Beginning in about six days or so, things are going to get very dicey for millions of people in North America. In today’s podcast, I share some of the hard-earned lessons I learned in the Texas freeze of early 2021. Here are some of the highlights (but listen to the full podcast, below, for more detailed advice):
- Head to the stores in advance of the storm to stock up on food and supplies. Beat the rush. Understand that extreme weather will also likely cause disruptions in restock deliveries at retailers, so shelves may be partially empty for many days both during and after the freeze wave.
- Prepare for pipes to burst, and make a plan to shift away from PVC or copper pipes to PEX pipes, which are far easier to repair and can handle the expansion of water freezing without bursting. Stockpile some PEX pipe repair tools (couplers, rings, bands, crimpers, etc.) and you’ll beat the post-freeze rush which may wipe out plumbing supplies at local hardware stores.
- Have backup communications for when the power grid fails. Cell towers only have a few hours of power from local generators, and those generators run on gas. When the power grid fails, gas stations can’t pump gas, so no one can get gas to the generators to run the cell towers. This is why satellite phones and satellite messaging devices make so much sense – they work when the cell towers don’t. See SAT123.com for satellite phone and text messaging solutions from our sponsor.
- Own off-grid power systems or so-called solar generators (power stations) that have on board charge controllers and inverters. EcoFlow and Jackery are two brands recognized for their quality. Much larger scale units worth considering include Bluetti. These allow you to charge batteries, electronic devices, laptop computers and even, in some cases, run freezers during short blackouts. (Check your freezer power draw and understand the limitations of these units in terms of inverter capacity and total kWh of energy available. The EcoFlow devices and solar panels are also available at SAT123.com. (Shop there instead of at Amazon in order to support pro-liberty businesses.)
- Have a backup supply of cash, since ATMs won’t work and credit card processing won’t function when the grid is down. You might also consider “junk silver” coins or other means of barter or exchange. Remember, when the power goes out, retailers can’t process digital payments. Cash may be the only thing that works.
- For backup heat that requires no complex installation, remember that you can burn isopropyl alcohol (IPA or Ethanol) indoors using alcohol fireplaces or stoves, given that IPA burns cleanly and requires no stovepipe exhaust. Importantly, be extremely cautious about any open flames indoors, and beware of flammable materials, children and pets. Have a fire extinguisher available and don’t leave fires unattended. Practice all necessary safety precautions if you choose to invoke this emergency measure for off grid heat.