No matter what crisis happens, one thing is for certain. When the grid goes down, the power shuts off. Now for most people, that's a temporary hassle, living without power for a couple of hours isn't really a cause for concern.
But with time, it all starts to snowball. Without power, after a couple of days most people are going to start going hungry, as their fridge and freezer is no longer cold, and the meat and produce inside starts to spoil. Stretch this out to weeks, or even months, and you can only imagine how bad things are going to get.
We are so reliant on power, without it, things are going to get real bad, real fast.
Here's where it'll all go wrong first, and my advice for overcoming each challenge.
The lights will slowly switch off
It's only a matter of time until all of the batteries run out and the generators run dry. That means no indoor lighting, no heat during winter, and no ability to rely on anything that plugs into a socket. Yes, like your "smart" toaster, kettle, fridge. All of these are useless without electricity, and life will become a big struggle, very quickly.
Solution: In addition to building an off-the-grid power source, you need to incorporate products and practices into your lifestyle that don't require electricity. Like a furnace for heating, gas or even a wood stove, and manual appliances that don't need to be plugged in.
Phone service and the internet goes down
Without power, it's only a matter of time until the charge you have in your laptop or phone finally dies. That means a loss of connection, updates, and the knowledge we have come to rely on online. Of course, even if you’ve got a solution for your home, like solar cells or perhaps a generator, there's no guarantees that the phone and internet companies can get their services up while the power is down for months and months.
Solution: Incorporate alternative communication channels into your survival plans, and ensure you've got ready access to the information you need, offline, just in case.
Water doesn't come out of the tap
Without power the water company isn't going to be able to keep the pipes pressurized, and this means you'll not have any water when you turn the taps. No water for showers or cleaning. No water for cooking, and if you're anywhere urban, this is going to perhaps be your biggest and most serious problem.
Solution: Start stocking up on water now, and consider installing a rain catchment system, tapping a well on your property, or whatever it is you can do to replenish your water supply.
Stores are stripped bare
Walking the aisles of a supermarket now it seems ridiculous they could run out of food, but they will. Often these are the first to go during a crisis, and without power to keep the refrigeration running, anything that's not canned or on the shelf will perish quickly. Plus, no power means no lights, and you can bet looters will hit these stores as soon as night falls.
Solution: Start stockpiling your own supply of food, so you're not reliant on a supermarket, the government, or anyone else for your next meal. In a crisis, you don't want to go hungry.
Gas stations cannot pump their fuel
Probably the biggest spanner-in-the-works will be the supply of gas. People will start to stockpile and hoard it for their generators at the first sign of trouble, and with the power down the pumps will fail, if they've not been emptied already. Without gas, you won't be able to travel any great distance, or keep your own lights on.
Solution: Start stockpiling gas to keep your generator and vehicles running, but also consider alternatives like bicycles, and electric vehicles you can recharge with your solar set up.
The military will steal your guns
Of course, this will be done as a "means to protect the people" as armed civilians is one of the biggest threats to those in power. And in a crisis, if you can fight back, you're a threat. Once martial law is declared the military can do what they like, and that includes breaking into your home and stealing weapons intended as your last line of defense.
Solution: Create multiple caches of guns on your property so you've always got a means to arm yourself (and carry concealed all the time), and get comfortable with alternative weapons, like a crossbow.
Cash quickly becomes worthless
Well, perhaps not quickly, especially if it's an isolated location that's affected. But all that money in your bank account is useless when the power is out, because you won't be able to withdraw it, even if you go directly to the bank. That's right, in a severe blackout you won't even be able to take out the money from your account that's actually yours.
Solution: Get a safe and have an emergency stash of cash just in case, and it doesn't hurt to stock up on good barter items, like heavy spirits, cigarettes, and ammunition.
Things will get nasty fast
Without power, the utilities we've all come to rely on will grind to a halt, and it'll only take a few weeks for things to get particularly nasty. Sewage lines will back up, trash will fester on the streets with no one to collect it. And that becomes a breeding ground for rats and other pests, as well as nasty bacteria that will make you incredibly sick.
Solution: Create a plan with your neighbors for the sanitary disposal of waste, remembering that it's disposed at least 250 feet from any homes, or any source of water.
Ultimately, when the power is out for a few days, weeks, or even months, you're going to find yourself in a particularly nasty situation. The challenges above are some of the primary difficulties you will face, and the best way to overcome these is to get started now. Plan ahead, and have contingencies in place to ensure you're not going to suffer, when you're living in a world without power.