Suppose conditions are really challenging. Your home remains intact, but power is unavailable. Alternate sources for warmth and cooking would be needed. You'll find helpful suggestions on the General Supplies list which is based on two adults, two teenagers and two dogs for nine weeks. This is only a guideline; alter the list to suit personal needs and family members.

HOLY COW!! I hear the yelping at the list's length already! Many of these things you will have on hand and they need not be duplicated. The best way to prepare for potentially rough times is to take this test:

Assume there is no electricity for the purpose of effective planning.

How must you change your routine? What would you need to get through each day's activities? Do you have the proper equipment? Are your appliances all electric? If, after the initial crisis has passed - maybe a week to 10 days - power has returned, GREAT! But what if it hasn't... This is not being pessimistic, only prepared.

For example, if you purchase a grain grinder, make certain it can be converted to manual operation if the unit is electric. If you can't use the microwave and purchased only frozen, nukable dinners, effective planning is already shot in the foot. Never mind that with no electricity foods will thaw in approximately three days. Should half of your stored foods be canned and there is no manual can opener, access would be challenging.

Do a mental walk-through of a typical day. Imagine waking to the clock radio. Does it run on batteries or have battery backup? You've completed the day's ablutions. Did you use an electric razor, curling iron, blow dryer? Did you need a lighted make-up mirror or drink brewed coffee? Did you use a space heater to ward off the morning chill or a heat lamp? Don't forget to factor in time to heat your bath water!

For breakfast, did you warm up toaster pastries in the toaster? Boil tea water on the stove? Electrically juice fruit or vegetables? Perhaps you flipped on the stereo to catch the morning news. Are you stocked up on batteries? Do you have a solar or battery-powered radio?

Next on the day's agenda is a little house cleaning. Do you have adequate disinfectant? Germs can be rampant with broken sewer mains. The vacuum cleaner won't run; do you have a decent broom, mop and pail? Practice composting. It makes one less reliant on the garbage disposal and feeds a sprouting garden.

Will you survive without the Internet? Did you make a hard copy of every important file on your hard disk? Let's hope the only copy of your address book is NOT kept in cyberspace. Don't plan on calling Aunt Nell with your cell phone. Your regular phone, should it be working, will be useless with call-clogged phone lines. A visit to Aunt Nell is probably not feasible either with inoperable traffic lights. How long will your gasoline or diesel last? This is an excellent reason to have a dependable bicycle.

This scenario is enough to set your imagination in motion. Continue visualizing the rest of your day and cooking the evening meal. Afterwards, what do you do for entertainment? In winter, daylight may be gone by 5 PM. Activities will need to be something other than watching TV or playing video games. Remember the good ole days of books, talking with your neighbor and playing Monopoly? It's back to basics time!

Ready for Practical Preparedness Test - Part Two?

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