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Surviving a Massive Power Outage in the City

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Surviving a Massive Power Outage in the City
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Surviving a Massive Power Outage in the City
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For a Prepper in a Cabin in the Woods a Power Outage is No Sweat. But It’s a Different Story in the City.

Urban environments are heavily dependent on infrastructure to deliver basic comforts and needs like water, electricity, natural gas for heating and cooking, and municipal services for security and medical emergencies. These urban environments can become very dangerous when there’s no electricity and the municipal services are compromised or over-taxed.

People surviving in suburban and especially rural environments often have a better advantage when it comes to enduring a massive power outage.

  • Many suburban homes and most rural homes and homesteads have fireplaces and/or wood-burning stoves for heat and cooking. That’s rarely the case in urban environments.
  • Water can be surprisingly available if the suburban or rural locales are gravity fed by water towers, but the dependency on electrically powered pumps in most cities and even in rural areas that depend on wells can present water shortages.
  • Lighting at night will be a significant challenge, but as the Great New York Blackout showed, headlights from cars often guided people on the streets, at least in the early hours of the evening.

It All Gets Down to Two Critical Factors: Outage Radius and Duration

Outage radius is the extent of the outage measured in blocks or miles. If the outage only affects one neighborhood or street, the threat is minimal and the odds are that power will be restored quickly. Even if it’s not, neighbors or family members in the proximity can provide relief in terms of fresh water, hot meals, shelter, and other basic necessities. If the city is dark as far as the eye can see, things could get serious very quickly.

Duration is the amount of time that an outage lasts. Most localized outages last an average of a half hour to three hours and are usually caused by weather. The threat level of a short-term outage is minimal even over a large outage-radius.

The real problems emerge as time goes on and the electricity stays off. Most families feel true stress after a second night without power. Imagine a month or more. As time goes on, there are usually resources set up to provide basic services but they can become easily overwhelmed. Smart preparedness can help you and your family endure.

Quebec, 1989

A massive solar storm struck the northeastern parts of North America in 1989 and caused a power outage that lasted for months in many parts of Canada. Ice storms across North America continue to cause blackouts measured in weeks. This is a significant challenge due to the threat of cold winter weather and a fundamental need for heat.

It sounds like things can get desperate fairly quickly, but you can prepare. There are several steps you can take, even if the situation isn’t that desperate. For example, you can switch off all the circuit breakers in your breaker box immediately after an outage. This will help avoid a massive power surge when the power comes back on.

Downed Power Post
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Downed Power Post
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An Outage Checklist

Some of these steps will help you get through a few days, weeks, or months. Others can help you extend that time. Whenever the potential for an outage is forthcoming, you should consider the following, especially if you live in an urban environment:

Alternative Power

A gas-powered generator, solar panels, and batteries for storage, or a whole house generator powered by natural gas offers the most direct solution to a power outage. The duration will be a critical factor if you are running a generator on gas, but natural gas lines run under their own pressure and solar panels will generate power as long as the sun shines.

With the exception of a whole-house natural gas generator, you will probably have to prioritize electricity to critical needs such as refrigeration, heat, minimal light, and communication. It’s also important to note that solar power will do little to run a refrigerator or space heater unless you have a massive solar array.

Unfortunately, not everyone will have one of these alternative power sources, but there are still intelligent options to pursue during a long power outage.

Related: 7 Ways You Can Generate Power After a Disaster


We can survive two days without water to drink. If the faucets have run dry, things can get bad very quickly. Water is also critical for sanitation, especially when it comes to the simple act of flushing a toilet. Here are some preventative and proactive steps you should take.

  • Fill the bathtub and sinks with water for flushing toilets, hand washing, and washing dishes. A bucket in the bathtub can easily be used to refill the toilet water.
  • Fill empty water bottles or other containers with water for drinking.
  • Buy some collapsible water bottles and tuck a couple of them in a closet. You can use them over and over again as water becomes available.
  • Buy a tarp and some 5-gallon buckets and figure out a way to harvest rainwater in your yard or even off of a high-rise patio.
  • Purchase a water purifier that will allow you to easily filter any water you have captured in nature.
  • If thawing snow or ice for water, use your 5-gallon bucket and thaw it in the warmest spot you can find.
  • Be alert for water distribution from Emergency Management Agencies or the National Guard.
  • Remember the water heater. Your water heater can hold anywhere from 30 to 100 gallons of water that’s suitable for any use from drinking to bathing to sanitation.
  • Whenever the opportunity to add water to your supplies presents itself, take immediate advantage. A rainstorm should be a call to arms to collect as much water as possible. You don’t know when it’s going to rain again.

Related: 8 Fastest Ways to Purify Water & 8 Places You Can Store Your Drinking Water

Candle in the Dark
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Candle in the Dark
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Just because the sun is out doesn’t mean you don’t need lighting. Bathrooms and other rooms without windows will need another light source. Lighting is obviously a more serious problem at night, and you should keep your basic lighting supplies in a place that’s easy to find, even in the dark. Consider the following steps:

  • Find, collect, and inventory flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, lighters, and other items necessary for light.
  • Buy a flashlight that is solar-rechargeable and/or can be powered by a hand crank.
  • Buy a solar battery recharger and rechargeable solar batteries for common battery types and sizes: AAA, AA, B, C, D, etc.
  • Many dollar stores sell solar charged outdoor lights. You can use them throughout the house or apartment once charged and they will usually last all night.
  • Consider LED flashlights and lighting sources. The amount of light they produce for the low amount of energy they use is extraordinary. You don’t want to run your cell phone battery down using the cell phone flashlight. Buy some small and powerful LED flashlights instead.

Related: 11 Ways to Light Your Home When the Power Goes Out


Your pantry food should keep well, but frozen and refrigerated foods are another story. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If you feel an outage is imminent, use your freezer, water, and plastic bags to start producing ice blocks while you still can. Then you can use them to keep foods cool in the freezer, refrigerator, and in coolers.
  • Remember that the cold weather can be your friend if you store foods outdoors on a back porch or patio in a cooler or another enclosed container.
  • Frozen foods are good for 48 hours in the freezer and refrigerated foods for 24 hours in the fridge. The additional use of ice blocks either in the fridge/freezer or a cooler can extend shelf life.
  • Eat refrigerated foods first, frozen foods next, and save packaged goods in bottles, cans, and boxes for later use.
  • Assess your cooking options:
    • Outdoor grill
    • Outdoor fire pit
    • Gas range
    • Outdoor camp stove
    • Gas BBQ grill
  • You should also assess your stockpiles of basic cooking fuels you might use like charcoal, propane gas, or firewood. Don’t use any of these outdoor cooking fuels indoors for heat.
  • If you have a gas range, you will probably need to light the flame manually. Electric igniters won’t be working.
  • If you have a significant amount of food that you are concerned will spoil before you eat it, cook it right away. Cooked foods will extend the shelf life and should be kept as cold as possible.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Without Power

Defense and Common-Sense Safety

Your decision to own a weapon for defense is up to you. There are also common-sense procedures to ensure you and your family are safe.

  • Consider getting a firearm and whether or not you feel you can or will use it.
  • Theft will be the most common crime. If you have anything of value, keep it out of sight and out of mind. That nice gas grill in the backyard might be filling the neighborhood with wonderful aromas, but how long will it take for someone to steal it?
  • Lock your car and, if possible, keep it in a garage.
  • Simple resources like firewood, tools, buckets, and other items will acquire value over time in a desperate environment. If you want it, protect it.
  • Travel in groups and always indicate where you are going and when you will return, then stick to that schedule.
  • If it all possible, never venture out alone.
  • Beware the darkness of night.
  • Work with your neighbors for shared survival, resources, and protection.

Related: 11 Home Security Tips for Life After SHTF


Your cell phone may work, but can you recharge the battery? The Internet may be surprisingly alive and well thanks to 4G, but as time goes on, the ability to communicate will diminish. Consider this:

  • There are solar chargers that are portable and can recharge both cell phones and laptops.
  • If you have a car, you can use the cigarette lighter to recharge your phone or laptop if you have the appropriate car charger.
  • Your car also has a radio for updates on local conditions, but use the battery power sparingly and run the engine from time to time to recharge the car battery. Don’t use up your gas for any unnecessary trips. You may need it if you bug out.
  • You can find all sorts of walkie-talkie variations on eBay for a few dollars from Motorola TalkAbouts to old CB radios. The range is short, but if cell-phones go down, it’s an easy way to stay in touch in the neighborhood.
  • Yes, the mail may go through. The post-apocalyptic movie, The Postman, put forward the idea that the mail service will survive. It may take months, but if the outage is continuing for that length of time, it may be a welcome resource.
  • Local resources and municipalities will also offer varying levels of communication alternatives at central locations. Understand how your local emergency management agencies plan and operate. They usually offer these resources at an expected location like a town hall or county complex.

Related: 5 Ways to Contact Loved Ones After the Grid Goes Down


Your location and time of year will determine how much of a factor temperature will become. Any outage in winter presents serious challenges with regards to heat. Here are some actions to consider.

  • If you have a fireplace or woodstove, make sure you have a good stockpile of wood. Remember that old shelves, furniture in the basement, and various tree limbs can fill some gaps if the weather is bitterly cold and wood supplies are tight.
  • Consolidate your living space into one or two rooms. You may not be able to heat the whole house or apartment, but once you have built some heat into a room or two it will be easier to maintain. If it’s a first-floor room with open archways to other rooms, use a blanket to close off the opening and retain the heat.
  • If you have a gas range or oven, you have a heating alternative, but be careful. Most government agencies recommend against using a gas stove or range for heat. However, they never hesitate to encourage their use for cooking. You could split the difference.
  • Never go to sleep with an open gas flame burning on a stovetop or oven, but pilot lights are okay.
  • Cook something in the oven that takes time like a turkey or ham or even a lot of baked potatoes.
  • Keep a large Dutch Oven of soup simmering on the stove top. The cast iron will radiate heat and the soup will help as well.
  • Place cast iron utensils on the stove top and in the oven and raise them to a high heat with no food inside. Shut off the gas and allow the heat stored in the cast iron to act as a heat exchanger to raise the temperature. You can even carry these hot, metal heat exchangers to your isolated room or rooms to deliver the heat. Make sure you place them on a fire-proof surface.
  • Dress and sleep in layers and with others. A bed can become a very warm place with proper blankets and insulation, and a shared bed will be warmer as our bodies generate heat under the covers.
  • Wear a hat while you sleep. A stocking cap is best, but we lose 40% of our body heat through our heads. Keep your head warm at night.
  • If it simply gets too cold regardless of your efforts, it’s time to consider a bug out strategy.

Related: 17 Ways You Can Stay Warm When The Power Goes Out

Tall Apartment Building
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Tall Apartment Building
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The High-Rise Dilemma

There are essentially three types of urban dwellings:

  1. Free-standing homes or bungalows with a yard.
  2. Smaller apartment buildings ranging from 2 to 6 stories.
  3. High-rise apartment buildings up to 90+ stories.

The greatest challenge when it comes to surviving an urban power outage occurs in the high-rise apartment buildings. The first failure point is elevators. If you live on the 78th floor and the elevators don’t work, you are going to be faced with a major if not impossible challenge during a long-term power outage.

The second failure point is no exterior property. No yard or balcony for collecting rainwater or cooking outdoors. What will become apparent to many high-rise dwellers is that the best strategy for surviving a long-term power outage is to bug out.

Related: How To Defend Your Apartment From Looters After The SHTF

Bugging Out

Every bug out needs a strategy. Here are the key considerations:

  • Do you know anybody at your bug out location?
  • Do they know you are hoping to join up with them?
  • Are you aware of their resources and what they will have to offer such as shelter, food, water, heat, first-aid, and defense?
  • Do you have the resources to reach your bug out destination such as a suitable vehicle, gas, or carts and wagons if you’re walking?
  • Are you prepared and equipped to defend yourself while traveling to your destination?
  • What resources can you bring to both share and sustain yourself and your family?
  • Have you taken proper precautions to lock down the dwelling you are leaving?
    • Gas valves shut off.
    • All circuits in circuit breaker box in off position.
    • All windows and doors locked.
    • All shades drawn.
    • Refrigerator and freezer empty and doors propped open.
    • Furnace turned to off position.
    • All water pipes drained as much as possible.

The fact of the matter is that eventually, you are going to return to your home, and you want to make sure it doesn’t sustain any damage when the power comes back on and you’re some distance away. Even something as simple as a power surge when the electricity streams back into the grid can blowout a refrigerator or other appliances if the circuit breakers are not switched off.

Related: 7 Tips to Help You Bug Out Fast

Links to Government Resources for Additional Information

There’s a lot of information about surviving power outages on the Internet, but if you want more information from a trusted and credible resource, the following links are a good place to start.

Any power outage is an inconvenience. The key is to practice some common sense preparedness and decision making to avoid life-threatening situations and events.

Want to prep but not sure where to begin? Sign Up for Our Newsletter and get your FREE One Year Urban Survival Plan!

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4 No Cook Meals For Surviving The Pandemic And Food Supply Shortages

prosciutto avocado sandwich

When it comes to your food supply, you just can’t risk not having enough. These no cook meals will be a great addition to your food supply planning. Check out the recipes below!

No Cook Meals to Help You Through the Pandemic

As of the writing of this article, there are 20 meat processing plants that have been shut down due to COVID-19 infections. We have been worrying about these types of effects on our food supply for months now, and this is the first real sign of how infections can affect the food supply.

When you walk into a supermarket, you might not see all the choices you had in the past. An empty meat case is a humbling thing for your eyes to fall upon. It’s the shocking realization that the seemingly infinite supply of chickens, pigs, and cows that are butchered for us has begun to run dry!

To deal with this issue, we are going to present four no cook meals that will help you create dinners at home that will feed your family without worrying so much about what’s available, or unavailable, in the meat case.

1. Smashed White Bean, Avocado and Salted Pork Sandwiches

Smashed White Bean, Avocado and Salted Pork Sandwiches | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

As preppers we get beans. There are a bunch of ways to use beans and this a great example of how you can pack a sandwich with great nutrition and protein.

Serving: Makes 4 sandwiches


  • Can of White Beans
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Avocado
  • 8 Slices of Whole Grain Bread
  • 8 Slices of Salted Pork (Prosciutto, Ham, Virginia Ham)


  • Begin by draining your beans in a colander then smashing them up in a bowl add a few glugs of olive oil, salt, pepper. This little mix is delicious. If you add some minced rosemary, you can even turn this into a delicious dip.
  • Pit your avocado and cut it in half and then quarters lengthwise. Leave the skin on.
  • Lay the bread out on a clean work surface for assembling the sandwiches.
  • Spread your mashed bean mix onto one side of the bread.
  • Peel your avocados and slice 1 quarter for each sandwich. Spread slices over the bean spread.
  • Add a few slices of your pork to over the top of the avocado.
  • You can finish this sandwich with some lettuces, fresh sprouts, or just eat it as is.

2. Delicious Crab Salad

Canned crab is a protein option that will likely be around through much of this meat crisis. It does have to be kept in refrigeration, but it’s delicious and this chipotle mayo salad is great in the spring and summer.


  • 1 Can of Crab Meat
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus
  • Chipotle Mayo
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro


  • Drain your crab in a colander and set it in the sink.
  • Slice your asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Throw them into a bowl.
  • Thinly slice your onions and your cilantro and throw that into the bowl, as well.
  • Gently toss in the crab meat.
  • Squirt on enough Chipotle mayo to coat everything and toss gently not to break up the crab meat.
  • Chill in the fridge and serve.

3. Simple Greek Salad

Simple Greek Salad | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

The combination of simple summer ingredients makes for an incredible quick salad that you could add other proteins, too, if you wanted. These could be canned meats.


  • 2 Large Tomatoes
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Red Onion
  • ¼ Cup of Feta Cheese
  • A Few Sprigs of Fresh Mint
  • ½ Cup of Kalamata Olives
  • Balsamic Dressing


  • I like to cut the tomatoes in large chunks and have them kind of be the main course in this salad. Peel and slice your cucumber in half. Remove the seeds and either dice or slice in half-moons.
  • Peel and slice your red onion in half. Julienne your, or thinly slice, your half onion.
  • Add all these ingredients to a bowl. Finely slice your mint.
  • Add your olives, crumbled feta, and mint to the bowl and add enough dressing to coat everything.
  • Stir it up and allow this to chill for at least an hour for the flavors to really blend.

4. Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

Using some similar ingredients and adding a protein like tuna, you can create some delicious lettuce wraps. The key to a good lettuce wrap is to have most of the items around the same size. So, consider that when you are preparing this dish.


  • Iceberg or Butter Lettuce
  • Canned Artichokes
  • Canned roasted Red peppers
  • Fresh Cucumber
  • Feta Cheese
  • Minced Olives ¼ Cup
  • 2 Cans of Tuna
  • Green Onions
  • Basil


  • Start by peeling all the full leaves from your lettuce. Set them on a plate either cover them with a wet paper towel or put them back into the fridge.
  • Dice the peppers, artichokes, and cucumbers into cubes. Go no larger than ½ an inch.
  • Thinly slice your green onions and basil and add them to a bowl with your diced vegetables. Add your loves to this bowl and mix them thoroughly.
  • Crumble your feta cheese over the mixture.
  • Drain your tuna thoroughly and then add that to the bowl, as well.
  • Gently toss this mixture. Try not to break up the tuna and the cheese too much but incorporate it thoroughly.
  • If you want, you can add some olive oil to the mix or a few glugs of balsamic vinegar. It’s also delicious just how it is.
  • Scoop a few tablespoons into a lettuce leaf, wrap it up and eat up!

These no cook meals should help lessen the stress you feel when thinking of what to feed your family. If you don’t have the specific ingredients, use your creativity, and use what you have. You might discover a new recipe while you’re at it!

What’s your favorite no cook meal recipe? Please share it with us in the comments section!

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Billionaire Whistle Blower: Wuhan Coronavirus Death Toll Is Over 50,000

  1. Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui recently revealed leaks from Wuhan crematoriums. He claims based on the number of bodies their furnaces are burning, the death toll could be as high as 50,000.

A Chinese billionaire and whistleblower who lives in U.S. exile says Wuhan crematoriums have burned 50,000 coronavirus victims. | Credit: Chinatopix via AP

  • The official coronavirus death toll in China is a little over 800. But an exiled Chinese businessman says crematoriums are leaking the real figure.
  • A billionaire whistleblower alleges Wuhan has crematoriums working 24/7. He claims they’ve cremated some 50,000 coronavirus victims.
  • Guo Wengui is a Chinese billionaire living in exile in the United States.

The official coronavirus death toll is some 800 people in China. The current official death toll worldwide, outside of China, is 774. But a Chinese billionaire with a history of blowing the whistle on his former government says the real figure is much higher.

Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui recently revealed leaks from Wuhan crematoriums. He claims based on the number of bodies their furnaces are burning, the death toll could be as high as 50,000. Wengui made the bombshell allegations in an interview with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.


Whistleblower: 1.5 Million Coronavirus Cases In China, 50,000 Coronavirus Deaths In Wuhan


He also claims to have inside information that there are 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in China. Wengui is emphatic that these are not merely quarantined or “under observation” but confirmed cases of coronavirus infection:


China has struggled to contain the coronavirus. But it has also struggled to contain public outcry against censorship and tight control of information. Dr. Li Wenliang, who sounded the alarm about the disease, succumbed to an infection and died this week. The Chinese government arrested him for blowing the whistle.

Then officials tried to suppress news of his death. Afterwards, millions of Chinese citizens saw the hashtag #IWantFreedomOfSpeech on Mandarin language social media. But the Chinese government censored that too.

Are Wengui’s Crematorium Claims Credible?

Watch VICE’s 2017 profile on Guo Wengui. At the time, he published bombshell documents alleging corruption in the Chinese government. He got the attention of the media and reportedly the U.S. State Department.


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5 Types Of Ammunition To Stockpile For A Collapse


Every prepper knows it’s a great idea to stockpile ammunition when preparing for a major disaster.

You can use it for hunting, self-defense, or barter.

But which types of ammo should you stockpile?

If you plan on bartering, then you don’t want a bunch of calibers that nobody wants. And that’s just one consideration.

In this video, Reality Survival & Prepping talks about what he thinks are the 5 best types of ammunition to stockpile for a collapse.

Here are his picks:

  1. .22 LR – Very common, good for hunting small game, very light and small.
  2. 9mm Luger – Great for self-defense, fits in a wide variety of handguns.
  3. 5.56×45mm or .223 Remington – Also very common, cheap and effective.
  4. .308 Winchester – Widely used, works in AR10 and bolt-action platforms.
  5. 12 Gauge – You can do a lot with it — hunt, defend yourself, etc.

In the video below he makes a much more detailed case for each caliber. What do you think of this list?

This article first appeared on See it here


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