Non-Power Tools You Can Use During a Blackout

If you’re like me, on those rare occasions when you’re dealing with a temporary power outage, you try to flip on a light switch. When the light doesn’t come on, you say to yourself, “Oh yeah, that’s right. The power is out.”

Not only are we creatures of habit, we’re also incredibly dependent on the electrical grid. That wouldn’t be so bad if the grid were reliable, but as even the government admits, it is vulnerable.

Extreme weather, accidents, and physical and cyber attacks have all proven very capable of knocking out power for varying lengths of time. And it’s just going to keep getting worse. In fact, there is a good chance some of us are eventually going to get hit with a significant blackout that could extend for days, weeks or even months.

One of the ways to prepare for such an occurrence is to have a variety of tools ready for use that do not require power. Here are nine of them:

  • Axe. It’s essential for chopping wood so you can heat your home and cook food. And in a pinch, it’s a lethal home-defense option.
  • Shovel. If you don’t already have one, get a couple. They’ll help you clear snow or debris, dig an irrigation system and bury waste.
  • Washboard. Laundry has to get done somehow, and this old-school tool will be a big help when your washing machine doesn’t work.
  • Handsaw. Critical for minor construction projects that come up due to the blackout, as well as for cutting scrap wood.
  • Rotary hand drill. Sure, it’s not as easy to use as a power drill, but if you’re building a shelter, boarding up windows or even hanging pictures, you will need one.
  • Push reel mower. Remember the days when everybody used them? If nothing else, it’ll make Saturday afternoons quieter in your neighborhood.
  • Manual typewriter. You can correspond with long-distance friends/relatives with hand-written notes, but this will help communications look more official.
  • Hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. Presumably you already have these non-power tools, but be sure they’re all in good shape or purchase new ones.
  • Battery-operated clock. If your clock is plugged into a wall, it won’t be much use. A battery-operated clock will help keep you on track.

I hope this discussion starts you thinking about how you would cope during an extended power outage. Your first step should be to take a look around your home and make a list of every tool you might need during a lengthy blackout. If you only have a power version of that tool, think seriously about acquiring a non-power equivalent.


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