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What to do when the grid goes down

We have all had the experience when we are in the middle of something important and the power goes out. Most of the time, we take for granted that we have continual access to electricity. Power failures can be caused by:

  • Grid overload

  • Natural disasters

  • Cyber-attacks

  • EMP (electromagnetic pulses)

  • Solar flares

  • Nuclear strikes or bombings

  • Accidents

Electricity consumption in the United States is almost 17% of the world’s energy and accounts for 15% of world GDP. Steam turbines generate the majority of the world’s electricity and accounted for 48% of U.S. electricity in 2019.


When the power goes out, you are inconvenienced and often left in the dark. It is in your best interest to have a backup plan when the grid goes down. Fortunately, there are several different ways to generate electricity on your own.


What are forms of alternative energy?

Solar power - harnessing the power of the sun

Wind turbines - capturing the power of wind

Hydroelectricity - using the natural flow of water

Geothermal - extracting heat from the earth

Hand cranking - utilizing manpower

Bike Generator - human power


When you think about producing your own electricity while off the grid, take into consideration the following:

  • Affordability - Is it cost effective

  • Doable - Do you have the required items?

  • Available - Do you have enough wind, water, or manpower?

Many remote locations do not have a lot of options when the grid goes down. Many locations within each country can be costly to tie to the grid. Some people just like the idea of being self-reliant. Yet others find a sense of satisfaction getting energy from the sun, wind, and water. You have better control of your power when you generate your own electricity when there is a power outage.


What is the best off-grid power source?


This is a debatable topic, but solar power is the one that usually comes to mind.


Since it is not feasible to include electronic devices in a survival kit, options for self-contained off-grid power sources make sense. Two of these include hand-cranked chargers and solar chargers. The winner usually goes to the crank chargers. But are they better than solar? A hand-crank charger has advantages over solar chargers, but then solar chargers have a few advantages. The most apparent advantage of a hand-cranked charger is that it does not depend upon clear access to the sun for it to work.


The truth is that both solar and hand-cranked chargers are viable and potentially deserve a place in your survival gear.


Hand-cranked chargers:

  • Require only elbow grease

  • Take minimal time to work

  • Not fast, but efficient

  • Not dependent on the weather, location, or time of day.

  • Some can store power internally in the form of a battery bank.

The biggest drawback to hand-cranked chargers is that they require you or someone else to be continually invested in operating them. That means you cannot be doing something else at the same time. If you aren’t cranking, you run out of juice! You can move about while cranking, but anything that requires more attention is most likely out of the question


Also, how much time can you spare to turn the crank to fill up your batteries? Is that the best use of your time, or can you spend your time on something more substantial? Hand crank chargers are an excellent choice for the time and manpower required to operate them.


Solar chargers:

  • Can continually work if it is positioned correctly.

  • More portable and less expensive the more you use them.

  • You can make use of the largest source of light, namely the