back on the road in no time. You should be able to do the same as well. The worst case would be that you would have to switch drive gears on the distributor since sometimes the drive gears are of different sizes between the older year engines and newer ones. The other thing that I thought about too was the voltage regulator for the alternator, unless its the older electromechanical regulator, you would have to have one of those too, unless you’re confident on getting the car started fast and getting back home before the battery dies. Of course putting the biggest battery in the car will buy you time. Again, from what I read the microwave thing may not work due to the limited range of EM frequencies that are covered. I would put my luck more in double shielding the sensitive stuff in a 50 cal ammo can in the trunk. I had to put some thought into that since I drive 70 miles round trip everyday to my job, I don’t wanna be stuck dead in the water if an EMP killed everything on the road. Now getting thru 10 miles of an electronically dead city full of people possibly eager to jack my ride cuz its one of the few cars still on the road before I make it to the lesser traveled country roads, thats another issue to think about….


Vote -1 Vote +1Pat in So MD
July 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Hi from S. Maryland,
We were without electricity for nine days last Summer when Hurricane Irene came through and took out the power lines all through our subdivision. We had a tree land in our front yard, but fortunately it missed our house. When we could get to a grocery store, they had sold out of ice. We lost most of the food in the freezer, but managed to put my Sun Oven to good use to save some of it. We also used our charcoal grill to cook some bergers and dogs. The neighbors’ kids had a grand time feasting on our ice cream. One neighbor who had a generator took a few things to put in their freezer. We have a gas generator now, but are still looking for a reliable electrician to hook it up. I am also looking at buying a few solar panels to help suppliment our electrical needs. I took Dave’s course and have the book. It has been a great help in prepping. We live far enough in the country that looting was/is not a problem, so far at least. I don’t know what we’ll do if it gets really bad. We are retired, as are several families in the area. I hope we can keep a low enough profile by living in our basement that we can escape any bad situations. We are definitely in it to survive in place.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Montego Man
July 17, 2012 at 6:02 am

Hey Pat – – That storm was destructive. We had no generator and lost the freezer contents. Since then we have purchased a 72 Watt “Solar Farm” unit from Sportsman’s Guide ($251), and several inverters of various sizes to run the fridge (and portable heaters for winter), fans, lights, computers, electric griddle and electric coffee pot. The propane runs out fast using it for three meals a day especially when trying to grill the frozen foods. The solar set-up will recharge an ordinary car battery which can then power your inverters, and you can charge several inverters at one time. The next item on our shopping list is a deep cell battery. Sam’s batteries for larger European cars/vans are far stronger than the batteries for American cars. Electrical experts advised me to acquire a separate battery as insurance, as well as besides using the one from a car. This way you can keep the inverters going 24/7. For the extra battery, you can get an inexpensive battery tender/trickle charger to maintain the charge when not in use.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Joseph morehouse
July 14, 2012 at 12:13 am

I have family near D.C and they own a small gas pantry , when the storm hit they lost power and the generators kit in ,the liquar/beer sold out first then the junk food and finally the gasoline. There 2 small generators was stolen on the 4th day of the black out and there store was looted by morons who thought the closed sign mean there was something to steal. The store is in a very poor area as my uncle puts it the people in those areas took advantage of the power outages to break into stores.My uncle saw 2 store owners with guns at there stores they were protecting foot wear and clothes, none of this was even mention on the news not even the shooting sometimes I think the news is controled by higher ups.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

Thank you for the feedback on what your family experienced.


Vote -1 Vote +1David H
July 14, 2012 at 1:07 am

In addition to keeping dead space in the freezer filled with 2 liter water bottles so that the added ice will help the food stay colder longer, we have stocked up on salt to help preserve the meat we need to keep longer. One drawback is the need for storing the salted meat at 59 degs or less, but I’m thinking that with the freezer insulated that adding external insulation to the freezer could keep the internal temperature cool enough. We also have a vacuum sealer that I think can help store some of the freezer food longer. Any thoughts on the viability of that?


Vote -1 Vote +1Linda
July 14, 2012 at 4:46 am

I saw a movie titled “Jericho” from Netflix (so you can rent the movie, good movie) where a government agent stored his laptop in a special rubberized cover to keep it from EMP’s and he also had his own satellite dish for his laptop. I am guessing the rubber was specially made for government use only. So I am thinking maybe finding thick rubber for electronic devices? I am wondering if the rubber could help or it’s just Hollywood.

dish for his laptop. I am guessing the rubber was specially made for government use only. So I am thinking maybe finding thick rubber for electronic devices.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Folks, Just go this Sat. morning. Heads up for anyone w/in traveling of 75 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Special Sat. July 14 – Mon July 16 where you can by a 3-day pass (covering Friday 9/21 – Sun 9/23) of the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA. Good conference on self-sufficiency. Lots of expert presentations, demos, and products. The $10 price will save you a lot on a single day pass.

You can order at 800-234-3368 and give your customer service representative the discount code MMEEMC76.

God bless,
Don Hodge

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge – Hosea 4:6


Vote -1 Vote +1Great Grey
July 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Rubber by itself will not protect from EMPs, there would need to be a metal (foil/screen) layer inside it.
You would probably be better off using an aluminum camera case with the foam padding in it fitted to your electronic devices.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Root cellars will also work in warm/hot climates. (“Root Cellars” can be located in basements.) Once you get below the frost line (usually 3′ to 4′ in the lower 48 states) ground temp is roughly 55 F. If the roof of your root cellar is 4′ down and floor is 12′ down, you’re in great shape. If you can tap into a spring to go into a pool inside before it goes out a pipe, that’s even better. You can save digging by backing it into a hillside or earth berming (say 8′ down for floor then 4′ dirt on top of roof and 4′ out around the sides). Rain drainage and flooding could be issues. Waterproof roof top, add 2′-3′ dirt, lay down a thick gage waterproof covering (see building supplies) on top and over all sides, and cover everything w/ 1′ – 2′ of dirt). Use French drains to divert ground water and runoff. You REALLY don’t want to re-do this. CO also can be an issue depending on whether source (could be a burning building) is uphill or downhill of your root cellar/basement. See “Root Cellaring” by Mike and Nancy Bubel – nice recipes too.

Rule of thumb for storage for packaged items (batteries, cans, buckets of food, canning products, etc.): storage life is doubled for every 10 F BELOW 70 F, storage life is cut in half for every 10 F ABOVE 70 F. See “Making The Best Of Basics” by James Talmage Stevens.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Ref: thermal mass stores heat or cold – so combining thermal mass w/ beefing up bullet resistance w/in one’s home by those sandbags, sand filled concrete blocks, etc. provides double duty in moderating air temp as well as security. Be SURE your floor will support that extra load.


Vote -1 Vote +1Art
July 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm

We are right in the middle of it in Roanoke VA, we are prepared and saw all the panic from everyone we talked with. The gas stations sold out fast, if they even were open which most were not.,..The small stores were all dark and some opened there doors and let one person at a time come in with cash only of coarse… The whole thing was so predictable, that is if you are a prepared Prepper!
We were planning our 2 week summer vacation so on Saturday evening we bugged out for Maine and had a wonderful time, we just came home today and have restocked the Frig, and I am going back to my Construction business in the morning like nothing ever happened…
It is nice being prepared and trained, keeping a cool head and Surviving quite well David!


Vote -1 Vote +1Montego Man
July 17, 2012 at 6:13 am

Everyone seems to give Spam a bad rap. Here’s a tip for use in an emergency. Cut it into small cubes; toss it into a scramble egg mix, biscuit mix, or in with canned or rehydrated veggies. It adds texture and flavor. Add salt, pepper, etc to taste. Bon Appetite…..


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1todd
July 20, 2012 at 1:26 am

Ive got 2 weejs of food for emergencies, looking into a good multipurpose portable power device thats affordable , reliable, any suggestions ?


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 20, 2012 at 11:36 am

I waited to respond to your post hoping someone who’d purchased a generator could point you in the right direction. I’m set up for all manual and haven’t researched them yet. But when purchasing tools, the best prices I’ve found are at Lowes Hardware or Harbor Freight and Ace Hardware is a possibility if you catch them during a sale. If you’re on a tight budget, check out craigslist, the newspaper classifieds and thrift stores. As long as they’re willing to let you test-run it first, you should be able to get a deal.


Vote -1 Vote +1Preparedness
July 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hi todd,

You might want to look into the Power Station 1000, a silent, portable, clean, and safe lithium generator that can be used indoors. It comes charged and holds its charge in standby for up to one year, can be charged with a/c wall outlet, solar panels, hand crank, windmill, car DC outlet, or almost any other 12VDC power source. It has 2 110VAC outlets, 2 12VDC outlets, 4 USB outlets ( 2 are 5V 1A for cell phones, iPods, etc. and 2 are 5V 2.1A for iPad). Fully charged, this can run your refrigerator for one day, but longer if you run it on and off to maintain temperature. Weighs about 40 lbs. There is also a smaller version called the Power Center 200, includes a small 2.5 solar panel. Both come with an internal A/C inverter.

These items may help with the problem of people trying to keep there generators safe by using them indoors and suffering from the CO2 problem. You could run a string of LED lights, but be sure to use blackout window coverings if you don’t want others to know about your power source. You could also run a fan in hot temps. Many ways this could be useful for those prepared for blackouts, brownouts.

The PS1000 is a bit pricey, but if you contact me I can show you how to save $250 off during the month of July. Just google “preparedness lithium generator” for more info.


Vote -1 Vote +1Soldier4hire
July 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Todd, check out a solar genorater, 1800wts, Sportsmensguide has some for around $1200, Solutions for sience, has them for around &1800. Or you can just get some panels and deep cell battaries with a converter and make up your own. I’m sure Dave or Diva can supply a web site for them.



Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Fletcher Jones
July 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

I live about 10 miles from the White House. I learned a lot of lessons from the power outage (also from 9/11 and Hurricane Irene). I lost power, cell phone service. What I did right: Having read (and learned) about preparedness, my car had gas, I had frozen bags of water in my fridge’s freezer to help keep it cool, I had non-fridge food and bottled water to fall back on, and I had a disaster kit w/battery powered lights, crank radio, etc. handy. I have even been exercising to stay fit in case I need to walk with a kit. In many ways I was ready.

What I had forgot from last time: Northern VA drivers are not very courteous. I ventured out the next morning to check on my son who was staying with my ex-husband that weekend across town but who I could not reach by phone. The roads were crazy, even in my neighborhood. People do not respect 4 way stops when the lights are out, and people drove aggressively, and too fast. In large cars. I have a small car 🙂 I didn’t feel safe at all on the road. There were lots of accidents. I remember then when 9/11 happened (the Pentagon being not that far from my house), and driving my son home from school, and how people behaved on the roads when stressed, going through red lights, running stop signs. So: next time I will remember — the roads will be chaotic. People will not behave well.

The house stayed bearably cool for about 24 hours. By bedtime, it was almost too uncomfortable to sleep. I was recovering from walking pneumonia from the week before and I started feeling ill, again. When my chest started hurting and I felt like I had to work to breathe, even with the inhalers, and I was by myself, and I realized I couldn’t call anyone, or 9-1-1, I was pretty scared. It was pitch dark outside so I couldn’t see to drive. I wanted to go somewhere where I could get cool and heard there were “cooling stations” on the radio but they kept saying: look online for the locations. How was I going to look online with no phone service, internet or power? I couldn’t understand why there was not more radio communication about shelters and cooling stations in my area. They kept talking about ones that were 40 miles away. So now I was mad on top of being sick again 🙂 If I went out, not being able to see, I was afraid of getting in an accident, and where would I go? Where was there power? So I stayed home. By myself. In the dark. Hot and sick.

I had thought about preparedness before — but I had always thought of myself as able-bodied in those situations. I had not thought about trying to manage a disaster situation by myself when I didn’t feel well.

So that motivated me to find an A/C hotel the next morning. I got up at 5 am b/c I was scared of the traffic, otherwise. Thank goodness I had a bug out bag in the car so I did not have to pack that early. I took bottled water because I heard on the radio that there was a boil-water order and I really didn’t know where to go. Then I had to find a place to charge my phone, and I had to drive a bit more to find gas. Then I had to drive south until I finally got service. Then I had to stop at a rest station and call my sister in GEORGIA to ask her to go online and find a hotel on 95S that had A/C and that had rooms available. By that time, I was sleep deprived, sick, hot, and frazzled. I was surprised under those conditions how quickly I became disoriented about basic things, like directions. She found one for me and talked me through it until I got there and I finally slept 🙂 but if I hadn’t had her to understand and help me, I’m not sure what I would have done. As it was, it took me a couple of days of sleep and rest to really feel strong again.

Now I’m trying to think of how I can be prepared to handle the next situation. What if next time — I can’t reach my sister? There really are no hotels? I’m sick, or my son is sick?


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Thank you for sharing what you experienced. It helps each of us to get a feel for what we should expect; phones down, aggressive drivers, power outages, and confused announcers who recommend to go online for cool-down shelters when the power’s down! A Boiled water alert can be a problem when the average person won’t have a camp stove and fuel or a quality water purifier–we preppers will ( :

Your being sick was a worst-case situation. Stress, anxiety and illness will slow response time and can lead to confusion. As you mentioned, being prepared is the number #1 way to stay safe. You were already on your way there by keeping gas in your car, having an emergency kit, a hand crank radio and food and water, at least for the short term (the next step is to build on that if you haven’t already). Always add at least one weeks’ worth of MRE’s or canned meals to food storage, so at the beginning of an emergency, you won’t be stuck cooking while you’re busy with damage control. Also, if you haven’t already, check out the recent post: Get Started With Life-Saving Medical Supplies For $50.

David has excellent courses available–look to the top of the page and click on it for information. The more educated we are on preparedness, the more likely we’ll avoid the stress and anxiety that comes with a disaster.


Vote -1 Vote +1Libby
July 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

this post appears to be a repeat from another recent post. it has nothing to do with the title about how to find a bug out location cheap. I’m anxious to hear on that topic


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 20, 2012 at 11:05 am

The new post; Buying Bug-Out Property on the Cheap was posted this morning ( :


Vote -1 Vote +1Sonia
July 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

Something you may want to know. If you plan on storing anything in an aluminum trash can, put a very fine copper mesh around the top of the can before you put the top on. Many times those tops don’t fit fully tight on the can and using the mesh will keep the electromagnetic waves from finding a way in. Use cardboard or plastic packing material inside to protect your items from coming into contact with the metal.
The mesh is expensive but it really works. Without it, you may find your items do not do so well. The closer you are to the direct hit of the pulse, the longer the waves will try to find an entry point. The mesh is worth the money for your ability to use a radio or keep your batteries alive. Just Goggle RF copper mesh material to find this material.


Vote -1 Vote +1John Panagos
July 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

We the willing, led by the unknowing, have done for so long with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing. My thoughts on our planers in DC.on handling emergencys.


Vote -1 Vote +1Alexa
July 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm

During Hurricane Hugo, we were without power for days. One thing that helped was having a deep freezer. About a week before the storm hit, we’d filled up 1/2 gal and 1 gal bottles with water and put them in there, leaving some room at the top for expansion. When the power went out and the refrigerator could no longer keep our food safe, we transferred critical items to the freezer…. which had essentially become a refrigerator. It bought us several extra days of cold food storage time and kept us from getting sick – which unfortunately, happened to a lot of people. Now we also store a few bags of ice there as well, along with blue ice freezer packs.


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