How do you prep for power cuts?

(32 Posts)
EveLevine Thu 04-Jun-20 18:43:39

When I first started prepping I figured I didn’t need to worry about power. We had a gas hob with electric oven for cooking, gas heating with electric fan heaters for back up. I thought it unlikely gas and electric would be off at same time so I thought we were ok.

Since then, boiler has been condemned and the replacement needs to be plugged into electric to work, and we’ve had to remove the gas hob as SN DC is fascinated with switches and knobs and kept accidentally turning on the gas. Which means we are now totally reliant on electricity.

Last week our electric went off for a couple of hours - we coped fine but I suddenly realised how vulnerable we’d have been if it was winter.

So I’m looking to prep for power cuts, but there’s so much choice! I’ve been looking at camping stoves, ghillie kettles, or solid full burners. But there’s so many options I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Just wondering what others use? And what’s easiest/simplest to use?

OP’s posts: |
BiddyPop Fri 05-Jun-20 15:33:16

There was a recent thread here on the preppers board that may have a few good pointers for you: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/preppers/3866961-How-to-prepare-for-blackouts-at-home-What-do-I-need

In our case, while we still have a gas hob, it needs the electric part of the cooker to work (a safety sensor) so both gas hob and electric oven are off if electric goes out.

I have a gas BBQ in the garden, which we prefer to be able to easily cook after work on nice summer evenings. And we can do a lot with that if the electric is off - our neighbourhood is renowned for the "snowed in BBQs" we have on the green using 3 gas BBQs from various households on the street. And using tin foil pouches on a BBQ can greatly expand your cooking capacity, not just pieces of meat or skewers of meat/veg straight on the grill. We have actually cooked whole chicken and ducks on ours in the past also. Charcoal bbqs also work ok but are slower to get started and less easy to control the heat. (But I still have a baby charcoal one for camping trips grin ).

I also have a 1 ring gas camping stove which I don't keep with the rest of my camping gear in storage but in the shed, as it can be useful even in the depths of winter, to be able to boil some water or cook something if necessary. I have a few spare cans of gas so that it is my emergency backup.

And then, as much because I am a Scout Leader so love playing with fire, I have a Kelly Kettle to boil water (and cook on as I have the full kit) using just a few sticks, and a log burner for sitting around in the garden but I have cooked a tea on that a couple of times.

bellinisurge Sat 06-Jun-20 08:03:33

I've had a think about what I need electricity for and the relevant time of year. I've focused on what is comfortable and not scary or risky.
Thinking of it as camping indoors is a great start. But my big tip is : fill an empty four pint plastic bottle of milk with water. Wrap a head torch around it but with the beam shining inwards. It diffuses the light and makes a lantern. Less Blair Witch Project.

BiddyPop Sat 06-Jun-20 08:15:07

I just realised I forgot a very important safety message in my cooking options response - all those options require you to cook in the garden (or balcony) and not indoors. To avoid buildup of carbon monoxide.

ErrolTheDragon Sat 06-Jun-20 08:23:07

Food which doesn't need cooking and a spare tin opener grin

And a UPS sufficient to power the router for at least a while , and a few power packs for recharging phones.

PhoneLock Sat 06-Jun-20 08:24:39

Start the generator and carry on.

bluefoxmug Sat 06-Jun-20 08:31:48

power banks
one per phone/tablet.
and a solar charger

cooking wise a one ring camping stove on the balcony. enough to heat up water for hot water bottles and to fill flasks with hot water for washing and for tea/coffee. milk can be heated up by adding a little hot water as well.

LuluJakey1 Sat 06-Jun-20 08:35:20

I would live on cheese and tomato sandwiches.

Pelleas Sat 06-Jun-20 09:08:38

If you have a landline, buy a cheap non-powered handset and keep it near your phone socket to plug in if needed - that way you will have a means of making and receiving calls if your mobile runs out of battery.

bellinisurge Sat 06-Jun-20 09:39:38

Absolutely. I bought a cheap dial phone for me and in-laws. Obviously power cut might affect the phone network infrastructure but it would definitely affect a landline phone that ran on electricity.

BlackeyedSusan Sat 06-Jun-20 09:44:54

Wind up solar powered radio.
Wind up lantern.

EveLevine Sat 06-Jun-20 19:59:19

Thanks everyone, lots of helpful replies and good ideas smile

Thanks @BiddyPop, I'll have a read. I've been thinking of a camping stove, but I'm worried about how to safely store gas. Was considering a ghillie or kelly kettle, but wasn't sure how to store sticks without them getting damp, which I why I started looking at the solid alcohol burners.

@bellinisurge I've seen you suggest the lamp thing before, but have never tried it. I will try with my next empty bottle - I think DC would love it. I have a head torch for using up the attic so just need an empty bottle. Probably best to try it now, so I know what I'm doing in case I ever actually need it.

We have several power banks, I just need to get into the habit of charging them after each use, instead of waiting until they are dead. DC13 has a habit of borrowing them to use devices in bed and doesn't tend to return them until they are out of power!

I hadn't even considered a landline - we have an answerphone so that definitely wouldn't work without electricity. I will add a phone to my prepping list.

@BlackeyedSusan I've been looking at these today, but not sure whether I'd ever actually use it

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002XNGTOI/?psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it&coliid=I2UEDUA4YOALXA&tag=mumsnetforu03-21&colid=22S3C9QH3W20Z

Foodwise, I have food that could be eaten cold, but was thinking I could get things like cup a soups that just need hot water - I think in winter we'd be glad to have something hot. I used to buy the heinz cup of soups that were like a paste for work, I might try DC with those as I don't think he'd like the normal cup of soups due to the powder.

Does anyone know if there are any noodle type snacks that just need hot water (DC won't eat pot noodle as they are too "bitty")

OP’s posts: |
bluefoxmug Sat 06-Jun-20 20:25:15

super noodles?
they are just noodles with a little stock powder and oil/animal fat.
cup-a-soup type things

ErrolTheDragon Sat 06-Jun-20 20:42:34

You can make couscous, including some of the flavoured ones, just with boiling water.

Snugglepumpkin Sun 07-Jun-20 01:10:39

My son really likes the Mug Shot Roast Chicken Pasta.

It's Fusilli but you make it up like a pot noodle or a cup a soup (they sell it as packets you put in your own mug or as pots like a pot noodle but it is the exact same product inside each so I just get whichever is on offer) so you just add boiling water.
We always leave them twice as long as the pack suggests though or find some of the bits haven't rehydrated properly.

They do other flavours & some are noodles rather than pasta.

gamerchick Sun 07-Jun-20 01:14:55

We have inverters and car batteries for power cuts. A gas cooker with safety knobs but still have camping stoves. Always handy to have an inverter or 2 to run the freezer etc.

3cats Sun 07-Jun-20 01:19:27

We’re campers so we have a few led lanterns and torches. I also have a portable kerosene heater. We have the gas camping stove. I also bulk cook, so we can just defrost things like stew or curry or soup and just eat with bread or rice.

3cats Sun 07-Jun-20 01:20:26

Also, I have a battery charger for my phone. I never use it usually, but it’s there for in case of emergencies.

HuggedTheRedwoods Sun 07-Jun-20 12:54:13

Pelleas

If you have a landline, buy a cheap non-powered handset and keep it near your phone socket to plug in if needed - that way you will have a means of making and receiving calls if your mobile runs out of battery.

dont forget to have your key phone numbers also written down!

Pelleas Sun 07-Jun-20 14:21:41

Yes, good point Hugged. They normally have a piece of card in the receiver rest where you can write down key numbers - the number for checking your power supply (not the same as the number for your energy supplier) is an obvious one to include.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 08-Jun-20 12:22:48

If you are disabled you can register as vulnerable with power supply companies. I have a fluorescent fridge magnet with the emergency number on, provided by the power company?

I use my wind up radio in the kitchen. Lives on the window sill to get charged. LW function does not play TMS though, in case that is important to you.

Ex has got a snazzier wind up radio from years back.

I have just bought some cheap little torches at Asda for the kids. A torch and battery in every bag/ room for emergencies is my aim.

I would like an inverter... Small flat etc may make that impossible.

womaninatightspot Mon 08-Jun-20 12:29:47

Woodstove and appropriate pans etc to go on top. Use an old aga kettle to boil water on stove. Torches somewhere sensible that you can find them. Spare batteries too.

I live rurally and there's always an annual power cut at some point. It's fine and we manage but all your time is taken up hauling wood to keep the house warm enough for the kids.

Hiddenmnetter Mon 08-Jun-20 12:33:26

Get 2 of these

www.energygeneratorsales.co.uk/stephill-generator-sales/product-detail/stephill-2600lmex-26kva-21kw-lombardini-15ld-225s-export

They will provide enough power to keep your fridges/freezers going while you have enough diesel to keep them supplied. One of those is roughly 10 amps, so you could use one to provide all your refridgeration/freezing needs, the other to provide cooking/power for charging phones etc. As required.

This would is course require you to have ovens that aren't hard wired in etc, but yes everything we do depends on a constant, even flow of electricity, and when that fails we're up shit creek without a paddle. I've always wanted a property with a stream in it for the express purpose of usually my own hydroelectric generator... Don't need loads, just enough to keep the fridges and freezers going. Otherwise all that prepped food is pointless...

FruChoc Tue 09-Jun-20 07:52:55

We largely prep for blackouts due to bushfire risk and or winter storms.
Bushfire blackouts can last days even if we are not directly impacted by fire but our area or grid can be switched off or on/off intermittently

Battery packs for phones and devices
Battery operated radio (for emergency broadcasts)
Batteries
Candles/matches
Camp stove and spare gas canisters
Torches & lanterns (wind up and battery)
Headlamps and reading lights.
Garden Solar lights - I keep 4/6 outside in a pot outside back door and put in vases in hallways instead of running batteries flat/having candles going. Theses are such a simple solution but very effective.
Generator - to boil kettle if desperate, keep freezers going over extended blackouts & run fire/water pump if needed.
Thermos to keep water warm so can have a cup of coffee/tea ( boil once use twice)

Always have 2 min noodle pack/soup packs/ mac and cheese/pasta packs in cupboard for easy meals that only require hot water. Also keep long life juice and milk so don't need to open fridge unless necessary.
Emergency biscuits and chocolate too...

EmperorCovidula Tue 09-Jun-20 07:59:12

I grew up in a country where power cuts were a regular occurrence, particularly in summer. We just kept a torch in the kitchen draw and made sure we had some food that we could eat without cooking in the house (pretty easy really as most people have enough for a sandwich at least all the time). They normally try to restore power ASAP and it’s fine. The one time I experienced a power cut in Britain it lasted for less than a minute. I really wouldn’t go overboard with prepping but it may be worth considering a wood burner if you own the property/your land lord is amenable as it’s quite expensive heating a house using just electricity.

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