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When the lights go out!

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Message Paul Repstock

(Article changed on November 6, 2013 at 16:09)

Candle in the Dark
Candle in the Dark
(Image by candleinthedark-saeedbabaeizadeh-71810-20131106-12.jpg)
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Dad's letter to urban sons.

Hi xxxxxx;

Sorry if I was a wet rag last night. But, I will always be 'your dad', in my mind. And until you get established I will worry about you...Probably even after you are established, but then that is just parents. The rest of this email you can read or not, it is my suggestion for "$100 emergency" money:

Neither of you guys has ever experienced really bad cold, so that is where I'm focused.

The most important things in real cold are, heat and liquids.

You will only have a really bad problem if the electrical grid goes down and you have no power, so that is where you start. Dollar store candles can often be bought for less than .50 cents each for a candle one inch thick and eight inches long. With a decent candle holder, candles are a safe cheap way to have heat and light. Remember that you need a couple of Bic lighters. One candle will last about 3-4 hours, and it will keep a small room from freezing totally. One candle will also warm your food, not boiling, but hot enough to make your stomach happy. A simple 'candle cook stove' can be made by turning a strainer or the inside of a double boiler, upside down so that the top of the flame just touches the metal on the inside and the heat comes up through the holes. Just remember to make it all secure so it doesn't tip. Burning plastic is deadly!. As I said, candles are pretty safe compared to other sources of heat, but they can still cause fires in the right circumstances. Secondly, it is important to contain any heat you create, no point in wasting it out into the building or outside. That is why I said "smallest room" and then work to insulate the living space. If you can get free or cheap painter's drop cloth plastic, it is thin but will work well. Do not worry thay you will suffocate from one candle. It won't happen. Even if the candle is stinking from soot.

Number two thing is water. People don't think about this, but when the lights go out in winter, water freezes. You cannot afford the extra energy it will take to melt ice. So keep some plastic milk jugs clean and handy. If the electricity goes down, fill these jugs from the hot water tap and add one half spoon full of salt and one spoon of sugar to each gallon of hot water and shake it. Even in winter, you still need the same amount of water!!! About 1 liter per person per day. Keep the water in your warm room.

No matter what, keep yourselves dry. If you get wet or damp, keep the wet stuff outside your "Warm Room".

Btw; go out first thing and see if you can buy a cheap box of 'Halloween chocolates', the little bite sizers. I got one for the trick or treaters who never showed up here, for .10 cents per piece before halloween, the stores should have them for half of that right now, till stocks run out.

Then buy canned brown beans and sardines or some cheap meat with the rest.


The $100 won't buy you "survival gear". But, it will let you survive for two weeks in the worst conditions.

-$20-$25 for candles and lighters. (Make your own candle holder from a plate)

-Scrounge something for a cook/heat stove. Any metal container with holes or something you can poke holes in. (Don't cut your hands making holes!)

-Plastic milk jugs are free if you wash them.

-$10-$20Two pairs of woolen socks each!!!! These are important.

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