Can You Do Five Days Without Power?

Bob Mayer
4 min readAug 9, 2023


Power Outage

We recently had a tornado touch down here in Knoxville. We were not in the path and only had a tree broken, but were without power for half a day. Not a big deal and I spent most of that time chainsawing the tree. A neighbor came by with his chainsaw and offered to help and we chatted for a while. Then he left. I talked with another neighbor across the street and mentioned I’d moved my Yeti 400 battery inside to handle some things and if the power was still out in the morning, I’d be laying out the solar panels. He laughed.

But then I got to thinking. How would we deal with things if we went five days or a week without power? People who have experienced extended power outages have learned some hard lessons. The smart thing is to consider these lessons and prepare BEFORE it happens to you.

This is particularly important for those in certain areas and at certain times. One example I keep going back to is the city of Phoenix, in the summer, with temperatures over 100 consistently, and not even getting cool at night. I believe if there was an extended power outage there in those circumstances, tens of thousands would die. What about where you live? This is why doing an AREA STUDY is so critical. I have a presentation on how to deal with a power outage but here are lessons learned:

1. **Emergency Preparedness:** Power outages underscore the importance of being prepared for emergencies. People learn to have essential supplies on hand, including non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, and other necessities. For planning purposes, use one gallon a day per person. For five days, five gallons. A case of water equals three days worth per person. So two cases of water would last six days. Here is a presentation on water for emergencies. But consider other things that will add to consumption, like pets. When I boondock with Scout she usually drinks from streams, unless we’re in the desert. Then I have to factor her into my water supply.

2. **Communication:** Without power, traditional communication methods like phones and internet may be unavailable. People learn the value of having alternative means of communication, such as battery-powered radios or hand-crank emergency radios. Water and a radio are two of the four key survival things I tell people to have. I also have a SpotX Satellite Messenger.

3. **Backup Power Solutions:** Individuals and businesses realize the need for backup power solutions, such as generators or solar panels, to maintain basic functions during power disruptions. I have an entire presentation on this. My Yeti 400 could power a cpap machine all night. I have enough solar panels (6 100 watt) to recharge it (if it’s sunny!). When we finally buy a house, I plan on putting in a solar battery pack. At the very least you should have several small power banks so you can charge your phone.

4. **Community Cooperation:** Power outages often lead to neighbors helping each other. People learn the importance of community cooperation and mutual support during times of crisis. Up to a point. I’ll be posting later this week about when this breaks down!

5. **Health and Safety:** Individuals recognize the significance of maintaining personal health and safety during power outages. They learn how to handle food safety, keep warm in cold weather, and manage medical needs. A first aid kit is the third of the four key elements to have. But consider special things like medication.

6. **Vulnerable Populations:** Power outages highlight the vulnerabilities of certain populations, such as the elderly, individuals with medical needs, and those with limited resources. This leads to a focus on ensuring these groups are adequately supported during emergencies.

7. **Information Accessibility:** People realize the importance of having access to accurate and timely information during power outages. This highlights the need for community notification systems and emergency communication strategies.

8. **Long-Term Preparedness:** Extended power outages can serve as a reminder that the impacts of certain disasters can last longer than expected. This encourages individuals and communities to consider long-term preparedness measures. There is a point where a wide spread disaster can make you realize the power is NOT coming on any time soon. Do you have plan? One thing I cover in The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide is how to make that key decision whether to stay or leave.

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Bob Mayer

West Point grad; Special Ops Vet; NY Times bestseller of over 80 books; for free books and over 200 free downloadable slideshows go to