We have all seen the information on possible SHTF scenarios, from terror attacks of the grid, to solar events, to EMPs, economic collapse, etc.... and many of here joined on comment threads sharing excellent prepping tips and ideas, but after seeing multiple reports from Thursday where Internet outages, cell phone outages and even a transformer blowing, the question occurred to me as to what exactly each of us would do on "day one," if we woke to no internet, no cell service, and no electricity at all.
DAY ONE: DETERMINING IF OUTAGES ARE LOCAL, STATE-WIDE, OR NATIONWIDE
On Friday NBC Los Angeles reported on nationwide Internet outages that affected Century Link customers in multiple states, and knocked out 911 emergency call centers in Washington state, Missouri, Idaho and Arizona. Reports from other states also show that services were interrupted as well.
In our own comment section, 'Dan from Ohio," mentioned "Same here, hell yesterday evening Internet service went down from Idaho to Ohio for awhile, made me wonder....," which brings me to the reason I wanted to get this article out.
In 2015 it was reported that the U.S. power grid is attacked "once every four days," whether physical or cyber attacks, and with technological advances, those numbers are no doubt higher now. In 2016 The Hill reported "If hackers were to knock out 100 strategically chosen generators in the Northeast, for example, the damaged power grid would quickly overload, causing a cascade of secondary outages across multiple states. While some areas could recover quickly, others might be without power for weeks," calling it the "nightmare scenario."
Bad enough if your cell service goes out, or a landline for those that still use them, or you fire up your computer and have no Internet, but what would any of us do if we lost everything at once, not knowing if it was a temporary issue or if "something" happened nationwide.
Many of us have lost electricity for a short period of time, whether from a storm, a blown transformer, or any random reason, and the first thing we do is call the electric company to find out how widespread it is, and when they expect service to be restored. What happens when you cannot call them because cell service is out, and then find your landline isn't working either?
For the sake of this article we are going to assume the "event" was not an EMP attack or a massive solar event, so one might jump in their car and drive a ways to determine if the power outage is local or more widespread, maybe also look to see if any crews are working on the electrical lines. Once we have determined it is more widespread than just our immediate area, next thing would likely be to pull out your short wave radio to listen and see how widespread it is, and whether it is a nationwide outage.
After learning it is nationwide, or even statewide with no indication when the lights will come back on it time to decide what to do to prepare for day one without power.
DAY ONE: WHAT DO YOU?
One of the first things I did when starting this article was email Steve Quayle for some suggestions I may not have considered, since Quayle has been talking about prepping for decades, long before the prepping movement began, and he offered some suggestions for before and after, and kindly is allowing me to quote him.
Via Quayle's email: Have a step by step plan ahead of time- Number one: Use a checklist. Do you have a battery operated short wave radio and plenty of batteries - Very important - Number 2: Do you have large coolers to put perishables and frozen foods in? 3.) Have a plan for family members to get to your household should the power go out and stay out. 4.) If you are going to use lights like LED lanterns, etc... Block the windows so there will be no light that escapes, bad guys gravitate to the light! Get canned goods, and heavy duty trash bags, like construction bags for garbage. 5.) Make sure you have maximum water stored as power going off will make it impossible to use your pump. 6.) Also acquire a porta potty that uses bags and has powdered chemical that congeals the waste - GOOD BRAND IS PETT TOILETS. 7.) Avoid candles and flames as open fire can become problematic. 8.) Buy as much freeze dried or dehydrated food now - some emergency meals have built in heater pouches. 9.) Have your personal defense weapon at the ready. 10) Preposition all the supplies in the room you intend to make your safe room.
(Note- I transcribed from the email, so any mistakes are mine.)
Steve also highly recommends Holly Deyo's book, "Dare to Prepare," saying "it is the best ever written that people should read now!"
Steve's ideas above are one of the main reasons we do prepping pieces, because readers offer tips and ideas that sometimes others don't think of, which is evidenced in his suggestion to block windows so outsiders cannot see lights. That wasn't something I even considered living up here on the mountain, surrounded by farmers and ranchers who are basically preppers themselves.
Also, in regards to the suggestion about putting all perishables in a cooler, they do sell cooler ice packs, Stefan and I have a dozen or so in our own freezers, always ready to use. Freezer Pack has some that stays cold 30 times longer than some of the others, and Yeti has a good product as well.
The fact is, after determining if the electricity outage is not just local and having no idea when or if it will be coming back on anytime soon, that day one will be very busy, getting your foods stored in a cooler, getting your supplies easily accessible, setting up your safe room, etc..... and it all needs to be done utilizing what daylight you have. One certainly doesn't want to be stumbling around using a flashlight at night to get supplies and personal defense weapons in place.
Another point for those that live in cold climates, if it is Winter, get your wood in to keep dry, get your fire started before the temperatures drop, to be able to boil water if you are using freeze dried foods, or if you plan to use your fireplace to cook any type of meal, or even just to start warming up the room. In the resources bulletpoint below, we offer links to multiple methods of keeping your space warm for those without a fireplace.
We have done so many prepper pieces, because it is so important to prepare before any type of catastrophic event or disaster, but having a plan as to what you are going to do after the event, should be the number one priority, because any long term power and cell/phone outage across a large swath of area, is going to lead to chaos at an accelerated rate once others become aware that it is going to be a long term issue.
Any wide-spread and long term power outage is going to cause chaos in a very short amount of time. Having prepping supplies and being prepared is great, but snapping into action, having a set plan as to what one is going to do immediately after determining that SHTF, could very well be the difference between being a survivor or ending up a victim.
Plan now for your Day One.
[Update] MUST-SEE interview where Sheila Zilinsky and steve Quayle discuss what is coming in 2019.
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