Ask an intriguing question, get intriguing answers.
That’s what I did a couple of weeks ago to my email audience. (By the way, if you aren’t getting my exclusive articles, tips, insights, and updates, you really should sign up here.) I posed a worst-case survival scenario and simple asked, “What would you do?”
Here’s the scenario:
What if you knew from a 100% source that the power grid would fail in 7 days?
- What would you do?
- Where would you go?
- Who would you contact?
- What purchases would you make, if any?
- If you use prescription medication, how will you replace it or survive without it?
Thinking about such an event happening within such a short amount of time, kind of changes the mindset, doesn’t it? Just reading through these questions, gives one a sense of urgency, the mind starts racing, calculating priorities, distances, supplies, and the like.
My email readers really came through with thoughtful and creative responses and I wanted to share those with you, and please! Use the comment section to add your own answers and thoughts. Here is a selection of responses in order of the questions asked.
Question 1: What would you do first?
Maria: I would have to accept it. Check all my preps, specially the ones I need to live without electricity, such as back up ways to cook, lighting through solar, possibly purchasing a solar generator.
TIP– There are many ways to prepare to live without electricity. Read here about some great ideas to get you started.
Jennifer: Well, there would be no way to collect from people in a grid down, would there? I’d max out all my credit cards buying preps.
Des: Go, Oh *&%$! Assuming this will be an EMP strike it would double Oh *&%$! But with 7 days prior notice it would be like being handed the winning numbers in the lottery in advance. A lot can be done in 7 days. First rule would be as hard as it might to do it but DON’T PANIC! The second rule is “Don’t worry about maxing out the credit card or cards, third rule is to be “super-efficient and organized” which entails planning (I have a way to go with this one). My first action would be item 3 then I would organize the hire a large closed in truck or U-Haul trailer or both for a week. Order a couple of drums (approx 200litre size) of gasoline and diesel to be delivered (limits apply in our area so may have to contact a couple of suppliers), and also hand pumps for the drums. Do extra runs to pick up a few more if time permits. Hire 3 or 4 x 40ft metal shipping containers from the local supplier, they have very quick delivery times as I have used them before, (to stash the vehicles, solar panels, generators, pumps, and other electrical items that will need to be protected against EMP plus any other goods), pick up a bunch of electrical earth/grounding stakes or metal water pipe and large size copper wire to ground the containers. I have a large metal clad steel framed shed with a concrete floor but not sure if that would be adequate for protection against an EMP, must check this out. Large quantity of black, green, grey and brown matte paint (to camouflage the containers, vehicles and whatever else that we need into blend into the background. Also look at shade cloth for use as camo material which does seem to work well as there are lots of vegetation surrounding the property. See what I can pick up to supplement protection tools and devices as local law is very strict on things that emit projectiles of any kind. If time permits pick up a few quick growing larger shrubs to help camo the access road to the property which would also entail removing all associated items identifying occupancy including the mail box, street numbers, and the like.
TIPS- There are many ways to make and protect your electronic items from an EMP. Learn about what to store and ow to store it here.
Molly: Pray. That’s my first and foremost because there is no way I would get through that week and everything after without God’s help. I’d also try building a small faraday cage in case of EMP and stick half our electronics in it just in case it would work. There are other things I’d want to get done but I’d have to delegate cause I can’t do everything. That bicycle generator I asked my oldest to build would switch to a top priority for sure.
Gayle: Top off my supplies with some of the equipment I’ve been drooling over but isn’t essential like that sweet solar powered generator I’ve been craving. The two I have are gasoline powered and the one in the RV is propane powered. I would add more clean, safe drinking water and longer term food supplies. Add some more ammunition for my firearms and reloading supplies. Purchase more fuel for my lanterns, etc. Fortunately all my survival books and information are in Kindle and hard-copy form and I have a solar recharging panel to keep the devices powered. Household security and defense would be gone over and additions added or modified if needed. I would also pick up a good bunch of chicks (with a rooster!) and several pairs of rabbits for meat, eggs, and fur. A pair of goats would be great but not essential.
Linda: I would fill every container I could find with more water, spend the whole social security check on last minute food & fuel & start calling every kid & grand-kid to come home immediately. If they couldn’t I would warn them to get ready. I would board up windows & reinforce doors, clean every gun. I would buy more seeds & even more toilet paper. LOTS of toilet paper. And chocolate.
Amy: I would remain calm. I would get my family together and begin preparing for the upcoming crisis. I would grab the checklist and start going through it. I would do a quick inventory and see where our stocks could use bolstering. And I would get to work.
TIPS– Having a list can assist you in prepping! Find a list that works for you. The Survival Mom has a list of lists to help you get started.
Carol: First, I would take every last dollar I have and buy a solar generator.(for hard to get to areas such as my pump house for my well) I already have propane house heaters, and a large gas generator, so I would have some form of power. I have several types of alternative cooking sources, as well as a very well stocked food pantry that would last me quite awhile. I’d miss the internet, as that is the only way my children contact me. And that leads to the next question, who would I contact. My children are spread out over the country, and I’d call them and hope they have some form of preps ready. If not, I’d tell them to get home!!!!
- Get additional critical medication for my wife.
- Get additional first aid supplies
- Building a faraday cage large enough to shield some electric equipment and replacement parts to support life after a power loss (my solar panels, Coffee Pot, etc)
- Get as much additional dry food as possible
- Get as many live animals as possible (chickens, rabbits, pigs, etc)
- Lumber and firewood supplies and green house supplies to build and repair buildings for many years
- Get additional water storage tank
- Get a distiller for water and alcohol
Sharon: Well there’s a lot of things you can do in a week. Probably the first thing I would do is go down and buy a couple of more solar panels and a couple of more marine batteries for those solar panels to take care of my freezers. Then I would go get the biggest ceramic or terracotta pot I could find and get a second one that’s a little bit smaller so I can make a zeer. A zeer can be made quite easily by putting sand in between the two pots and wet the sand. This will give you refrigeration for your food. The next chore would be to can up all the meat I can and store it. I kind of know what I need from day-to-day and make sure I would be stocked up on those things. I’m planning on bugging in so I would check my water supply and my first aid for meds that I might need. I do have lots of firewood and a wood stove so I can cook on it, even though it takes longer. I would put blackout shades on all my windows. I would make sure my guns are loaded. And I would pray a lot.
Chris: I would go get a male & a female Rottweilers that are not fixed. Right now I have 2 Rottweilers but they are fixed and make great guard dogs so I would want to get a couple that could reproduce in the future. It is not practical at this time to have dogs that are not fixed.
I would then go to Walgreens &/or Walmart and buy out their OTC meds, first aid supplies, paper goods, cleaning supplies, dog food, batteries, can goods, trash bags, etc., knowing that I already have these but wanting as much as I could get knowing that everyone else is probably doing the same thing and that there will be long lines.
Then I would charge up all of my solar equipment. I find I have to learn more about protecting my stuff from a power grid attack.
I would also do an inventory of what I already have and make sure it is organized. Then I would make sure everything is secured at the house and all safety measures have been implemented. I would then turn everything down to it’s coldest and hunker down.
Question 2: Where would you go?
Francine: If I got a 7 day notice that the grid would be gone, I would head to our home in AZ. Where it’s legal to wear a gun on your hip. We have supplies there as well as here in S.D. I would collect gas along the way!! Of course we would have to use a back route because I think many people would want to leave CA.
D: Nowhere — we’d stay in our house. We live near water and the woods.
Greg: I have no real alternative but to stay at home.
Nada: My property is quite close to where I am, but there aren’t too many people who know about it yet. I’d feel much safer up there.
TIP– Find out 18 tips you need to know to buy an affordable piece of property to bug out at
Des: To my home ASAP via a number of stores on the way. Home is approximately 100kms from the city where I work and live for 5 days of the week.
Dina: With a week’s notice, I’d pull all of my cash out of the bank and then move all of our practical items to an old property we own about an hour away. The house currently has no working utilities, but it comes with 3 tillable acres, an extensive supply of wood, and several sources of water. It also has a variety of naturally-growing medicinal herbs.
Lee: Our intention is to try to bug in for as long as we are able. We have a pet and a child, so this would be the best scenario. Luckily, at this point in time, we are all in pretty good health, so no need to worry about medications outside of having plenty of OTC and perhaps antibiotics for the ‘fish’. We have a ‘means’ to bug out, potentially, but our potential bug out location would require moving through or near a major city. We have ‘like minded’ folk as immediate neighbors, and would likely be able to work together. But there are others close by who are definitely ‘sheeple’, that worry me. But we are also able to defend our selves by various means.
Susan: We live in a rural area and have livestock. If there is no major catastrophe, we will hunker down at home.
VN: I would plan to “bug in” as there is nowhere and no way for me to go anywhere after TEOTWAWKI. Not traveling nor allowing visitors who stay longer than a couple of hours, I will be near home with no extra liabilities.
Elizabeth: I would stay home. I would try to secure my home without attracting too much attention. Security of my home and my preps is my biggest concern. I live in a nice subdivision with pretty houses with lots of windows and the idea of securing it if neighbors or bad guys got desperate is my biggest concern.
Bruce: I have several bug out or stay put scenarios already mapped out. This is a bug out due to where I live (major metro area of 2+ million). My Grid Down bug out is 1500 miles away. Unlimited water fed by the Mississippi River. A river and bayou system that goes 200+ miles with unlimited fish. Unlimited fuel in wood due to being in the middle of a million + acre forest. 9 month growing season (12 months with a greenhouse). Small game galore, rabbits, squirrel, quail, dove, large game, deer and thousands of wild pigs. Did I mention growing up on a farm with a several acre garden, raised cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, pigeons etc. and butchered them all ourselves.
Carol: I’m 63, so going isn’t really practical for me, nor is it something I’d want to undertake …All my preps are here. I have 5 acres, and although not totally self sufficient, have lots of things prepared for disaster. I live in an area that is closer to town and closer to main roads, so that is a bit of a concern for me, but I also have good neighbors, and some protection.
TIP– What does your bug out bag look like? Think outside the box and look at some non-traditional containers that might work for you!
Question 3: Who would you contact?
SN: My extended family to warn them to get ready and prep, to get somewhere safer.
Amy: Our parents. I would ask them to bring as much as they could fit in their biggest vehicles for survival to boost our stocks and inventories. I would also have them fill as many fuel cans as they have available, including their vehicles and to get to our location as soon as possible.
Loa: I would probably wish to warn (again) my sister, my ex-husband (yep, really) and a few close friends. I would also contact the island’s emergency prep group who are capable of blocking the bridge, maintaining order, and have access to medical/survival/defensive supplies.
J.: Immediate family, neighbors, county emergency management, pharmacy owner
Michael: Everyone possible starting with family, close friends, and distant family, friends
Susan: Our family out of state to make sure they will be prepared. I would hope my parents would be with my brother, but my dad is stubborn and would want to stay in his house.
Carme: Brother-in-law tell him to go shopping and head to BOL, cousin, both sons, best friend and her boyfriend and her daughter, nephew, niece in TX, niece in TN, 4 of my favorite prepper site admins!
Des: Direct relatives and some special friends. My daughters (live in the city close to each other) have BO plans in place to come to the home base. Oldest girl and her husband have two 4WD vehicles plus a trailer, what we call an Ag bike (farm bike with no electronics, and planning on buying a second one), and a few helpful tools. They will also stock the vehicles and trailer with extra supplies on their way up home.
Nada: I’d contact my mother and grandmother, who live together, and confirm their plans. I would also contact my brother and his family, also beginner planners. They both live in a large city, so I’d probably encourage them to get out of the city as soon as possible. I’d try to encourage my brother-in-law and his family as well, but I speculate they’d not do too much. I also suspect they’d go out to my father-in-law’s home. He and my mother-in-law live deep in the woods in a house that would provide them some seclusion. I hope they’d start making it on their own from there. Hopefully, that would cover our family until the grid got fixed. My biggest fear about the grid going down is that it will go down during our brutally cold Canadian winter.
Michael: I would also make as many contacts with my family on the west coast as possible. They might not listen, but I would at least do that. I would also tell them to begin *writing down* all their important information that is only on their computer.
Gayle: I would contact all my family, friends, and loved ones to warn them and invite them to Oregon. Great fishing and hunting here.
Within the block that I live in all the neighbors are pretty tight. I would approach the most level headed amongst them, share the news, and start building a community defense and survival plan. Organize food supplies, inventory those along with equipment, weapons, tools, etc. Identify everyone’s skill sets, physical health or any problems with health, and what unique contributions they can provide our community with for the longest survival chance possible.
Molly: Our parents, siblings, and a few select friends and other relatives. Also some people we know who have draft horses and wagons, and the Amish community south of town (who do not have electricity but do purchase kerosene for their washing machines and refrigerators). I figure the Amish stand a better chance of handling the transition well than the rest of us, and if possible they might help us as well.
Question 4: What purchases would you make, if any?
Jennifer: Well, if I were to max out my credit cards, I could buy pretty much anything. I’d buy everything off my wish list (prepper and not) from Amazon because you need good books and games in a grid down. I’d really stock up on food and spices. Plus food for my guinea pig. Seeds. Gardening supplies, water purification, water, etc. etc. etc. I mean, if I knew 100% for certain. . .
Katherine: I would buy water storage containers and fill them all. I would buy any solar-powered device there is and start using them (including solar oven and water purification).
TIP- Learn more about DIY solar ovens, even make your own.
Molly: Boy that Amazon Prime membership would come in handy with this! I’d get a hand-crank electronics charger (just in case any electronics will work), a hand-crank radio (in case any radio signals are going out), candles, matches, water filters, charcoal, a good ax, a good knife, more canned foods, paper/notebooks, pencils, colored pencils, OTC meds, more seeds, and extra pillows. Also, because I’m me, I’d buy books–probably mostly anthologies of classics. And extra guitar strings. A lot of this I should have already (some I do, just not enough yet), but it’s not easy prepping on a low and fixed income. I’m getting what I can, as I can. I’m sure the list would be longer than this, but I’m trying not to overthink at the moment. Oh, and as much gluten-free flour, starch, and xanthan gum as I could afford because my husband has Celiac Disease.
Black Knight: Some of that is ongoing but I doubt we will make any real last minute purchases. That’s subject to flexibility as needed. Cash may not go very far in a grid down world.
Gayle: Extra lumber for the chicken coop and rabbit hutches. Also pick up duplicates in hand tools or that rare item I may have forgotten. Water and food are the top priorities but also my prescription meds and stocking up on more supplies for my large and extensive first aid/trauma kit.
Michael: I would get to the store and purchase as much food as possible, especially charging it on the credit card. I would take as much cash out as possible, especially in small bills. If WalMart started limiting what I could get, I’d go to the local Rx stores and gas stations which do have food. Most debit cards only allow you to take out so much cash per day. I’d call my financial institution and ask them to allow me to take out as much cash via debit card as I could. If I could get cash out of my credit cards, I would. Also, I would visit a silver dealer I know and purchase as much junk silver as he would let me buy.
RicknDonna: I would add a small solar system to run the fridge (which I plan to do anyway); to supplement our auto genset which runs just the essentials, including our well pump from a 400 gallon propane. Other than that I would probably add a few more long term food items.
Wannabe: I would buy cans of vegetables, chickens and a pen for them, and prepper books.
Greg: Assuming this 7-day warning would be public, expecting to be able to purchase anything is unrealistic. But, if stores were still safe and functional: water containers, plywood/lumber to harden vulnerable spots in the house against looters. marine/automotive batteries as backups to existing standby power, gasoline/propane/charcoal. We’re in pretty good shape with food storage.
Nada: Obviously, you’d replenish any stockpiling you’d be low on but my biggest concern would be medication. My husband requires several medications at this time (although we are currently transitioning him over to more natural medications) and I’d be most concerned about keeping his medications stocked.
Colin: We have about a years food – my wife is Mormon – not much to buy that would be useful after 90 days or so. Pick up several thousand rounds of 9mm and purchase a 9 mm rifle. Have lots of 12 ga from trap and skeet shooting.
Des: As much as possible of the following items: long life food items, seed stock of vege and other edible foods and variety of seedlings, toilet paper, feminine products, fuel for vehicles, chain saw, and generators, LPG for cooking, order wood for combustion heater (my supplier usually delivers within two or three days), as much barbed wire and extra fence posts, ply wood sheeting for windows and other repairs, hand operated fuel transfer pump (already have a small syphon one now but consider that a larger one for use with underground tanks would be very handy), and similar for water, extra water filters, chlorine blocks for sewerage system, bleach, calcium hypochlorite. Methylated spirits, kerosene, mineral turpentine.
Dina: Thread, seeds, aspirin, band aids, duct tape, cold medicine, Benadryl, rice, beans, canned meats, all while reserving the bulk of our cash. We have all of those items already, but I’d like to have more. If at all possible, I’d pick up a wood stove. I know where to find a small Franklin stove, but I don’t know if I could convince the owner to part with it.
TIPS– Do you have the 10 essential OTC medications in your storage?
Question 5: If you use prescription medication, how will you replace it or survive without it?
D: This, I’m not sure about. We do use a lot of prescription medicine.
Mildred: I am looking at what else I could use in place of the diabetic and pressure meds I take.
Greg: We’re building a stock but when that runs out we’ll do without. Luckily, we don’t have any life-critical prescriptions (knock on wood).
Nada: This is a real concern for my husband. My daughter has medication as well, for GERD, but I believe that if we were pushed to it, we could deal with it without medication. On the other hand, my husband requires several medications. I am currently studying herbalism and we are looking into plants and herbs we can use to treat his condition without them. If the grid were to go down 7 days from now, our concerns would grow exponentially.
Colin: Go to the pharmacy and get as much as I could of my high cholesterol and blood pressure medicine as they would sell.
Spencer: OTC medicines will have to suffice.
Des: Have reasonable stock of medicines, antiseptic solutions, and bandages but my partner requires thyroid medication that has a very short shelve life and requires refrigeration, so not sure about this one. Spirits (the kind for medicinal purposes, not just to forget the SHIFT scenario) and Methylated spirits (good for killing germs).
Chris: I have already got off all prescription meds using herbs and homeopathy. I am growing as much as I can which is a learning experience. Boiron homeopathy pellets last a really long time so I have used these remedies since the 1990’s and refresh my supplies as needed. I also have my research books if a situation comes up that I am not familiar with. I also have pet antibiotics stored and natural remedies for flea, tick, and worm control.
TIPS– Considering herbs for medicinal uses? Dive into some great herbal information here!
Amy: I would have our prescriptions filled if possible and purchase as many essential oils as I could to replace the medications when prescriptions are no longer available.
Janine: Refill prescriptions for longest period available. We always keep an additional prescription on hand to be filled without using insurance. This gives us 6 months of medications which allows us to slowly wean off most of the medications and replace them with medicinal herbs and supplements.
Carme: I have a 5 month supply on hand for main meds. Will start from day one taking it every other or third day. This way I can last 10-15 months, maybe. Hubby is a different story. I will get his meds refilled and hope for the best! He’s on 3 seizure meds and pain meds plus other meds he can live without. The first 4 would be the most important. Still researching alternative meds for those.
Elizabeth: I do take a prescription medication, but its not life or death, so I guess I would try to reduce my dosage to make it last.
J: Get filled to max, probably 90 days. Depend upon good relationship with local pharmacy owner for future barter. Herbal/native plant medicine.
Carol: I do take some meds for type 2 diabetes, but there are MANY herbal and food products that help with that as well. And a VERY well stocked first aid kit and many homemade herbal remedies. I even have a military field surgical handbook, and materials for suturing and a dental first aid kit! My “herbal pantry” is quite extensive and would make some people look at me as if I were a bit crazy. I get almost all of my herbs from Mountain Rose herbs, and they know me quite well when I pick up my orders as they are local for me. I have almost as many as they have items! I would need to print out more of my recipes that I have stored on my computer, but already have many printed out now. (so I guess I’d have to go buy more ink for my printer!)
TIP– Not sure what to do about diabetes and a disaster? Read the Post-SHTF Guide to Diabetes.
Bruce: The medications my family is on could and should be able to be brought under control with proper diet and exercise. Those family members do not have the willpower yet. I would stop at pharmacies along the way and get as much medication for their use as is possible. I also know personally several doctors that would supply me with near unlimited “samples” that drug reps have given them.
What say you?
Now it’s time for you to think about these questions and the issues you would have to deal with during a long-term power outage. In this imaginary scenario, however, you have a 7-day advance notice, which, as one reader put it, is like, “Being handed the winning numbers in the lottery in advance.”
This type of scenario isn’t out of the realm of possibility (see my many articles on the blog about EMP) and time spent planning, even if it’s just on paper, is worthwhile.
For more information about what to expect when things go from bad to worse, check out this great article!