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How to prepare for a solar storm: The Top 10 prepping items for a grid-down event

By GZR News on May 10, 2024

Preparing for a solar storm is crucial, especially in an era where our dependence on technology is immense. A significant solar storm has the potential to disrupt our power grid, leading to a grid-down scenario that could last for days or even longer. Being prepared with the right items can make a substantial difference in how well you and your family manage during such an event. This article outlines the top 10 essential items to have on hand to ensure you’re ready for a solar storm and the subsequent power outages.

Key Takeaways

  • Rechargeable batteries are essential for powering devices when the grid is down.
  • Flashlights and alternative light sources like candles and crank-powered lights are crucial for visibility during power outages.
  • Keeping communication lines open with devices like NOAA weather radios is vital for receiving updates.
  • Fuel sources such as extra gasoline, propane, or wood are necessary for heating and cooking.
  • Adequate food and water storage is crucial for sustaining through an extended grid-down scenario.

1. Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are essential for maintaining power in your essential devices during a solar storm. Keep a variety of battery sizes to ensure all your devices can be powered. It’s advisable to have a solar battery charger on hand to recharge batteries using sunlight, making you less dependent on the grid.

Recommended Battery Types and Capacities

  • AA: Commonly used in small electronic devices.
  • AAA: Ideal for remote controls and small gadgets.
  • 18650: Used in high-power devices like flashlights and cameras.
  • LiFePO4: Known for long life and stability, suitable for critical applications.

Remember to regularly check and rotate your stock of rechargeable batteries to ensure they are always ready for use.

2. Flashlights

In preparation for a solar storm, having a reliable source of light is crucial. Flashlights are indispensable tools during power outages. We recommend getting a couple of Vizeri LED flashlights and/or GRDE LED Headlamps. These devices are not only portable but also provide a strong and steady source of light. Additionally, consider having a lantern that is bright enough to light an entire room, whether it’s battery, propane, or hand crank powered.

It’s essential to have a variety of lighting options available, as electrical lighting sources will be unavailable.

  • Keep backup batteries for your flashlights and lanterns.
  • Stockpile batteries, but be aware of their limitations in case of an EMP attack.
  • Include power banks, car chargers, and hand-crank chargers to keep rechargeable electronics alive.
  • Maintain an emergency box with matches and flashlights, but avoid using open flames inside the house.

3. Candles

Candles are a crucial item to have on hand during a solar storm or any grid-down scenario. They provide not only light but also a degree of warmth and can be used for cooking in some setups. It’s important to use candles safely by placing them in the proper holders, ensuring they are away from anything flammable, and never leaving them unattended, especially while sleeping.

Candles can significantly enhance your ability to manage during the initial hours of a grid-down event, especially if it occurs at night.

For optimal preparedness, consider stocking up on long-burning candles, such as beeswax emergency candles. These candles offer extended burn times, making them ideal for prolonged periods without power.

4. Crank Powered Lights

Crank powered lights are an essential item for any emergency kit, especially in the event of a solar storm when the power grid could be down for an extended period. These lights are powered by manual effort, which means they can provide illumination without the need for electricity or batteries. They are particularly useful when other power sources are not available.

  • Durability: Crank powered lights are typically rugged and designed to withstand harsh conditions.
  • Ease of Use: Simply crank the handle to generate power and light.
  • No Dependency on External Power Sources: These lights do not require batteries or electricity, making them perfect for long-term emergencies where power is scarce.

Crank powered lights ensure that you have a reliable source of light regardless of external power conditions.

5. NOAA Weather Radios

NOAA Weather Radios are essential for staying informed during severe space weather events like solar storms. These radios provide real-time alerts and updates directly from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors atmospheric conditions. Owning a NOAA Weather Radio ensures that you receive the latest weather updates and emergency information, even when other communication channels fail.

Key Features of NOAA Weather Radios

  • Access to all 7 NOAA weather bands
  • Multiple power options including solar and hand crank
  • Additional functionalities like flashlights and USB charging ports

NOAA Weather Radios are not just for weather updates; they can also be crucial in emergency situations where traditional communication networks are down.

6. Solar Yard Lights

Solar yard lights are an essential item for maintaining visibility and safety during a grid-down event caused by a solar storm. These lights are independent of the power grid, harnessing sunlight during the day to provide illumination at night. They are particularly useful for lighting pathways, entrances, and common areas without the need for electrical wiring.

Benefits of Solar Yard Lights

  • Eco-friendly: Utilizes renewable solar energy.
  • Cost-effective: Eliminates the need for electrical power.
  • Easy to install: No complex wiring or trenching required.

Solar yard lights can be strategically placed to maximize light coverage, ensuring that all key areas are well-lit during the night.

7. Oil Lamps

Oil lamps are an essential item for any grid-down scenario. They provide a reliable source of light that doesn’t rely on electricity and can be a safer alternative to candles if used properly. Ensure you have a good supply of lamp oil and wicks. Oil lamps can also add warmth to a room, which can be beneficial in colder climates.

  • Type of Oil: It’s important to use the right type of oil for your lamps to ensure they burn cleanly and efficiently. Common options include kerosene, paraffin, or clear lamp oil.
  • Safety Precautions: Always place oil lamps on a stable surface away from flammable materials. Never leave an oil lamp unattended while lit.
  • Maintenance: Regularly trim the wick to about 1/4 inch to ensure a cleaner burn and minimize soot.

In the event of a power outage, having multiple oil lamps strategically placed throughout your home can provide not only light but also a degree of warmth and comfort.

8. Extra Gasoline and/or Propane

In preparation for a solar storm, storing extra gasoline and/or propane is crucial. These fuels are essential for running generators, vehicles, and heating systems during extended power outages. Ensure your vehicle’s fuel tank is at least half full at all times, as gas stations rely on electricity to operate their pumps. Additionally, consider safely storing additional fuel in appropriate containers to avoid being caught unprepared.

  • Gasoline: Ideal for vehicles and generators.
  • Propane: Suitable for heating and cooking.

Remember, in a prolonged power outage, fuel becomes a scarce and valuable resource. Plan your storage accordingly to ensure you have enough to last through the outage.

9. Extra Wood for Fireplace

Having a sufficient supply of wood for your fireplace is crucial in the event of a solar storm that could lead to a grid-down scenario. A fireplace or wood stove can serve as an excellent alternative source for heating, ensuring you and your family stay warm. It’s important to have a variety of wood types and sizes, ranging from larger logs to smaller kindling, to accommodate different burning needs.

Tips for Managing Your Wood Supply

  • Store your wood in a dry, secure place such as a garage or covered woodshed to protect it from the elements.
  • Consider using fatwood or cedar heartwood kindling for easy fire starting. These materials catch fire quickly and burn intensely, making them ideal for getting a fire going.
  • Learn and practice building an upside-down fire for a long burning, self-feeding fire that requires less maintenance.

Remember, having a well-maintained wood supply not only ensures warmth but also provides a sense of security and self-sufficiency during uncertain times.

10. Food and Water Storage

Ensuring you have adequate food and water storage is crucial for surviving a grid-down event caused by a solar storm. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Water: Aim to store at least 15 gallons of potable water per person, which is roughly 1 gallon per day. Additionally, have methods to treat dirty water, such as portable or countertop water filters.
  • Food: Stockpile at least 23,000 calories per person, which equates to about 1,500 calories per day. This should be in the form of shelf-stable food that’s ready to eat or requires minimal preparation, like boiling water.

Preparation Tip: Create a storage space that can be easily accessed in the dark and ensure it’s stocked with at least two weeks’ worth of supplies.

Remember, food isn’t as critical as water since most people can survive weeks without it. However, having a supply of nonperishable items that don’t require refrigeration is essential to maintain safety and freshness.

Conclusion

In conclusion, preparing for a solar storm and potential grid-down scenario is not just prudent, it’s essential. The top 10 items listed in this article provide a solid foundation for ensuring your safety and maintaining a semblance of normalcy in the face of such events. From securing a reliable power source to ensuring communication and basic needs are met, each item plays a crucial role. Remember, the key to effective preparedness is not just in acquiring these items, but also in regularly updating your knowledge and skills to use them effectively. Stay prepared, stay safe, and ensure that you can weather any storm with confidence and calm.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top items to have in case of a solar storm-induced grid-down event?

The top items include rechargeable batteries, flashlights, candles, crank powered lights, NOAA weather radios, solar yard lights, oil lamps, extra gasoline or propane, extra wood for a fireplace, and sufficient food and water storage.

How can I maintain communication during a grid-down event?

Maintain communication by having a NOAA weather radio and other battery or crank-powered radios. Consider alternative communication methods such as satellite phones if traditional networks are down.

What are the primary risks associated with a solar storm?

The primary risks include disruption of electrical grids, satellite communications, and potentially causing long-term power outages.

How long can a solar storm impact the power grid?

The duration of impact can vary from a few days to potentially a month or more, depending on the severity of the storm and the resilience of the local infrastructure.

What should I do to prepare my home for a grid-down scenario?

Prepare by stocking up on essential supplies like water, food, and medications. Ensure you have multiple lighting options and a way to heat your home without electricity. Secure and insulate your home to maintain warmth.

Is there a way to predict when a solar storm might occur?

Solar storms can be predicted to some extent by monitoring solar activity and space weather forecasts. However, the exact timing and impact level can be difficult to determine precisely.

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