Connect with us

Featured

11 Things to Do Immediately Following a Blackout

Published

on

The average person thinks about their career, daily routine, personal relationships, and even their vehicle, but how many of us contemplate the implications of a blackout? In some parts of the world, it is not uncommon to hear about blackouts. In fact, they occur regularly in the summer in parts of New Zealand and Australia. A blackout can happen any time. What causes a blackout?

During periods of high power use, the demand for electricity increases more than what’s available. This may cause power failures. Also called load shedding, energy providers may switch off the power for a short duration to cope. Sometimes blackouts happen due to natural disasters like bushfires, flash flooding, earthquakes, etc. 

If you live in an area that is prone to frequent environmental fluctuations, it helps to prep for a blackout.. Unfortunately, most people fail to follow this safety measure. Nevertheless, if you ever find yourself in a blackout situation, here are some things you should do immediately:

1. Evaluate your surroundings.

The power can go out for many reasons, but the best place to start is in your own home. Check to see if a defective appliance or a blown out light bulb is behind the fault. Then look outside your home into your surrounding area. If the neighbors’ homes are still receiving power, then perhaps the safety switch in your house has tripped. 

If all the neighbors’ homes are also cloaked in darkness, then check to see if the cause of the outage is visible within your area only. A power line or tree might be the culprit. If so, report it immediately to your electricity supplier. Try to stay put indoors.

2. Look for sources of lighting.

You need to be able to move around your home and property in a safe manner with another source of light. What would you use? Candles are a good and affordable option. They cast a nice glow. If you plan on using candles, beware of fire hazards. Avoid placing the candles near flammable materials. Torches with LED lights are an excellent choice because this won’t drain the batteries. Both candles and torches offer excellent nighttime visibility. Avoid using the phone torch as it may use up too much of the battery power. Since you don’t know how long the power will be gone, it’s best to save your phone battery power. Fuel-based lamps are useful during camping excursions and in blackout situations as well. If you’re facing one, now’s the best time to pull these out.

3. Practice food safety.

Many food items can quickly spoil if they’re not cooled sufficiently During the blackout, try to make sure the frozen or refrigerated food is kept cool. As a rule, if the food item is cold, then eat it. If some foods can be shifted to the freezer, then it will stay colder for a longer time. Try to keep the fridge door shut for as long as you can. This minimizes the cool air from escaping. You might consider following the 2 to 4-hour rule established by the Australian Institute of Food Safety. It recommends the following:

  • If the blackout lasts less than 2 hours, then it is safe to refrigerate and or eat the food item.
  • If the blackout lasts between 2 and 4 hours, you may still eat the food but avoid placing it back into the refrigerator.
  • If the blackout lasts for more than four hours, then throw away the food item.

In case you have doubts about eating or storing certain foods when the power is restored, then it’s best to throw the item out. Eating the food item can make your sick. Check your refrigerator’s settings to ensure that the temperature is set to low. This helps ensure the food will stay fresh for some time. In addition, there are some medications that require refrigeration. Check with your pharmacy if it is safe to take medications that aren’t refrigerated for some time.

4. Turn off all appliances.

In the event of a complete power outage, walk around your home and turn off all the appliances switches. The power may come back unexpectedly. A sudden power surge can cause significant damage to the hardware in your television, computer, laptop, etc. 

5. Use your phone cautiously.

Turn on your cell phone’s data connection to receive updates from your power supplier. Visit the supplier’s website for updates. Local news channels will likely provide information about the blackout as well. To ensure your phone battery lasts for a long time, switch it to a low battery setting. Minimize the brightness and turn off the Bluetooth and WiFi. It helps to have a portable charge at the ready and charged at all times.

6. Help your neighbors.

Check to see if your neighbors are home and okay? In case they’re an elderly couple or people with special needs, try to visit their home. It is a polite gesture to offer your help. Check to make sure they have portable sources of power. Don’t forget to check in with them in periodically in case the blackout extends for some time.

7. Find ways to pass the time.

The blackout may last a few hours, so you will have to find ways to keep your mind occupied. One of the best activities is talking. Talk to your family members. If you live alone, step outside onto your porch and have a conversation with your neighbors.

Another excellent pass time is star gazing. If you live in a bustling city or densely populated suburban locale, then outside. This is perhaps the only time you might get to see a clear sky without light pollution. Try spotting the constellations! 

8. Keep medical supplies ready.

If you don’t have information about how long the blackout will last, it is extremely beneficial to keep your first aid kit ready and accessible. In case you’re taking regular medications, i.e. for diabetes or blood pressure, ensure you have enough on hand. It also helps to have certain over-the-counter medications on hand as well such as ibuprofen/acetamenophen, cough syrup, pain balm, bandages, etc.

9. Check your windows and doors.

If the blackout hits you at night, perform a routine check of all your windows and doors to make sure they are secure. Ensure nothing is kept open. Unfortunately, theft and robberies can occur at anytime! 

10. Check your pets.

If you have house pets, make sure you know where they are at all times. If they sleep in a different room from yours, it helps to keep them close during a blackout. Ensure they’re fed and hydrated well. 

11. Evaluate your food supply.

If the blackout looks like it may go on for some time, check your food supply. If it’s safe to do so, visit your nearest store. Stock up on non-perishable food items such as the following:

  • Canned vegetables and fruit
  • Dry pasta
  • Nuts 
  • Cereals
  • Bread
  • Snacks
  • fresh fruit
  • Juice boxes
  • Dry milk powder or HTC milk
  • Water bottles
  • Pet food
  • Infant formula

Some other essential items to stock up on are:

  • toilet paper
  • bathing soap or shampoo
  • laundry detergent
  • batteries
  • hand sanitizer
  • matches
  • candles

Featured

7 Ways to Survive an EMP Attack

Published

on

An electromagnetic pulse, or “EMP” for short, is a sudden burst of energy that overloads the fragile components within an electrical system, causing them all to short out. It causes actual hardware damage resulting in the failure of any unprotected electrical devices. Typically EMPs are generated by technically advanced devices such as nuclear weapons. 

The least realistic but most dangerous scenario that can take place is that someone detonates many EMPs over a nation, or crazier, the whole world and renders all the technology and electric grids everywhere useless. If this happens, you should know how to prepare for it to ensure your survival during this unprecedented attack.

Lighting 

Candles are the obvious choice in any scenario like this. We have them handy; they are cheap and readily available everywhere in quantity. The only few negative things one might mention are the strength of light the candles can provide, how unstable they can be depending on which type of candle you use, or how the wind can blow them out anytime. 

https://pixabay.com/de/photos/lampe-kerosin-laterne-antiquitäten-1565705/

If candles just don’t cut it for you, let me introduce you to an alternative. Oil lamps; works under any condition. No weather or atmosphere is strong enough to keep an oil lamp down.

Faraday Cage

A Faraday cage, named after its inventor, Michael Faraday, is a device or structure made and used to protect the cage’s contents from electrical impulses. It’s an excellent option for security, and easy to make. Nevertheless, an old microwave or a metal cage, i.e., a safe, can be as good.

The Faraday cage may do well against an EMP attack, but we can’t be too sure. We cannot foresee the impact of the electromagnetic pulse or the level of damage it might cause, so it is pretty much impossible to predict if the cage would protect the devices or not.

Communication Devices

Communications would be an arduous task after almost everything is rendered useless because of the EMP attack. It is always good to have many backup options to communicate with those important to you if a situation like this ever strikes. Devices such as a two-way radio, CB radio, or long-range walkie-talkie can be handy. If you find any of these devices in good shape after an EMP attack, put in some batteries and see if it works as there’s a high likelihood it will.

Communication is one of the more essential tasks after any disaster, and it is the very thing that you’d probably overlook. 

Backup Electricity

The primary issue after the attack is the question of electricity and how to source it if the grid becomes empty. Well, one option is to make electricity from solar panels by installing the panels around your home. Another is to set up wind turbine generators and produce electricity. 

Luckily, there are many backup electricity options, but they require preparation and hard work.

Defense

Any type of gun, be it shotgun or rifle, is useful for defending yourself. You can use these weapons to protect yourself and hunt animals, and depending on your preferences, for game. Another resourceful thing to do if you want alarm systems around your house would be to hang bells on the inside of your doors. Even if they seem like nothing, they are very consistent and can make you aware of intruders if they try to sneak in. Try to do this for every entry point in your house so you and your family can rest assured of your safety.

Sourcing Food

Sourcing food will be another significant problem if the restoration of power takes months or even years. Therefore you should know how to grow your food and manage your livestock. Books on farming and breeding livestock will help enormously with this, and there are countless out there.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-harvesting-apples-5528986/

Be Ready, So You Don’t Have To Get Ready

Many preppers already know how to live off the grid because they have started living that life to be ready if and when the time comes. All of this will eventually prepare you to survive an EMP attack if you go off the grid entirely and learn not to rely on anything that works with electricity.

Keeping a stock of first aid kits and bare medical essentials is also a requirement if anyone needs medical attention. The EMP attack is often called the ultimate doomsday attack that will eventually happen.

You can always do things on an individual level to help protect you and your loved ones better. The practices and ways that we discussed above are known by much of the preppers community, so if you’re new to being a prepper, now you know how to survive an EMP stack.

Continue Reading

Featured

What to Do When You Can’t Afford Food

Published

on

The times are tough, and as the pandemic continues to affect us all in many different ways, this article feels like a necessity to show all the other options out there you can opt for to make your life that extra bit more worth living.

Families are struggling, and on the top of the list of struggles comes the challenge of buying food. This is a growing problem, and it seems that the end is not in sight. If you cannot cope and cannot afford even the essential food items, there may be some other options that can help you out.

Ask

Sometimes, the easiest thing can be the most challenging thing to do. Asking for food is the hardest decision that someone can take. Nevertheless, you can always ask restaurants, grocery stores or markets and many such places. While asking, also make them understand your situation very clearly and explain that the circumstances are challenging for you. Some organizations go from restaurant to restaurant and take leftover food from there and distribute it later to people who don’t have money or are homeless in dire need.

Basic budget

Mapping out your budget is the first thing you should do. List all of your living requirements on paper or digitally, and start with food. Only think about the things that you genuinely need to live and budget accordingly. Once you have a budget set, make it your duty to never go outside of this budget.

SNAP benefits

This is primarily a USA program, but you can find similar programs for your country. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helps people get benefits based on their state and income. People will apply to this for many reasons and can be eligible for many reasons, so don’t take it from here but go directly to the Government website and get more information. Suppose you can apply and get approved. You will get a notification with all the information and details, including the period you will continue to receive those benefits. 

WIC

https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/w-i-c-gm497300919-41953208

Another program is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Congress is the one who controls this, and it gets funded through individual states. 

There is a list of criteria that you must meet if you want to qualify for WIC. The requirements include categorical, residential, income and nutritional risk. 

Free lunches

There are many programs specifically made to help people who cannot afford food in their houses. Free lunch summer programs, soup kitchens, or 24/7 kitchens that stay open solely for people to get food are some of the most important options that you can take advantage of. You need to be aware of these programs as they are placed there specifically to help you. 

Food banks

https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/photo/generous-people-helping-to-poor-people-royalty-free-image/1139776668?adppopup=true

If, by chance, you do not meet the eligibility criteria for any program, the above solutions will come to your aid. Another organization that helps is local food pantries. They are charitable and not for profit organizations that give away food to people without money or with very little and still cannot afford to buy the absolute necessities. A statistic to put things in perspective, food banks in the UK are helping up to a million people not starve, and the number in the United States of America is probably even higher. 

No matter how you may feel about going to food banks and asking for help, be reassured of your health and safety. 

Coupon expert

Become an expert coupon collector! These are your best friends during trying times. Stores give you coupons, and there are apps on the play store that have coupons for many stores in your neighbourhood. Vouchers can also give you advantages like buying in bulk at low prices or having discounted items that will expire in a week or so. 

NGOs

There are many not for profit governmental organizations that have a scheduled time and place where they distribute food. Going there and having your lunch or dinner is always a good option. 

Apart from NGOs, there are churches, mosques, gurudwaras and various other temples, depending on where you live, which will offer you free food and other benefits if you go to them and ask for help. 

Dumpster diving

As weird as it sounds, dumpster diving is a legitimate thing that people engage in. Dumpster diving is basically what it says. Dive into a dumpster and find sealed packets of food that many restaurants and hotels often throw out, or even grocery shops. These products are usually thrown out because they seem or look bad or are past their sell-by date. 

Nevertheless, however harmful this option may seem, you are doing what you need to do because you need the nutrition and the strength to get through the hardships you are facing right now. 

Stock on pantry items

https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/flat-lay-view-at-groceries-in-carton-box-prepared-for-disaster-emergency-conditions-gm1263529565-369853203

If you have even a little money, you can stock up on ramen noodles, crackers, flour, beans and rice. Such items go a long way in feeding you and keeping change in your pocket. These items can also be kept for a long time, so there are no chances of them going off anytime soon, and you can ration them out with no problem at all. 

Social services

Another measure that you can take is contacting social services or their offices, letting them know of your predicament, and asking for their help. They will usually give you food assistance by giving you an EBT card which works like a debit card and is primarily for buying groceries and related items.

Getting a job

Getting a job is the most challenging solution, but if you can make it happen, it will not just solve your food problems but also your living. Even if you get little money from your job, there’s always some food worth eating that you can buy from loose change.

Many people have to decide between giving up food and giving up on other basic needs, and sadly, they believe that giving up food is the way to go. One might think they can live without food but cannot live without shelter. You shouldn’t have to decide between either.

The above solutions are just some suggestions to help make your life a little easier if you ever have a food issue.

Continue Reading

Featured

Setting up Your Survival Backpack: What and Why?

Published

on

A survival backpack or survival kit is a kit that contains every necessity that you may need in the event of an emergency to survive for an indefinite period until everything gets better again. 

Survival backpacks need to be durable to withstand the four elements, i.e., rain, water, fire, and earth. You should also be comfortable strapping it on yourself and trudging through the wilderness. It should be compatible with your body size. 

You are now coming to what you should include in your survival backpack and why.

Water 

https://www.pexels.com/photo/clear-disposable-bottle-on-black-surface-1000084/

Water is an essential survival element, without which you would not last more than a couple of days. What you should put in your backpack are two things, a water container, and a water purifier. 

While finding a natural source of water like a river or a lake, you should also keep in mind that water will most definitely be contaminated with all kinds of viruses and bacteria. The first thing to do would be to treat it with either purification tablets or use a water filter. Whichever is handier and more comfortable to get. After that, you can pour the now purified water and put it in the water container or bottle you brought along.

Shelter

Come nightfall, you will need a place to rest and boost your energy. As much as you may like fantasizing about sleeping under the stars with nothing but the grass beneath you, it is a little impractical. This is precisely why you should carry items such as a space blanket, which helps you keep warm. The next solution is a sleeping bag. A sleeping bag will also keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night without any issues. 

You can also go ahead and use a tent. When choosing a tent, you should keep in mind that it should be lightweight, waterproof, and spacious enough to accommodate you and your friends.

Food

You should pack ready-to-eat meals and packages that are easy to take care of and lightweight not to affect the backpack’s weight. Canned meats, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, and more canned stuff are excellent options. Ready-to-eat canned meals are also available. Pack many energy bars, granola bars, and candy bars because they are high in nutrients, especially calories and carbs.

A fishing kit might also be a good idea if you want to carry one. It is an easy way to get fresh food whenever you might want to ration out your meals. All you need for the kit is some bait, line, and hook, after which you can tie the line and hook to any decent-sized stick you may find.

Cooking Utensils

While talking about food, you should also have the necessary utensils to prepare it. A regular cooking kit contains one small pot, a cup, two to three metal plates, and some fork and spoons. In almost all the methods, cooking food requires heat, for which you need a stove and, give or take two to three fuel canisters. 

A fire starter is also needed as it helps build the fire for cooking while also providing heat. Bring along matches and a lighter in case the matchsticks do not work. Do not forget to keep the matchsticks and the lighter in a waterproof container or a waterproof package.

Clothing

Clothing takes a vital place next in your survival backpack because you never know what weather you may face. Some suggested clothes include two pairs of underwear, woolen socks, thermal wear, extra shirts, a rain jacket or fleece jacket, or preferably both, and hiking boots.

First Aid Kit

https://www.pexels.com/photo/first-aid-kits-on-white-background-5149757/

First aid kits are another must-have for your backpack. They can be used to treat injuries in an emergency. It should include items like bandages, tourniquets, scissors, antiseptic wipes, a roll of gauze, aspirin, sutures and needles, antibiotics, and allergy medicines.

Knife

A knife is both a useful tool and a good option as a self-defense weapon. It has many uses and should be added to your backpack. It has various usages, from cutting bandages to opening cans to prepare food and so on. 

Shovel

https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-faceless-mother-with-baby-playing-with-plastic-shovels-in-sand-3932877/

A small shovel makes all the difference in the world. You can use it to dig holes or dig trenches, even a fire pit. It comes in the handiest when you are attempting to build a shelter. 

Saw

Another great tool that should be kept considered is a small saw. A saw will make the cutting branches and gathering wood that much more comfortable and less time-consuming. For example, sawing wood logs to build a campfire or sawing long branches from a tree to help in making a base for the shelter.

Tape and Cord

Duct tape is an excellent addition to your backpack. It is the ideal go-to for any repair because it is waterproof and durable. You can use it instantly to temporarily fix your clothes, your tent, or any other materials that need repairing. 

A cord is a rope that is used to tie anything together. You can use it to connect your wood or tie together a tent making it a temporary shelter. It can also be used to hang washed clothes on; you just need to find two suitable trees and stretch and tie the cord from those two trees. 

Personal Items

Last but not least, the things that you should carry in your backpack are:

  • Identification documents
  • Money
  • Phone and charger
  • Self-defense items (might include pepper sprays and stun guns)

Identification documents include your passport, identification papers, driving license, contracts, cards, and so on. 

One may never know what lies ahead, no matter how hard you try to be prepared for anything and everything that comes your way. But the above list details all the essential things that you should have in your survival backpack or kit, and it is always handy to make a list yourself and check the items off one by one as you put them in.

Continue Reading

Latest News