03 January 2020

What Would You Do If The Power Was Out For Days Or Even Weeks?


There is a better than fair to middling chance that a good portion of Victoria, NSW and South Australia will be without power for days, if not weeks, due to infrastructure loss in these awful fires.

So could you survive without power for days? For a week? Or longer?

It wasn't so very long ago that Walhalla, the last town in Victoria to go onto the grid, was without power for two weeks. Now I would think that the residents would know what to do to survive until electricity was restored.

But what about you? If the power was to go out right now, what would you do?

Would you have torches for light?

Would you have a battery radio so you could stay in touch with the world?

Is your phone fully charged so you can get internet access (remember, no power, no working modem, no home internet).

Is there enough fuel in your vehicles to get you to somewhere safe if you had to evacuate?

Will you be able to keep your fridge and freezers cool so you don't lose food?

Do you have an alternative for cooking?

Do you have enough shelf stable food to last unti the power comes back on and supermarket shelves are restocked (because if it's a long-term power outage, you can bet those shelves will be cleared of tinned and packet foods in a few minutes)?

Well we would be able to last a couple of weeks, but we would probably lose most of the freezer contents (but I have a plan to reduce that risk this year).

We have enough shelf-stable food and drink to last us a year. That includes a few ready-to-eat meals we usually take camping, baked beans, some soups, tinned spaghetti, tuna and salmon, Nutmeat, chick peas, black beans, tinned tomatoes and mushrooms, nuts, pasta, rice, sugar, salt, oil, UHT milk, tea and coffee.

We have the means to cook food and boil water, with the barbecue and two gas camping stoves. We always have enough spare cylinders to last us six weeks - that's the length of our bigger trips and they're restocked at the end of each trip.

We have a small generator that would run the freezers a couple of hours each, each day to help them stay frozen longer. And we keep enough fuel to top them up four times.

We have solar panels that will charge the ancilliary batteries on our Patrol. That creates enough power to run the fridge if necessary, and the LED lights for a couple of hours.

We have solar chargers for our mobiles and our tablets. They weren't expensive, and work really well if you don't let the device go flat. If they're charging from flat they can take a few hours - but it's better than nothing.

We also have a solar oven. I'm not too good at using it, I need more practise. But I'm pretty sure I'd become expert if I had to.

For cleaning I have an old fashioned broom and mop! And we have a couple of shovels, and an axe, as well as the chain saw. We kept the baby bath and it makes a great washing tub, and Cheapskates Washing Powder works in cold water! And a clothesline and pegs to get it dry (and if it's hung out neatly it won't need ironing, not that I have an alternative to an electric iron).


We even have a stovetop coffee percolator ($5 from the op shop) and Mum gave me a mandolin veggie slicer thingy when we were married and it doesn't need power to slice or grate or shred. I also have a Nicer Dicer and a knocl-off version for processing fruit and veg. The mortar and pestle Thomas gave me for Christmas a few years ago does a great job of grinding.

To stay cool - well the windows would be closed up each morning and the awnings brought down. Doors to the rooms on the west side of the house would be closed. And we'd go old-school and use the paper fans I've collected over the years in combination with damp hand towels draped over shoulders.

To stay entertained we have books - real, paper books. Games. Crafts to do. Gardening and housework which may take a little longer without power.

So could you survive without power for days? For a week? Or longer?

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