April 8, 2018

One More Thing to Worry About

As I was switching radio channels yesterday, a story caught my attention.  The report mentioned that infrastructure industries such as electricity, water and other utilities are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attack.  I didn’t catch all the details so I checked  the Web and found:  “Study:  Threats to Critical Infrastructure Worse that Ever

I didn’t really want to find yet another thing to worry about, but not wanting to know about such things won’t change anything.  It would be quite a disaster if the power grid or were to be interrupted for any reason, whether it’s a cyberattack, EMP or a natural disaster.  Our supplies do include water and food, but what about power backup?  Being in an apartment, we don’t have a generator.  We don’t have the room and many generators tend to be noisy and attract attention.  Time to do an evaluation of how we would cope with a power failure:

Lighting:  We have flashlights and tap lights with batteries, hand-crank flashlight, a camping lantern, light sticks, candles and matches.

Cooking:  Still have the Coleman camp stove, but need to add a few more propane canisters; also have a small barbecue grill that also needs fuel.

Communication:  Cell phone, radio with batteries; also have a hand crank radio

Time keeping:  I switched to a solar watch a while back when I got tired of replacing watch batteries every few months.

Entertainment:  With no TV or video games, some backup entertainment would be needed to help kids cope:  we have kid friendly card games such as UNO, and board games.

In the next few days I plan to look into solar chargers and rechargeable batteries so we can have a backup for charging small items such as cell phone, laptop.  I’ll post about it when I find one.




12 Comments on One More Thing to Worry About

  1. Dont know if itll help but one idea could be a solar type generator…they sell these things online I think but my thought would be a small car battery type solar charger on a marine type battery in a spot where it stays charged…(could be backed up by a small windturbine on a patio or an exercise bike with a generator OR…?)a small inverter could be hooked to the system for small power needs,nice thing is the system could be expanded to cover the bulk of your needs in a SHTF situation,Ive had success with a homemade model using mostly old car/truck parts…thanks!

  2. You are right, not knowing about it won’t make it go away (though sometimes I wish that was the case). We live on five acres and have a generator but also a lot of the stuff you have mentioned. Don’t forget books of all sorts. “Google is your friend”, as my hubby always, says so you should find more solutions for your situation on there.

  3. Good post!
    We have invested in a small solar battery recharger from Canadian Tire. No bigger than a cell phone, it comes with, and holds, two AA rechargeable batteries. When we go for a walk, we clip the charger (that has a handy clip) to one of our backpacks, turn the switch to “in” and walk. Every now and then, one of us makes sure the solar panel face is facing up. (Pretty easy to do because it tends to sit on the top of the bag).
    We get home, unclip it and we can use those now-charged batteries in anything.
    What prompted me to buy it was the need for a charger for our iPods when we go away.
    I simply turn the switch to “out”, plug in my iPod and let it charge right off the solar charger. Pretty cool, and this way, I don’t need to deal with the hassle of plugging it into someone else’s computer to charge.
    Now, it’s small, and I’ve listed one device, but there are bigger solar chargers out there.
    Just an idea.

  4. Another gadget worth considering are portable battery packs offered by companies like Xantrex (www.xantrex.com). Thier xpower powerpacks will run lights, TVs and charge cell phones for a few days or longer. It can be recharged from wall current or an automobile, and can also jumpstart your car, or inflate a tire – it has a built-in air compressor.

    It proved its worth last summer during a daylong power outage. We were able to run a small table fan for about eight hours. Without it, the 90 degree + weather would have been pretty unbearable.

  5. After remembering you were in Houston, I went looking to find the exact model name of our small solar charger. Here’s a bit more specific info.

    KODAK Solar Charger KS100-C+2 Solar charger – AA – NiMH 2100 mAh
    Harness the sun’s power to charge your favorite gadget on the go with the KODAK Solar Charger KS100-C+2. The charger powers any USB-chargeable device, like your MP3 player or cell phone, to provide up to 33 hours of additional run time. The rechargeable AA batteries inside are powered up by the sun’s rays and even indoor lighting so you don’t need to be plugged in to be turned on. No need to wait – the solar charger keeps your device running and recharges it at the same time. Stay powered up, wherever, whenever.
    Hope this helps!

    • Thanks Carolyn, that was nice of you to send me a link. Looks like a good charger and reasonably priced too.

  6. Search for buddy burners instead of storing propane. Very simple idea, cardboard, wax in an old tuna tin. I’ve made a small box of 30. Each one lasts a few days so that is at least 2 months worth of cooking. Reasonably safe for indoor use with a window open for ventilation and never leave unattended!

    • That sounds like a nifty idea, making a burner from an old tuna can. I will have to experiment! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Uh, I don’t know what the weather is like in houston, but your main problem with the grid going out is gonna be staying warm / cool, along with how electronically controlled doors behave.
    Depending on climate, that might mean that you would need a lot more water than you anticipated. Or, if you are somewhere cold then you’ll need more burner fuel. Worth thinking about.
    Here in merry england, the weather isn’t hot enough to necessitate aircon, but during cold spells, snow can knock out power to an area, while at the same time making it harder to leave, especially in the countryside.
    Mobile coms towers are usually good for a week or so without power, and if the emergency is not widespread, you should be able to use it. However remember that you will not be able to charge your phone easily.

    • Spring starts the warm weather in Houston, then gets really hot and humid in the summer. Avoiding heatstroke if the grid were to go down would definitely be an issue. Thanks for the comment.

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