Be powerful… even when the power is out

In an extended blackout, you will probably need to use tools that do not require power. Make sure you have a variety of old-school tools that will work even when you’re in the midst of a lengthy power outage.

As we all know, the electrical grid is vulnerable. We know it will go down in various places at various times as a result of physical and cyber attacks or accidents or extreme weather. We just don’t know for how long.

So, the key is to prepare for a blackout that could last for a week or more. Check around your garage, basement and shed to take an inventory of your tools. Then think about getting a non-power equivalent of the ones that require electricity.

If we have a variety of non-power tools at the ready, we’ll be a lot better off when the power goes out. Here’s a look at 15 tools – in no particular order – that don’t require power:

  • Hatchet. In addition to being a home-defense choice if it’s the closest thing to you, it’s great for chopping wood. That wood can help you cook food and warm up your home.
  • Hand-crank radio. This is something we almost always include in your lists of items to have handy in an emergency. It will be especially useful when the power is out.
  • Hand-operated can opener. Many people prefer this item over an electric can opener even when the electricity is flowing freely. When the grid is down, it will be a necessity.
  • Hand-grinder. If coffee is a “must” for you, a hand-grinder will be just what you need to grind coffee beans.
  • Battery-operated fan. Those of us who are used to air conditioning will quickly notice when it’s gone, especially during the summer. A fan that runs on batteries will provide at least some relief.
  • Shovel. This is one of those non-power tools that we’re all used to using, regardless of the electrical grid’s status. Having a variety of shovels will be helpful because one that’s good for digging out dirt is not so effective for snow removal.
  • Solar-powered lantern. You’re going to want to see what you’re doing after dark during a blackout. Power it up during the day and use it at night.
  • Saw. A blackout will make you painfully aware of minor construction jobs that need to be done ASAP, and a handsaw will be mighty handy for that purpose. Use it to cut fallen tree branches and scrap wood as well.
  • Hand mower. Your grass doesn’t know the power is out. It’s still going to grow and you’re still going to need to cut it. Hand mowers are quiet and you won’t have to worry about plugging in that electric mower or trying to find a gas station that still has gas.
  • Screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers. You probably already have these in your home, but are they all in working order? Remember, your power drill will be worthless in a blackout.
  • Hand drill. And speaking of drills, a rotary hand drill will come in very handy if you need to construct a shelter, board up windows or do other tasks.
  • Multi-tool or Swiss Army knife. These multipurpose tools can perform all sorts of tasks for you without electricity. Some can serve as a knife, screwdriver, can opener, wire stripper, scissors, pliers, etc.
  • Battery-operated or wind-up clock. More people probably check the time on their cellphones than on their watches these days, but if those phones aren’t working, a wind-up or battery-operated clock could be your best option.
  • Tool sharpener. A number of the tools listed above will only be useful if they’re kept sharp. This one will pay for itself many times over if it keeps some of the other tools in working order.
  • Washboard. This is an old-school tool if I’ve ever seen one. When the washing machine no longer works, you’ll be glad you have one of these.



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