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By Kellene Bishop

Gasonline Generator photo c/o germes-online.com

Gasonline Generator photo c/o germes-online.com

Obviously, given my line of work, I’m frequently told by people that they are prepared because they have a generator.  Well, I see a whole lot of downsides of owning and relying on one, so I thought I’d share my two cents as to why I don’t plan on ever owning a generator.

  1. Generators are relatively expensive.  If I had to opt between a generator and a firearm, I would definitely select the firearm.  There’s a whole heck of a lot of wheat or water or other emergency preparedness supplies that I can buy in lieu of a generator.  I’d much rather have items that run off of solar power rather than being reliant on a generator.
  2. In many instances, many generators will be destroyed in the event of an EMP strike.  Some older generators may have points and condensers but most of them today are electronic fuel injected, making them useless in the event of an electro-magnetic pulse hit.  So there goes all of the other necessary supplies you could have obtained instead of the generator.
  3. A generator usually takes gasoline to operate.  Gasoline is combustible/flammable.  It’s frankly hard to store it safely.  It also gets old easily.  Generators are temperamental.  The gasoline needs to be clean in order to be effective.  Yes, you can buy a gasoline additive to keep it clean, but that’s that much more money you need to spend on the generator and the gasoline.  Also, the gasoline will not be available to buy once the electricity goes out.  Most pumps are electric.  So you will have to rely solely on the gasoline you have on hand.  And I can think of a whole lot of more important uses for gasoline other than a generator.
  4. Except in the case of emergency medical assistance, I feel like a generator is a temporary luxury that most homes simply can’t afford to have.  If you don’t have a year’s supply of food, fuel, water, ammo, clothing, shelter, financial reserves, medical supplies, and entertainment, then you can’t afford a generator.  It’s not like you’re going to use a generator to keep your refrigerator going or to watch movies on you computer.  Generators should be used for emergency purposes only, not to live off of otherwise.  In my opinion, if I come across the need for a generator, it will be very temporary and for that I can work in trade to obtain the use of or trade with some of my supplies.  Bottom line, if you ever saw me with a generator, it’s because I got it for free along with the fuel I needed for it, or I had so much money to burn and everything else I wanted, I just couldn’t resist.
  5. Solar Oven photo by Preparedness Pro

    Solar Oven photo by Preparedness Pro

    A generator is simply not as necessary as many folks believe.  As I said previously, other than keeping life-saving equipment on, I can’t think of another reason to have one. Yet most folks think they will need one in order to eat, cook, light, cool, and heat with.  They are incorrect.  You’ll have to let Mother Nature do the cooling for you.  You can cook with more stable fuels such as wood, propane, butane, kerosene, isopropyl alcohol, rolled newspapers, charcoal, and solar.  You can live off eating plenty of items that don’t need to be cooked or refrigerated.  You can have light via a candle and several other fuels I’ve mentioned previously.  And the same fuels, as well as quality cold-weather clothing, blankets, and sleeping tents and bags, will provide you and your family with the heat you need.  Sure, when the power goes out you’re going to have some spoilage with the meat.  But you don’t need electricity to recover from that.  You need Mason jars, and a canner, and voila—you don’t need that freezer anymore.  Sure there will be a few things you can live without, but considering all of the non-electrical technology that you can rely on today, losing electricity isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.  

targetIf you rely on electricity for physical life sustainment, then I recommend that you diligently research the best kind of generator to obtain that will not be affected by an EMP hit, and a way to store fuel for it around your home so that it’s safe.  Also be mindful of the fact that if you have a generator running in hard times, you will be the target of crime and looting.  Be sure that you have a way to secure it so that you can have the use of it when the fit hits the shan.  Don’t plan on using a generator if you’re the lone dweller of a suburb home.  You’ll need some help keeping it running and defending it.

Ultimately, before you rush out to the store thinking you need a generator, think about all of the other priorities that should come first on your preparedness list.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Fuel photo c/o pgdb.co.nz

Fuel photo c/o pgdb.co.nz

One of the ten areas of emergency preparedness is fuel.  Fuel brings us the much needed light that we will require not only to see, but also to feel good.  It includes any fuel we’ll need for cooking, and the fuel we’ll need for keeping warm.

Before you elect to get a years supply of fuel for these purposes, consider the most basic rules of thumb.

1)     Think safety first

2)     Conserve energy—including yours

3)     Conserve body heat

4)     Confine the heat appropriately

Alcohol photo c/o chemistryland.com

Isopropyl Alcohol photo c/o chemistryland.com

When considering what fuel to store, the safety of it should be your primary concern.  Why store gasoline when you can safely store isopropyl alcohol outside in 55 gallon drums for a lot less money and little risk of combustibility?  (You can usually get free delivery of this alcohol too.)  A few cans of propane is much safer than gasoline, and so is kerosene if stored in a cool, dry place.  Check with your local fire department for maximum storage abilities of these fuels.

Keep in mind that if you store kerosene, Home Depot has a program in which they will buy back your old kerosene after you’ve stored it several years.  They turn around and sell it to the farmers whose diesel engines will still run on it.  To dramatically extend the life of the fuel can, be sure to add a fuel preservative to your gasoline and your kerosene.

If you’re planning on surviving off of firewood, be sure that it’s already cut up—for two reasons.  One reason is to conserve your physical energy.  The last thing you need is to be expending your own energy in the midst of an emergency.  Two, be sure that you don’t have to needlessly use dangerous tools when you’re not fully functional, especially those who may not be familiar with the use of such a tool.  That’s how tragic accidents occur.  What if you are the only one who can chop the wood and you get sick?  What will your family do for fuel?  Try a task that they aren’t as experienced at as you when they’ve had just as much stress and as little nutrition as you?  Definitely not a good idea.

Whatever alternatives of fuel you elect to use, be sure you share the wealth of knowledge on how to use those tools.  One of the most foolish things I see households do is place the majority of the lifesaving information in the hands of one individual.  This is a dangerous supposition that that person will always be around.  Every responsible person in the family should know how to use the propane heater, the pressure cooker, and the alcohol lights, etc.  

Volcano Stove photo c/o barbequelovers.com

Volcano Stove photo c/o barbequelovers.com

When you are considering what tools you’ll use to cook, light, and heat with, consider the cost and accessibility of the fuel the tools will use.  Recently my husband and I purchased a small, collapsible Volcano Stove.  We have lots of means to cook with if necessary, but the price was only $99 and it was a multi-fueled tool.  It will cook off of charcoal, wood, and propane (which also means tightly rolled newspapers, too).  That made it very attractive so that we don’t have to rely on just one fuel for our cooking.  Another cooking tool we have is a kerosene heater that has a grid on the top so while we’re heating our surroundings (with ventilation, of course), we can also be boiling water, or cooking on the same component.  We also have some Joy Cook stoves that are commonly used in Korea.  With only one can of butane and my pressure cooker, I have been able to cook three meals a day on my Joy Cook stove for an entire three weeks.  

Also, consider conserving your fuel as much as possible, especially when you’re cooking.  Once you bring a pressure cooker up to high, you can remove it from the heat, turn off your heat source, and wrap the pressure cooker in towels—it will continue to cook for up to an hour.  That’s a whole lot of fuel-free cooking.  The solar oven is even more fuel-friendly in that regard.  If you have sunshine, you have an oven that will cook anything that you can cook in your regular oven, with the exception of frying.  Better yet, nothing will scorch or burn in your solar oven and the clean up is also a breeze, thus conserving your own physical energy.  This way I’m conserving the majority of my fuel for light and heat instead of just cooking.  I use my pressure cooker and my solar oven on a very regular basis so that I’m familiar with it even in the midst of a crisis, and so that it brings comfort to my family and friends. 

Dutch Oven photo c/o cityweekly.net

Dutch Oven photo c/o cityweekly.net

This leads me to my final reminder in this area of preparedness.  USE that which you are planning on using to survive a crisis.  Use it now when it’s convenient.  Don’t buy it and then stash it away until a crisis hits.  What if it’s not in working order?  What if it’s missing a part?  Also, waiting to use something until the crisis hits will only use up more of your vital physical fuel as you expend a lot of it through stress.  Remember, prepare in comfort of panic in chaos.  For example, if you have a Dutch oven that you’re planning on using in a crisis, great.  But be sure you’ve used it enough before a crisis so that you’re comfortable with it.  Besides, Dutch oven cooking is yummy.  So if you enjoy it now, when it comes time to having to use it, it will feel more like a comfort to your family rather than a science-fiction survival mode.  The more you use these items, the more you can truly be prepared because you will notice parts and components that will make your job easier that you may not have thought of previously.  For example, I use my pressure cooker all the time.  As such, I notice that the rubber seal that goes in the lid of the pan eventually gets old and thus doesn’t seal as well.  So, in the interest of truly being prepared, I’ve stocked up on a surplus of those rubber seals so that when my life is reliant on the proper function of my pressure cookers, I’m not left starving.  

Fuel doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  Ways to keep your family warm and cook for them are usually one-time purchases that will ensure you’ve got a full life beyond, even in the midst of an emergency.  

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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