Massive storms left nearly 2 million people in the United States without power, and some without basic emergency services, last weekend and early this week.
People scattered from Washington, D.C., through 10 States from Indiana to Delaware — including about 410,000 in West Virginia; 400,000 in Ohio; and 340,000 in Virginia — had no electricity by Monday evening after storms last Friday and Saturday devastated power infrastructure.
In Northern Virginia, a commercial power failure at Verizon, the company that operates the area’s 911 call systems, left residents unable to report emergencies over the weekend. While no deaths or serious injuries were reported, the incident highlights the importance of being prepared for a disaster that causes the power grid to fail.
Here are some basic things that everyone should have on hand for an emergency (from Bob Livingston’s How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization):
- Weapons and plenty of ammunition (A handgun, 12-gauge shotgun, .22 rifle and larger caliber rifle — .308 or 30-06 — would be excellent choices for whatever comes your way in defense or hunting needs.)
- Good hunting knife and sharpening stone
- Extra clothing, hats and boots
- Fire starter kit
- Candles, lanterns, matches, lighters
- Extra fuel for your cook stove
- Bear pepper spray (Even if you don’t live in bear territory this can be useful to help you deter looters or someone wishing to do harm.)
- Rain gear
- Fishing gear (rod, reel, stocked tackle box)
- Chain saw and extra fuel
- An axe and a hatchet or hand axe
- File for sharpening axe and chain saw
- Gas masks and extra filters
- Vegetable seeds for planting a garden
- Tools for tilling the ground and digging
- A bicycle (It would give you alternate mode of transportation as long as the streets are safe to travel on.)
While many of the above preparations are for a long-term grid-down scenario and may seem excessive for a power outage, it is better to be prepared for the lights to stay off forever than to have to go about gathering these items after the fact.
It is also a good idea to have a store of clean water and non-perishable food on hand for the short term along with batteries, flashlights, medical kits and other “no-brainer” emergency supplies.