Well, the end of August is com­ing, and the weath­er is start­ing to change a bit; evenings are get­ting cool­er, and days are start­ing to get a bit short­er.  This to me is a clear sign of a few things.  One, some of my Bug Out Bag con­tents need to be rotat­ed out soon with win­ter preps, such as addi­tion­al base lay­ers, gloves, hats, etc.  That’s the sim­ple stuff.  But, what if it is mid win­ter (as I live in the north­east) and there is an ice storm (thanks for the visu­al Doug), a snow storm, etc. that knocks out pow­er and gas for a few days and the tem­per­a­ture is going to be close to or below zero.  Maybe the State of NJ has declared a state of emer­gency and due to their bud­get being bust­ed, they can­not get plow trucks on the road for a few days.  This is a pos­si­ble real­i­ty that I live with every win­ter as being a viable SHTF sit­u­a­tion for me.

So, that said, what is a prep­per that lives in an apart­ment in NJ to do about a pos­si­ble pow­er / gas out­age in NJ mid win­ter and not freeze to death if you are stuck shel­ter­ing / bug­ging in?  Well, I can be like 95% of NJ and put on a coat and shiv­er until the pow­er comes back on and eat peanut but­ter sand­wich­es for the dura­tion of the out­age.  Um, prob­a­bly not, because I don’t want to be one of those peo­ple who die from expo­sure in their home in the mid­dle of win­ter because I was not pre­pared.  So, what have I done to pre­pare for this type of an emer­gency?  Well, I have spent a lit­tle mon­ey, as I think to do this cor­rect­ly you have to.  Here is what I have prepped for such an emer­gency:

Heat.  I did spend a lit­tle mon­ey last fall on a Mr. Heater Portable Big Bud­dy Propane Heater.  It holds a 16oz con­tain­er of propane on both sides of the unit, hid­den behind two doors, and has an adapter on the rear that takes a 20lb propane con­tain­er.  I can­not have a 20lb propane con­tain­er in my apart­ment, so I opt for the 16oz can­is­ters.  It takes two D cell bat­ter­ies or runs on AC elec­tric to push the heat from the heater out into the room, and is adjustable from low to high.  I test­ed it out last year and am pleased so far, but have not used it for an emer­gency yet.  Now, how will I use it.  First, in an emer­gency such as described above, I am going to put a tarp up in my liv­ing room and a blan­ket cov­er­ing the hall­way sep­a­rat­ing the rest of the apart­ment from the liv­ing room and my home office where all my preps are stored.  This will pro­vide me with a small­er area that can be heat­ed in the apart­ment so that I am not try­ing to heat the whole thing.  Between the Mr. Heater, a few blan­kets, and sleep­ing bags, and know­ing how to dress for the cold, I should be in good shape as long as the out­age does not last for more than a week (5 — 7 days).  I would also put plas­tic sheet­ing over the win­dows so that I can add anoth­er lay­er of pro­tec­tion from the ele­ments as to not lose heat out the win­dows as quick­ly.

Cook­ing.  Cook­ing, is anoth­er thought.  With MREs, and sev­er­al dehy­drat­ed meal solu­tions I have, cook­ing should not be a big deal, but what I did do to be safe is build in some redun­dan­cy so that I am cov­ered.  First, I went out and bought a case of ster­no and a small col­lapsi­ble hik­ing stove that will slide under a stor­age box I have in my apart­ment for safe keep­ing.  I think there are 15 or 20 cans of ster­no in the case and I picked it up at Par­ty City, a store that car­ries par­ty sup­plies in the buf­fet sup­ply sec­tion of the store.  In addi­tion to the Ster­no, I have about 10 box­es of tri­ox­aine fuel tablets for a hik­ing stove.  For fur­ther redun­dan­cy I have a propane burn­er that I can attach to one of my 16oz propane can­is­ters as well to cook with as well.

Human Waste.  Waste is anoth­er issue all togeth­er.  While I have 35 gal­lons of water stored, I am cer­tain­ly not going to use the toi­let in the apart­ment in the event the pow­er goes out.  First, I am not sure the water sys­tem push­ing water through the plumb­ing is on a dif­fer­ent elec­tri­cal sys­tem with any redun­dan­cy.  Sec­ond, in the event of a pow­er out­age and the sew­ers are not work­ing, well, any use of the toi­let may actu­al­ly cause sewage back­up.  This is dis­gust­ing, unsan­i­tary, and going to be an issue for every­one shel­ter­ing in, in the event of such a SHTF.  It is going to hap­pen any­way, because peo­ple will be using their toi­lets until they real­ize they can only get two flush­es out of it because it is not refill­ing… Now mul­ti­ply that by about 250,000 plus peo­ple over a cou­ple of days… Um, Yuk.  So, I have pur­chased a por­ta pot­ty so that I may dis­pose of any waste as prop­er­ly as I can here in the sub­urbs.  There will be a post on this in the future… I am sure you will be look­ing for­ward to that one.  LOL.

Food Preps.  This should­n’t real­ly be an issue, as I have a vari­ety of foods that are pre­pared or semi pre­pared.  I can make myself a hot meal due to my above cook­ing preps, which inci­den­tal­ly, will add addi­tion­al ambi­ent heat.

Light­ing.  Well, there is some redun­dan­cy here as well.  I have a pack­age of recharge­able lawn lights for some sim­ple light­ing, as well as mul­ti­ple flash­lights, mini lanterns, etc.  I did buy three hur­ri­cane lanterns last fall with enough light kerosene to last sev­er­al days.  I always buy an extra bot­tle of kerosene when­ev­er I can find it.  The room/windows should be vent­ed when using these, how­ev­er.  The hur­ri­cane lanterns put off quite a bit of heat when lit, as well, mak­ing them good to stay close to on a cool evening.

Enter­tain­ment.  I have a book­shelf full of books that I would look for­ward to tack­ling again. In fact, last evening I men­tioned to a friend on the phone, I need to re-read some of the books on my shelf.  What bet­ter time than if you are Bug­ging In.  More impor­tant­ly than the books is my eton emer­gency radio to help keep me con­nect­ed to the out­side world for more infor­ma­tion, and to keep me sane with some music every now and then, assum­ing the radio sta­tions are broad­cast­ing…

Cloth­ing.  Well, I will get into lay­ers in a lat­er post, as this can be a long expla­na­tion unto itself

Bug In addi­tions I want to add this fall:

  • Solar Bat­tery Charg­er and recharge­able bat­ter­ies,
  • Solar Pan­el with Deep Cycle Bat­tery (or two) and invert­er so I can run sev­er­al small appli­ances, low pow­ered light­ing, recharge my mobile phone, and the TV for news if required for short peri­ods of time. (This would have come in handy a week ago when the trans­former on the tele­phone pole blew up and I had no pow­er for sev­er­al hours),
  • Small Wood Stove, both for camp­ing and extreme emer­gency for bug­ging in and bug­ging out.  In an extreme bug in or bug out emer­gency, I am not afraid to use a wood stove here in my apart­ment.  It just has to be set up and vent­ed cor­rect­ly… The perks of being a kid from the sticks in the sub­urbs…
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