A snowstorm hit Northern Michigan with fury Friday night. 30,000 of us were out of power for over 48 hours.
That is a picture of a road. The snow is so heavy that those strong maple branches that are usually above my head are now touching the ground. It was a cold day, and us Firefighters/EMT's were going non-stop. Police declared a state of emergency on the roads and we were out of power until Sunday evening. This is why it is important to have basic knowledge of sustaining yourself. Even if you aren't living off the grid, or providing all of your food and electricity, you should be able to go a few days without relying on others. A foot snow can knock out a whole county and many are unprepared to face such an issue! Every grocery store and restaurant closed down, so it is important to have your food preserved, and an alternative energy source!
Preserving your own food through canning, dehydrating, pickling, etc. is a good way to ensure that even if you aren't able to use your stove or run to the store you won't find yourself going hungry. It is a simple way to store the produce from your garden so that it lasts for a substantial amount of time. There are plenty of resources for learning how to preserve your own food and it will be a useful skill when it comes time to save your goods and they will be available when you need them.
Here is a link to some of our favorite books that include information about preserving your own food: http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/author/?fa=ShowAuthor&Person_ID=3
Another important thing to have when emergency strikes is an alternative source of heat and energy. Some alternative energy sources can be as simple as a small generator. Enough to run a space heater would be sufficient to ensure your pipes (and you) don't freeze! It is not a good idea to wait until you are out of power to buy a generator because it is when you lose power that everyone flocks to the hardware stores to stock up! (Please ensure that you read the user manuals and warning on your generators, and DO NOT use them in enclosed places as you risk Carbon Monoxide poisoning!!!!) Other more long term solutions for alternative energy/heat sources include solar panels, wind turbines, wood stoves, pellet stoves etc. These are all ways to not only ensure that you will always have heat and power, but they conserve energy and are conducive to a greener way of living.
Building a homestead, living green, and being sustainable are not only healthier and happier options, they can help you to be prepared in a state of emergency.