Whether it be a grid crash, natural disaster or external attack, it is never too early to begin preparing for the worst. Everyone has a theory on the most likely cause of a widespread blackout, and the plans for coping with one are as diverse as the possible causes. Some like to keep it simple, planning to revert to the hunter-gatherer days if disaster strikes. Others plan to go full-on Tony Stark with high-tech gadgets and equipment for survival. But as it is with many of life’s challenges, sometimes the middle of the road may be the safest place to be.
Whether you are prepping for a temporary power outage or full-on apocalypse, this list of high- and low-tech items to have on hand when the lights go out has something for everyone.
Most low-tech proponents cry “Electromagnetic Pulse” (EMP), a phenomenon that has the potential to zap all tech containing microprocessors, including computers, cellphones and vehicles. While no one can be certain that when disaster strikes it will be of the nuclear variety or due to solar flares, but both have a high EMP probability. So, let’s begin with a few low-tech items on the list.
- Your own eyes. Forget fancy GPS and radio systems that are vulnerable to EMP and likely to glitch without an incredible pulse. Learning how to read your environment is about as low-tech as you can get. A savvy prepper should know how to interpret the weather and sky for advanced warning of potential Mother Nature threats. Clouds are of particular importance in identifying a threat, with the general rule being that tall clouds mean bad weather. If you observe clouds stacking upward instead of across, you are in for a thunderstorm or possibly a tornado.
- Solar garden lights. These low-tech, inexpensive and practical ornaments have a dozen different uses. Where you need light, these easy-to-transport solar torches will abide. Keep them outside during the day to charge and store solar power, then use them at night to light up dark, exterior walkways or bring them inside at night to be used as flashlights or placed in large jars or vases to use as stationary room lighting.
Assuming the disaster does not wipe out all communication and technology or that the outage is discerned to be short-term, here a few items to add to your high-tech want list:
- A reliable vehicle should be a staple in your prepping plan. Depending on the circumstances, it could be used as a temporary shelter and storage, or if the streets are still relatively clear, it could be your getaway transport. Your driving capabilities could also serve you well in a disaster situation. But if you’re lacking driving skills, it could be a hindrance. What good is a fast getaway car if it’s an automatic transmission and you never learned to drive stick? Possessing know-how and defensive driving skills is of paramount importance.
- An ultraviolet, handheld water purifier. The SteriPEN quickly purifies water, making it safe for consumption. This handheld device uses UV light to destroy about 99.9 percent of protozoa, virus and bacteria from a water source. Depending on the kind of disaster you are prepping for, you have your choice between a model that runs on lithium batteries or requires a USB cable.