I know I said every Wednesday...but better late than never I always say. This part of the Survive the Apocalypse series is centered around energy. When I say energy I am speaking of fire, electricity and heat.
For the short term prepper one of the most important things you can invest in is a generator. I recently purchased a Coleman Powermate 5000. A generator like this is not meant to be a long term solution by any means. If I were looking for something heavy duty and practical for the long term it would definitely be diesel or propane powered. What a generator like this will do is get you through a period of up to a few weeks if your power is out...such as in the case of a major hurricane. A generator doesn't need to be run 24hrs. a day and that should help you spread the fuel out over a longer time. They also run longer if you keep the load on the generator under its maximum capacity. My generator will run for around 12 hours on a 6 gallon tank if I keep the load at around 50 percent of it's capacity.
A picture of my generator is below:
I keep the fuel tank full along with 2 and 1/2 ounces of Stabil to keep the fuel fresh. I also take the generator out at least once a month and run it for 5 minutes to keep everything lubed and prevent hard starts. This leads me to talk about how your are going to keep your generator running. Make sure you have an ample supply of whatever fuel you generator uses on hand, whether it is gasoline, diesel or propane have a supply to get you through at least a week or two.
My experience is with gasoline so my main point to make on that is gas breaks down. If you store any kind of gas make sure you add fuel stabilizer to it to slow that breakdown process. Make sure you store it in approved containers and be wary of fumes. Gasoline fumes are EXTREMELY flammable so it best to store your gas away from your main dwelling. I keep about 25 gallons on hand and rotate it frequently.
Please make sure YOU NEVER RUN A GENERATOR INSIDE YOUR HOUSE...the reason being you will die from carbon monoxide poisoning. I am paranoid in that sense because CO is colorless and doesn't smell. When I run the generator (even outside) I have a CO detector (battery powered) I will keep in the area we sleep in.
If you have a lot of devices that are battery powered make sure you have an ample supply of those. I keep several dozen AA, AAA and 9 volt batteries on hand ALWAYS remembering to rotate the old one to the front as batteries do weaken over time. There are a few exceptions like CR123's which have a 10 year shelf life. I have seen some folks put some VERY nice solar setups together. They are still relatively expensive if you want decent amperage. I plan on doing something like this in the near future with some panels and deep cycle batteries. The biggest costs are the panels and the controllers/inverters. It does not pay to go cheap on those and for heavens sake don't use car batteries in your bank...always use deep cycle or marine batteries.
FIRE, HEAT & COOKING:
I live in the south but if I lived in a colder climate I would definitely have either a fireplace (wood burning...NOT GAS) or a wood burning stove to heat my house in the event that the juice stopped flowing. I would also have several cords of wood (seasoned) available for fuel. If your not lucky enough to have either of those they make some nice propane heaters that could be used to heat areas of your shelter. Space type heaters always demand caution because if you are careless your entire house will be a wood burning stove. In the event you have nothing...make sure you have wool blankets and high quality cold weather clothing because it will be as cold inside your house as it is outside in fairly short order.
Speaking of fire make sure you have several ways of creating fire available. I have a dozen butane lighters as well as several hundred matches available. I also have a Swedish Fire Steel as a backup. I have ignited my camp stove with this no problem and when I go camping I force myself to use it to start fires so I have become quite proficient with it. BTW dryer lint makes excellent fire starter, so ask whomever does your laundry to save that stuff...this is also the reason you need to get your dryer vent cleaned at least once a year...think giant wood burning stove again.
Cooking can be challenging in a disaster situation. I suggest you invest in a good quality grill like a Weber (propane or charcoal) and if you go propane have 2 or 3 extra tanks. If you go Charcoal store several LARGE bags as well as lighter fluid. I also have a small propane powered camp grill and a isobutane powered single burner to fall back on as well, I keep about a dozen of each type of fuel stored and my wife and I could cook for a few weeks just with those...not including my Weber which I have 2 spare tanks for. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace or wood burning stove you can certainly use those to cook as well.
This stuff demands some planning because once the power or gas go out it will be too late to run to Wal-Mart because everyone is going to have the same idea as you. If you think about what I have written and do some simple planning you could last several weeks on your own and be able to function quite nicely.
The next segment of the series will focus on defense...everyone's favorite topic.
...that is all.
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