The worst-case scenario we potentially face is a grid-down situation. It doesn’t matter if that’s caused by an EMP, by a solar storm or by terrorism. When the grind goes down, the country is going to be in serious shape.
Of all the disaster scenarios we can look at, I suppose that this is one of the hardest to prepare for. Most of the problem is that we have become so dependent on electrical power that literally nothing will work without
From a preparedness point of view, thinking in terms of a grid-down situation provides an excellent framework for determining what one needs to do. If you are ready to survive that scenario, you are most of the way toward being ready to survive just about any other scenario that might come along.
Consider, for example, a terrorist attack on the grid. Supposedly there are nine sub-stations, which if attacked, take down the whole kit and caboodle. Now, let’s add three things together: the fact that it takes more than a year to make one of those transformers, the fact that there are no spare transformers anywhere, and the estimate that 90 percent of our population would die in that first year. It’s truly frightening?
Survivalists tend to spend a lot of time talking about what we need to stockpile in case of a disaster. While I’m not against that, I firmly believe that the knowledge we stockpile is much more important than the supplies. If it comes down to it, you can make supplies if you have the knowledge, but you can’t turn your supply stockpile into knowledge. So, put some effort into learning the right skills, so that you can make sure that your family makes it through any crisis.
1. Finding and purifying water
You can only survive for about three days without water. If the power is out, the municipal water source won’t be providing you with that nice clean water when you open up the tap on your sink. Sure, you’ve got some water in your stockpile, but nobody ever has enough. You’ll need a whole lot more if you’re going to survive. But you can’t count on the purity of any water you find. So, you have to know how to purify it, even if your purification system goes down.
Food supplies will be one of the hardest hit in any grid-down situation. Farmers won’t be able to get their products to the wholesalers and the wholesalers won’t be able to get the food to the processing mills. Stores will empty out and food will spoil on the farms.
The only reliable source for food that you will have is what you can grow yourself. While vegetable gardening may seem like a simple task, it’s a lot more complicated than it seems. It took me three years to get a descent harvest from my garden, when we started. The first two years were lost to getting the garden in shape, especially the soil.
Start on your garden now, before you need it. That way, when the time comes, you’ll already have something growing and your family will be able to eat.
3. Animal husbandry
Vegetables are great, but you need animal protein, too. Raising chickens, rabbits and even fish can provide that for your family. But not if you don’t learn how before you need it. For example, how do you recognize sickness in animals? What do you do when they are sick? How can you make sure that your animals reproduce, providing you with food to eat? For that matter, do you even know how to skin and clean an animal for food?
There will probably be a lot of people out there hunting, trying to find something for their families to eat. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t, too — just that you should be careful. But hunting then will be different than hunting now. You won’t be able to use bait corn to get the deer close enough for a good shot. You’ll have to know their habitat and their habits, so that you can hunt them the old way.
For that matter, you probably won’t even be able to use your pickup truck to bring the game you shoot back home. (You won’t have gasoline.) Do you have some sort of a hand cart that’s big enough to haul a deer in? If not, how can you get or make one?
Few people truly know the plants that grow around us, yet many of those plants can be eaten for food. Knowing which ones are edible and which ones are poisonous could be a lifesaver, especially when there’s nothing else available. Get a good book on edible plants in your area and start learning how to recognize them. For that matter, gather a few of them in and try them out. You might have to experiment a bit to come up with recipes for making them palatable.
6. Preserving food, especially meat
Hopefully, your gardening, raising animals and hunting will provide you with enough food to eat. But what about the winter? Winter has always been mankind’s bane, because hunting, farming and gathering are all but impossible. That’s why our ancestors developed ways of preserving food, allowing them to use their fall harvest to get them through the winter.
Preserving food is about the only way of ensuring that you’ll be able to eat through the winter. This is especially true of meat, which spoils faster than any other type of food. Whatever meat you manage to grow or hunt will need to be processed immediately, in order to ensure that you will be able to make good use of it all.
7. First-aid and basic medicine
Medical services always become overwhelmed in a time of crisis. People die, simply because the medical staff can’t get to them soon enough. With widespread starvation, you can be sure that there will be many people whose immune systems will be weakened and end up going to the hospital. On top of that, there will be many others who will go just because of starvation.
You need to be ready to take care of your own medical needs, at least the common ones. Bandaging a wound may not seem like something all that important, but it is. That wound could bring infection into the body, leading to severe illness or death. It will be necessary to know the right way to treat even the simplest of wounds.
In addition, the risk of sickness will increase. Recognizing the symptoms and diagnosing the illness will be difficult, without the Internet to help us. Yet, knowing how to identify and treat simple illnesses can and will save lives. Most things are simple, if you know how.
What skills would you add to this list? Share them in the section below: