What to prepare for a blackout? 6 useful things
February, 9:00 p.m. A small village somewhere in the south of Poland. It was dark in the family home. Father took out a candle intended for the grandparents' grave, lit it and put it on the table. The electric heating stopped working, so the house began to fill with a penetrating chill. The mother filled the tub with water - after all, the lack of electricity could stop the pumps from working. My father went down to the basement and after a while he returned with an armful of beech logs and old newspapers. After a while, a fire danced in the fireplace, by which the children warmed up. There was a blizzard outside.
The lack of electricity in Poland is not a novelty
Is the above-described scenario a fantasy about future blackouts announced for the winter of 2021/2022 by the governments of Austria and Germany? No, it's just a day like every day in the nineties in my native village. At times, wet snow stuck to the outdated wooden poles of the power grid, breaking them and tearing cables off. In addition, the only access road to the city was also covered in snow. We had to survive almost two days without electricity. For my parents, it was not a problem at all - after all, similar situations happened every winter.
It used to be like that. Over the years, uninterrupted power supplies have become so obvious that people forgot to prepare for the so-called blackout. The vision of cutting off from the power grid for 24 hours began to appear as a serious crisis situation. Is it right?
What is a blackout?
Blackout is commonly known as a power outage that occurs over a larger area for an extended period of time. This term, however, is not precisely framed. For residents of a village far from the city, blackout will be no electricity within 2 kilometers. In the case of a metropolis, an area may even cover the entire agglomeration. However, it is difficult to talk about a blackout when there is no electricity only at your place and your neighbors, and the "Żabka" store on the other side of the street is working at full capacity.
Threats resulting from a blackout lasting several days
If a power outage lasts only a few tens of minutes or several hours, it will only be a temporary inconvenience that everyone should be able to cope with. The problem starts when the blackout lasts for a few or several days. The greatest threats of long-term power failure are:
Lack of water. The first thing you should do when the lights go out is to fill the tub, bowls or water jars with water. The water supply network requires electricity to operate, but will continue to operate on its own reserves for some time. Collect water from several taps at once to make the most of this time.
Food shortage. The closure of stores due to non-working terminals and cash registers will only be a matter of time. I will just mention that in a chain store where I used to work, 10 minutes without electricity were enough to make a decision to close. Difficult access to grocery stores will result in the inability to get water and food.
No heating and no possibility to cook food. Heating and gas networks need electricity to operate. Without it, you are doomed to cold and cold meals. Eating in a crisis situation may also require gaining food in the bosom of nature - it all depends on the duration of the crisis.
No light. Its basic source in every apartment is based solely on electricity.
Road paralysis. Traffic lights inoperative, gas stations inoperative, and thus traffic jams and bumps. Stay home and, if necessary, get around on foot or by bike. If a crisis requires you to leave the accommodation immediately, the BOB backpack will be useful - the luggage prepared just in case contains everything you need to help you survive.
What equipment to prepare for a blackout?
I have been repeating, like a mantra, for a long time now that "the prepared will survive". In the case of a blackout, the key will be to complete the following equipment in advance:
Portable and powerful lighting. A handy kerosene lamp will be a fantastic answer to the crisis. The models made of steel are durable and have a handle that can be hung on a peg or a solid hanger. Be sure to collect enough kerosene for the lamp, as well as quite a few wicks that will burn out with use.
Flashlight with spare batteries. You can choose handheld or headlamps headlamps that are better suited for activities that require two hands.
Stock of water. As I wrote above, at the beginning you can use a bathtub or bowls, and then cans. The popular 5-liter bottles, which are available in virtually every store, will also be perfect.
A camping stove with spare cartridges. When looking for accessories for a field kitchen, make sure that they are compatible with each other. It is mainly about the type of thread in the stove or the valve in the gas cartridge. In the military store, you will find both pierce and screw-in models, including Screw-on cartridges.
If it becomes necessary to leave the house for a long time or it is winter when bedding is not enough, warm sleeping bags will be necessary. You can choose between envelope and mummy models. It's best to bet on a four- or three-season sleeping bag, as you never know when the power will run out.
Food with a long use-by date (the refrigerator will not work!). In addition to buying cans, rice or groats, you should think about freeze-dried food rations that take up little space. The vacuum-dried food is available in the form of ready-made dishes with a wide variety of flavors - oriental, Mediterranean or home-made.
After reading the article, you can conclude that blackout is not as terrible as it is painted. Power cuts have happened before and you just need to prepare for them. But what if the lack of electricity has to be struggled for a month? Then everyone will face social unrest, riots, economic collapse and...
Let us hope that this will never happen.
Author: Kajetan Wilczyński
Editing: Tomasz Świgoń