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What do you do if or when there is no electricity?

Updated on August 9, 2012

Penny Stove

Top: The kit is self contained in its own Boiler Can.  Bottom: the stove kit broken down.
Top: The kit is self contained in its own Boiler Can. Bottom: the stove kit broken down. | Source

Things Happen

This morning I woke up with my typical mentality... "... mmmmph.... Cofee... grumble grumble..." and made my way to the kitchen where I quickly discovered that the stove was out of gas. I vaguely remembered that my wife had told me of that yesterday, but since I was in the midst of a study... it had gone forgotten.

Last week we were at Church for an evening service and in the midst of the preaching... the Electricity of the entire town went out... It happens here from time to time... plenty of drunks who hit light poles... and semi-trucks that are over height and take out power lines that cross the streets.. sometimes lightning can take out a transformer... There is always something to disrupt our lives...

But the question I propose to you today, is one that I offer to you in Preparation for the next time one of these events happens to you.

---- Will you be Prepared???

I am happy to say that I had my coffee this morning.. and that it was only minutes behind when It would have normally been finished... and that when the lights went out at the Church we finished the Service by the light of an oil lamp with scarcely a break in the preaching.

Boy Scout Motto: Be Prepared

When I was in the boy scouts the motto was "Be Prepared".

Let me tell you that there is nothing quite like the confidence you gain with just having a little bit of Preparedness when a problem occurs.

Do you know that most power failures are as close to being fixed as your own house/apartments own breaker box?

Does your box have a breaker or a fuse??? If its fuses, Do you have a spare Fuse handy?

Do you know where your breaker box is at? Could you find it in the dark and flip the switch? Do you have a working flashlight where you can find it at all times? (maybe on your Cell phone???)

Do you have alternative forms of lighting in case the Power failure is not just the flip of the switch away from a swift resolve?

What would you do if a neighbor up the street was digging a hole for a drain line on a swimming pool and busted the natural gas main... or maybe he took out the buried power lines???

Being Prepared ahead of time... means no sweat for the small stuff... It means less headaches and no stress in times of trouble...

Alternative Energy

Most of the Emergency problems you will run into have to do with Power loss.

Electricity or Gas... depending on what you have at your home.

In our case... our Gas is not from a pipeline.. but from a 20# bottle that runs out about every three months. Today I bought Not One but TWO bottles of gas... so that we now have a spare bottle on the side... just in case of another minor emergency....

  • (I do not like having my morning cup of Coffee delayed!!!)

In this mornings case however you might wonder... how did I get my coffee made so quickly without the normal Electrical or Gas method? ;-)

I used a Penny Stove that I made myself last year as a fun "Survivalist" type craft project. You can google that for an "instructables" article... there are several of them that will show you how they are made... and best of all they are free... made from some stuff you normally toss in the garbage or Recycle bin.

I simply reached up on top of the Fridge where they (Two of them) were kept and opened up the penny stove and used it on top of the range... (It burns simple household alcohol) to make my coffee the same way I normally make it.... (Boil water and pour the water through the coffee/filter... pour the coffee back through a second time... and its a done deal.)

I am a bit of a Preparedness freak I guess... If I have a problem once... I figure it will probably happen again, and I prepare for it.

So far I have never been wrong living in this mentality.

My family endured Katrina (It passed right over our house in South MS)... we were without Power and needful things for a few weeks... but we survived... and we learned... Then we prepared... and the next Hurricane that hit (Hugo) did not disrupt our lives near as bad... of course it was not near as severe either... But had it been we were prepared.

But what I advise you... is that you do not wait for something bad to happen before you prepare. Spend a few minutes thinking about it now... before hand... and it will save you allot of hassle later no matter what happens.

Find your Fuse/Breaker Box... and know where it is...

Buy a flashlight and put it where you can find it... Plug in Rechargeable's are great as you do not have to worry about buying batteries all the time and some of them can be left plugged in all the time until they are needed.)

Keep some simple camping gear around... be able to cook your food without electricity or gas. I would even go so far as to make or buy a penny type stove and some old fashioned Kerosene Hurricane Lamps to keep around...

Hey.. You know... just in case of WW3... you can always burn Diesel Fuel instead of Kerosene if you need to, and bacon fat can be used to cook your food on too... that is if you know how and have the stuff you need to do it.

Many times just the Knowledge that you glean from making a thing (Like a penny stove) can help you to resolve other problems with little or no difficulty...

Preparedness pays in many ways.

Washing Clothes

When the power or water goes out.... something as simple as doing the dishes or washing clothes can be a challenge.

I have not found a practical way of doing dishes that did not involve getting the hands dirty... sorry.... no tips for that, but... about Washing Clothes...

During Katrina we had the benefit of being in the midst of a very old fashioned Church family... When the lights went out, and the water stopped flowing through the pipes... the ladies gathered up the laundry in a pickup truck and headed down to the creek... They knew right where to go and were laughing the whole way... While the children played downstreem and had themselves a hi ho time... The ladies Soaked the Clothes beat them on rocks and washed them in some tubs that they had brought along for the purpose... One of the tricks they used that I thought was first rate and needs to be told...

With a round tub full of soapy water and clothes, two women would face each other and then lock their elbows and and start walking in a circle... stomping the clothes as they went round and round. Quite simply they balanced one another as their stomping acted as the agitation in the human washing machine...

I suppose it should also be told how that they sang songs and had fun while doing the chores...

I used this same type of method another time when my wife was in another country and I needed to get the laundry done with the kids helping me... we got our act together and had a "Laundry party"... I presoaked clothes and washed and then rinsed in three plastic garbage pales that we keep on hand for just this purpose... When the power goes out, you better act fast and fill the tubs with water... Before all the water in the reservoir and pipes is used up by others who do not realize the trouble and curtail their wastefulness of long showers etc..


The main problem as I see it with disaster preparedness is that people wait untill the disaster happens before they try to prepare... and then it is too late.

But you do not have to wait... You can prepare now by simply thinking ahead... and then doing a few tests....

Thinking ahead: Ask yourself these Questions, and take some notes... then act upon those notes by either making or buying the things needed to prepare.

In the event of a Power outage:

  • What things around your house would be disabled? (Cooking, Well pump, Hot water, Refrigerator, washing machine, clothes dryer... etc)
  • What would you need to stay functional under these circumstances?

In the Event of some other type of failure... Gas line, water pipes,

Testing: Ok.. so now you have made your preparations... now "Make the problem a reality"

Go to the breaker box and shut the power off... Go without power for a day or two.. and see if your preparations were viable. More than likely you forgot to cover some simple bases... like having the right kind of stuff to cook with over a penny burner camp stove... Or maybe you forgot to buy cord to hang the laundry on.. There is always something you could have done better. So run the test... and if you need to, end it early and go get the things you forgot... and then start the test again...

Questions? Suggestions??? Ideas on how to do things better???

You can make your own comments on the thread and have fun with it...


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    • MrMaranatha profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      Thank You Deb... I appreciate it...

      Penny Stoves are fun to make... The trick is getting the two pop can bottoms to go over one another... that is a trick:-)

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 

      7 years ago

      Useful, interesting and awesome Hub - Up. Great Advice. I'm prety good with being prepared - I was a Brownie & a Girl Scout. There is a website I just found: that covers a range of items one would need in case... I have washed small bundles of laundry in the sink, and hung them in the bathroom which is really an old idea when women always washed lingerie and other smaller clothing. Thank you for your ideas - I will look up the Penny Stove.


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