Testing My Grid Down Preps in the UK, by Culian

I live in the UK and have been prepping for twelve months. Two things worry me: Brexit and Grid Down. I’ll mention Brexit, but this article is about testing my plan for Grid Down.

Brexit is the plan for the UK to leave the European Union (EU). Most of what we consume comes from Continental Europe and we are told that the UK government has got effective contingency plans to cope with leaving the EU. There is nothing in place, however, to import food. Panic buying will empty a supermarket within hours and the distribution hubs only hold food for 5 days. Day 6 could see us very hungry.

Since the fiasco of March 2019, it is estimated that a third of UK households have stockpiled three months of food, just in case. As a committed Prepper, I have gone beyond just three months of food: I have a few basics for water filtration, security, hygiene etc. We also practice meals based on dry and tinned food, with minimal washing up.

The UK has one National Grid, built in the 1960s. It is maintained, but has not been upgraded. We get power failures every few years, usually for about 24 hours or so and it is this scenario I wanted to test. Our last significant power failure, when we lost power for three days, was five years ago. For my wife and I, and two teenage daughters, it was an unmitigated disaster. As soon as my daughters realised that they couldn’t wash their hair or charge their phones, they left! I wanted to do better next time.

Background

I must also mention that 90% of people in the UK live in suburbs, and the UK is too small and too densely populated for “bugging-out”. Even if I owned a farm house in Wales as a second home, the locals certainly wouldn’t welcome our arrival.

Houses in the UK are very different from those in North America:

  • The majority of the houses the UK were built after the World Wars – either in the 1930s or the 1950s. They are solidly built, but don’t lend themselves to a lot of modern technology. Apart from Wi-Fi, UK houses are stuck in the 1980s. There are electrical appliances, but not a lot else. Parts of the UK still doesn’t have 4G or Superfast Broadband. This can, however, work in our favour – there is a lot less to go wrong.
  • We don’t do standby generators in the UK. Power cuts are neither sufficiently frequent nor do they last long enough to justify the expense. In a suburban setting, where gardens now tend to be very small, there are restrictions on storing fuel, and how close the generator can be kept to buildings. I’m not saying that no one has any, but they are very rare.
  • Our water comes from a water main, under pressure, so we don’t need any electric pumps.
  • My cooker has a gas top and an electric oven. I can boil food without needing to use a camping stove.
  • Security isn’t a huge issue. I have door locks and window locks (on the ground floor) and that is it. We don’t have much worth stealing. The most valuable items are probably the prepping stores, but these are bulky, and well hidden. There are [virtually] no private firearms in the UK.
Preparing to Test the Plan

Since the last power cut, and during the last twelve months in particular, I have given a lot of thought, (and watched a lot of YouTube videos) about preparedness. I did three specific things to prepare for the test:

  • Since we couldn’t use an electric kettle, I bought a kettle for stove top use. I didn’t want to watch a pan of water boil just to have a cup of coffee. I bought the cheapest one I could find – it is Barbie pink, and I call it the “Prepping Kettle”!
  • I also bought a basic plug in phone, because our cordless phone uses electricity. I have an elderly mother, who I wanted to be able to keep in contact with, via a land line.
  • I also timed the test for October. It is still mild enough not to need central heating, and there is sufficient daylight to prepare, cook and wash up from meals. Washing up by candlelight doesn’t really work.

So, last Thursday we did the weekly shop and filled up the car, and 6pm on Friday I flicked the switch for the 72 hours of Grid Down. With two adjustments – I kept on the power to the deep freezer (but not the fridge). If the deep freeze is full, the contents should stay frozen for 7 days. And I turned off the 4G on our phones. I wanted to make the isolation feel genuine. And no trips to the petrol station or Supermarket, because they both need electricity to operate and wouldn’t, therefore, be an option.

What Happened?

Well, not much really. We had soup and a bread roll for supper, then an early night. I read for a bit by candle light, then caught up on a lot of sleep. I also snapped a glow light and put it in the bathroom. My wife and I are both of an age when we need to go to the toilet during the night!

Next morning, I heard the kettle whistle and realised that the morning coffee was on route. And the rest of the time – the days were quiet and relaxed. I couldn’t do any DIY, because that needs power tools, but I could do some gardening. Digging borders and raking leaves uses muscle, not electricity. Apart from that, we went for walks, read a lot, and talked to each other. All things we haven’t really done in decades. For Saturday night, we sat at the kitchen table, and did a crossword until 10pm by candlelight. It was idyllic.

There were, however, three odd events. First, a neighbour came round to ask a question – I didn’t know the answer, so she whipped out her mobile to check something. Oops, no internet. I had to explain that I had problems with my wireless connection, while she muttered about the inconvenience of having to turn on her 4G and use her data. I certainly didn’t want to admit that I am a prepper in case she lays siege to my tins of spaghetti hoops on Day 6!

Second, one evening we came home from a walk in the dark. There were candles in the hallway, but the lighters were in the kitchen. So I had to crash through the house, falling over shoes, slippers and shopping trying to get to the kitchen and find a lighter. The lesson – know where your candles are and keep a Bic lighter as part of your EDC.

Third, my wife cheated! Sunday morning, she woke up at 7am, crept downstairs, turned the iron on and did an hour of ironing. After 30 years of marriage, I have learnt when to keep my mouth shut. Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with turning up to work in an un-ironed shirt, but she couldn’t cope with looking at a load of un-ironed washing for more than 48 hours. Only the English could lose sleep about not doing the ironing! Best that I can say is that we are all different.

What Did I Learn?

Quite a lot: we have gas central heating, so the hot water wasn’t heated at all during the 72 hours. By limiting our use to sinks for either washing up or personal hygiene, we still had plenty of hot water after 3 days.

With regard to our mobiles, by limiting our use to telephone calls and texts (no Apps), the battery didn’t drop below 50%.

A stovetop kettle is a must (if you are used to an electric kettle), and a glow light in the bathroom is pure genius.

I learnt a lot about candles – Price’s household candles are excellent – they burn slowly and with a bright light. Tea lights are okay for background, but don’t help you see. Scented candles in glass jars are variable, but tend towards useless. For a prolonged period, I estimate that I’ll need 4 household and four tea lights/ day. For my long term preps – three months (worst case?), this is 360 of each. Tea lights are cheap and cheerful, but this is a significant investment for household candles.

I also learnt that you need to be tidy – leaving shoes, slippers or bags of shopping lying around is a trip hazard, especially if the room is, at best, gloomy. And finally, you need long matches to light a cooker ring. I kept burning my thumb when using a lighter. [JWR Adds: There’s an inexpensive solution for that problem: Bic Multipurpose Wand Lighters.]

Recommendation

I have only one recommendation:  test your plan and your preparedness. There will be big issues to address – who do you need to keep in contact with, will you have water, is your security adequate etc? But it is the silly little things that will trip you up, and you won’t know what they are until you have tried them out. If the UK hasn’t fallen into anarchy over Brexit, I intend to test my plan again next Easter.




78 Comments

  1. Really? No Diy because of no power? Might I suggest DeWalt or Makita 20 volt system for power tools. Basic set cosisting of reciprocating saw and drill and impact might be a good place to start. Most kits come with a light also. I keep mine on my tool bench fully charged with extra batteries fully charged.
    Also I would have an issue of using candles inside of a house or any dwelling for that matter. There’s enough LED lanterns, candles, and flashlights and so forth that are battery powered that last for days.
    And yes I realize batteries cost money both for the tools and LED lights. But there is no way I would do candles inside of a house it’s just not worth it.

  2. To our dear Brothers and Sisters in Prepping. Good for you. You and your family are 90% ahead of the pack. When the public masses are hungry and thirsty, it is another world. Add a few bags of dry rice to the larder. It will help stretch meals. A warm can of spaghetti hoops or baked beans makes a good hearty meal, for a family of four, when served over rice. A few cans of Spam are nice to have as well. Cook it on the Barbeque grill. Sliced with a little sauce of your choice and steaming rice is usually welcomed by hungry family. LED flashlights are cheaper than ever befor. Having one or two for every family member and a few extra AAA batteries. You will never regret it. Have a small radio that uses a small amount of batteries. Please no Stereo Blaster as they are battery hogs. Have a small First Aid Kit on hand. Simple band aids and a few aspirin/ anti inflammatory can save you a trip to the causality ward. It will already be full of people looking for narcotics. Someone always gets hurt with knives and such when the lights go out. Most of this can fit into a small plastic shoe box. Except the food of course. The radio can help you know what is happening beyond your line of sight. All these are available at a Walmart near you. If wou do not use them,they are a nice addition to the house hold supplies. Just a few simple low cost suggestions from someone who has been through many hurricanes in Florida and the Cuban Missle Crisis. Remember, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. Get a baseball or Cricket bat. You may need to do a little sports. Good luck my Dear Friend. I have been to your country with the military service. I loved it very much. The People were very kind and considerate to an old country boy like me. Thanks Very Much

  3. Thank you for your article, I lived near Mildenhall for a while and loved it. Brits have the most dry sense of humor, which I find delightful! Your test was successful and if you can stay home and out of crowds it would be best. But, I worry about your safety in a true grid down situation, without some form of protection, the bad guys would take everything you had and maybe your lives. I know England has very strict weapons laws, but the immigrants and gangs don’t obey laws. Maybe a baseball bat studded with sharp objects? Or is that too uncivilized?

    1. Brit humor: In 1970 I gave a friend a ride to a port in Holland to pick up a car that was shipped to the U.S. We were stationed in Germany. We stayed in a hotel in Amsterdam and in the morning went downstairs for the continental breakfast. The man at the next table was a Brit and he took one look at my friend in a tee shirt, Bermuda shorts and flip flops and commented “I see you almost got dressed this morning”.

  4. Nice, useful article. One question, on your “water under pressure from the main”. Unless municipal water is gravity fed where you are, pressure water will not be available. You might want to see if you can find local standing water, and a way to purify it. Also there is a nifty Canadian made light that burns enough to lite a room for 4 hours per tea candle, bright enough to read. Tested over more than one hurricane. Careful, it will make you stand out in your neighborhood. God Bless, mountain ancient Marv

    1. For oersonal and family protection, I would suggest a cross bow….it’s easy to maintain, besides it’s IN YOUR dna. Anyone can overpower a homeowner with/bat with a few accomplices.
      An arrow the chest of an home invader crashing down your front door to your castle ..wishing you GBH could save your lives, and pursuade others to leave you in peace. That a personal decision.
      Water… fill your tub with clean water, there are large water [WaterBob] bladders that can be placed in the tub and filled to insure it dies not become contaminated.
      FOOD
      Stock up on mylar pouches re dehydrated food, we did Wise Foods, delicious and sufficient calories per day.
      Buy a small survival flint match fire starter, also keep matches in a hard waterproof container.
      Construct a small wood burning can stove for backyard use. To heat/boil water, yo hydrate the freeze dried foods. You never know if a gas line explosion nearby can destroy your reliance on gas top stove food prep.
      LIGHTING
      Ditto ..stock up on efficient LED flashlights (torches)..Safer than tipping over a candle.
      RADIO-INFORMATION
      Buy an economical am, fm and shortwave radio, that uses minimal battery power. In addition to a hand crank battery that can be occasionally cranked to listen to news alerts and emergency information.
      MEDS
      try to stock up on meds. Some in the states visit the large, big box pet stores to buy antibiotics…Do your research in that, could be a life saver.
      PET FOOD
      Stock up on man’s best friend’s favorite food and treats. Here in FL…in 2004 during a 5 day power outage, it was great reassurance to have our 95 lb, all muscle no fat, boxer/pit bull mix, highly protective watch dog on the threshold of our patio. He instinctively went into guard dog mode and positioned himself at our rear house opening to our large fenced yard. Had to keep those French doors open for air re humidity 98%…..think sauna !

  5. “Since the fiasco of March 2019, it is estimated that a third of UK households have stockpiled three months of food, just in case. As a committed Prepper, I have gone beyond just three months of food: I have a few basics for water filtration, security, hygiene etc. We also practice meals based on dry and tinned food, with minimal washing up.”

    That is probably more than 99% of Yanks have stored up – Good for you ! Far too many people don’t think it can happen here – it can, likely at the worst time too like the dead of winter.

    One caution – you mention that water is sent via non electric means (no pumps). But to get that water to an elevated area to be distributed – doesn’t that require electricity ? Or are all the water resevoirs located on hillsides which gather water ?

    Light sources – are you able to order UV Paq Lite products (or similar) ? Glow in the dark sources that are charged from ANY light source. No – they won’t cast a beam, but in a dark space, will illuminate enough to get around. Lifetime product, waterproof and lightweight, they do a good job.

    Some of the Swiss Army knives (Classic, Climber and Rescue Tool) have Stay Glow covers that are surprisingly bright as well. A multi-purpose item.

    Thanks for the article.

  6. I’m going to be honest at the risk of offending someone, although it is definitely not my intention to offend anyone.
    When I read articles like this, I wonder how this person really intends to survive. Any SHTF scenario that I run is NOT going to be a walk in the park. I feel woefully unprepared and I’m a million miles ahead of this author. It makes me very sad to read stuff like this and hear others talk like this.
    Cmon people, we’re not preparing for a weekend camping trip…

      1. Yes, I think he needs to really seriously consider the fact that this is really happening. It isn’t “maybe going to happen” or “someday it might happen”. Things are going to get bad and they are going to get bad fast. Millions of people are going to die horrible deaths. I know it’s unfair for me to put him into a category, but when I meet people like this, most of the time, they can’t ignore all the warning signs, so they buy some preps, but they refuse to believe it will be as bad as their gut tells them. There’s a name for that, cognitive dissonance.
        There are a million suggestions I could offer, starting with leaving the lights off and stubbing your toe, but the heart of the matter is a deep refusal to believe the coming horror.

        1. Lighten up ! The author is taking it seriously enough to actually TEST his preparations. And I am sure that he is not stopping just because he has 3 months accumulated so far. Give the guy a break ! Conditions in the UK are not the same as they are here. One last thing- I don’t care what anyone may say- the British are some of the fiercest fighters in the world and will never surrender.

          1. Nathan- I would say the Brits WERE some of the fiercest fighters. And I am sure the military a spec ops people over there are very good. But the general population is beat down into a wussified former version of the WW1/WW2 people that were ready to fight the Germans on the beaches and anywhere else. Now they can’t even defend themselves legally or even own knives, much less guns. If you hunt game over there you are vilified as a murderer. Their PC culture is even more egregious than the one here in the states. It’s sad but true. You couldn’t pay me enough to live in England. Cool history though.

    1. Not everyone is preparing for TEOTWAWKI, as I understood it the author is mainly concerned about prolonged power outages.

      Advise to the author: Look into LED lighting options (flashlights, lanterns, and solar garden stakes). I use many that are rechargeable via usb, which means I can charge them during the day with a small solar panel without much hassle (specifically, I have an adapter to create a cigarette lighter- style socket directly from the panel, which I plug a car charger in to. No inverter, no battery, etc.). Also, carry a keychain or key light, even a single LED would have saved your shins (or more seriously your hip) looking for your matches.

    2. That’s true, but if this is their first step in prepping, I’m glad they’re trying it out and seeing where the problems are. Yes, if things got really bad this wouldn’t at all be adequate but it sounds like this guy is trying to figure out how to prep given his particular situation which most definitely isn’t a retreat on a mountain in Idaho! Hopefully he will continue to learn and prepare. Gotta learn to crawl before you walk and walk before you run……..

    3. Nate, as American preppers it is indeed painful to hear of these situations. Potentially huge losses of life seem ‘baked in the cake’. But short of moving out of the UK, they are trying to do the best they can do. I commend them for working on a plan and TESTING it.

    4. Everyone has to start somewhere. As I see it, he is miles ahead of his neighbors, who have NO stored food and who have given little thought to water, cooking, heating, bedding, and lighting.

    5. That’s ok Dan. Brother i do hear you. We all have been there brother. He’s trying. He’s trying to be self sufficient. Not winge and guve up….None of us will truly will think of everything. Just try to suggest to him what you would do…..that he has not considered… Thanks Patriot.

    6. It is likely that in any SHTF situation surviving 3 days, a week or a month will get you past the worst of the situation. So, yes, planning to survive for a week or a month is viable and wise.

    7. I believe we need to recognize that there are different levels of prepping represented here. & there are different levels & kinds of tests to be done. While this test may not help some, it will help others.

  7. Could I suggest rechargeable batteries with flashlights (I think English call those Torches) and most important Head Lamps?

    When things go sidewise a house fire from candles is the LAST thing you need.

    Even in England a GOOD QUALITY Solar Recharger with a 20 watt panel will recharge batteries, cell phones and other small items easily. The good ones HAVE a small battery pack available for recharging with out sunshine.

    Fire Extinguishers! Not only good for snuffing out a small fire before it goes crazy it’s an EXCELLENT way to take out a crowd of Hot Heads in your hallway. Then with goggles and surgical mask to protect yourself from anti fire powders roll in with a Cricket Bat. You will need clean up after THAT sticky wicket.

    Extra fire extinguishers are a god idea.

    1. Michael,Yes to fire extinguishers but the “dry chemical” make a horrible mess that can be almost impossible to clean up,try either CO2 or nitrogen which can be used on any type fire but can also be used defensively without the cleanup problems.
      For defense how about a long bow? You could make a great argument for the historical truth to a Englishman and his bow.
      For colder weather a sleeping bag for everyone,a Coleman type stove and lantern could be used and kept as “camping gear”

      1. Good Morning VT! A mess you will have anyway things go in a home defense situation. Long Bow, knife, bat or whatever gets messy with blood and human waste all around. The oxygen displacement fire extinguishers are not recommended in close areas BECAUSE the operator might also be overcome by lack of O2.

        I’ve been wiffed by back blast from a dry extinguisher and it’s pretty close to pepper spray if you get it in your eyes and lungs. Thus the swim goggles and surgical mask. Then you go on with the messy parts of finishing that fight. Clean up from a situation is what you plan for friend. I suggest a vacuum cleaner with a good filter for the dusty bits. No electricity? A large spray bottle with water and rags works.

        I just checked and pepper spray is illegal in England? Treated just like assault with a Firearm??? Wow….

        House camping is a decent option. How will you keep your water pipes from freezing? Do you have a Chaos Kit with sheet plastic to cover broken windows along with the needed fasteners and edge strips? A way to pick up broken glass from the floor after that rock comes in? Shoes ready for use next to the bed? Cut feet from broken glass is not needed in a bad situation. My Chaos kit has a lot more in it but you get the idea. Nothing is worse than charging all over the house responding to a situation and wondering WHERE are My Flashlights??

  8. The glass hurricane globes sold at Walmart cheap are great for setting any candles in – an excellent and very necessary safety feature. Sometimes light is just for comfort too, not necessarily for doing chores or reading. Wartime Farm is a fantastic series of 8 episodes. You can watch it on YouTube. Sadly, we don’t have the sense of community the Brits did and the government was on the side of the people to survive the war. It was a valiant effort on every level.

    1. Those of us who have been living the life for a decade or a lifetime know how much there is to do to prepare. And we never feel done. There is always another new book, seed, tool, piece of equipment, animal, or skill to acquire.

      Let’s encourage all who have begun to get ready. While on the surface it looks like my own family is in good shape. But, I’m often flabbergasted by what others in our community accomplish and their drive.

      Avalanche Lily is an incredibly productive hard worker with boundless energy. Fern and Frank have mastered the lifestyle and can even write about it. Joel Salatin is my hero. And Ol’ Remus sounds like a squirrel with his preps and urgently repeated message to stay away from crowds. All these authors are worth your time. I can, freeze, and dehydrate, yet feel inadequate compared to so many in this readership. But, I keep on going.

      This Brit will face enough criticism from family and friends when they learn or figure out what he’s doing. He doesn’t need us to pile on.

      By the way, I disagree with the candle discussion. Use hurricanes and set the candles on a surface that can’t ignite. Never leave a candle unattended, never fall asleep with a candle burning. The use of candles can help extend battery life.

      Well done and keep it up.

      Keep up the good work.

    2. Had a friend of mine, military gave his spouse a can ir two of wasp spray… Try it. It’s great. You can spray 15 ft at least chest up to face. Many have dyes, and a substance that can only be flushed from the eyes that were rendered useless….by trained hospital personnel. In the meantime it incapacitates the attacker and ceases his attack.

      1. A chemical weapon like that shouldn’t be used in any situation other than a TOTAL WORST CASE societal collapse. You are likely to permanently blind someone. The legal ramifications (both criminal and civil) are HUGE. You’d be sued for everything you are worth. (Read: house and life savings.) Instead, invest in several large canisters of bear strength pepper spray. At least you won’t get sued.

        1. I was thinking strictly re life saving alternative, for others as in the UK.. against a violent / breaking your door down intruder. They must decide how to handle that most extreme situation..
          I live in a “shall issue state” re State constitution, also a “stand your ground” state. I carried for uncle. I truly hope it never comes to the worst case / catastrophic sit. I have no desire to hurt anyone but I draw the line when a door or window become breached and dispatch responds that locals are 10 min out… Your suggestion re Bear strength pepper… is a must look into item…

  9. Might I suggest an alternative lighting system. Streamight siege lantern+Panasonic AA rechargeable batteries+Maha battery charger+50 watt or so solar panel with charge controller. If one uses the larger D cell streamlight just use d cell battery adapters for aa sized batteries. The panel is overkill but allows extra to charge other stuff and is nice to have on cloudy days.

  10. You need to buy 2 stream lite flash lights one for you and your wife they can be had for $25 apiece.
    How can you go walking at night with no flash light in your pocket for a emergency.

  11. This describes a good first step in preparedness, and is miles ahead of the vast majority of the population. With no intention of being critical, it is important to realize what this level of preparedness covers, and what it doesn’t. It covers a localized extended power outage. The reliance on utility level gas and water will be a problem if the outage is widespread and extended. Under that scenario security may also become a problem for “bugging in” and a lack of widespread firearms ownership only changes the threats slightly, it doesn’t eliminate them. A few quick recommendations for taking the next steps:
    1) Water supplies. Also include water catchment and purification systems if you are in control of your own freestanding structure.
    2) Fuel supplies for cooking. I find it better to find the most efficient way of doing these things to use the least amount of fuel, rather than dramatically increasing the amount of flammables that need to be stored. For instance, for bugging in I would avoid things like uncooked rice, beans, and other dried staples. They need a lot of BTU to heat considering their cooking time. My short term food supplies are in the freezer and canned goods in the pantry (up to 7 days) but everything after that requires only boiling small amounts of water to prepare, like instant oatmeal, freeze dried food, tea, etc. A small alcohol burner stove setup like campers use is inexpensive and frugal on fuel, which itself is not terribly expensive and can be carefully stored in quantity. It also makes no smoke and no smell.
    3) Likewise there is a need for heating. Again, make the most efficient setup to reduce fuel needs. A little remodeling might be necessary to properly insulate a room chosen to be the room that will actually be lived and slept in under these conditions. Putting all the bodies in the same place and being prepared with clothing to handle temps not much above 0 C, especially at night, will reduce the fuel burden significantly. Experience from living a winter in a mountain cabin with nothing but wood heat taught me that keeping the humidity levels up in the living space is important, both for comfort and for holding the heat energy in. I recommend a small wood pellet stove, as they are very efficient and produce almost no smoke or odor, and the fuel is relatively inexpensive and not so dangerous to store as other options. Pellet stoves do require a small amount of power to operate, however, so this option will lead you down the rabbit hole of installing a small solar system to ensure you can run it. Which leads us to number 4:
    4) A very small solar system, if you can manage to install/use it where it isn’t visible from the street, can allow you to wire a small 12V system for LED lights, the stove mentioned above (there are models that don’t require much power), and other battery chargers for things like tools (see #5), radios, tablets with pre-downloaded reading material, personal lights, and even a small exterior camera system.
    5) Security can absolutely be an issue. Remember failing to plan is planning to fail. The biggest issue with “bugging in” is blending into the background. You want to make absolutely sure that your house blends into the rest of the “doing without” at all costs. This means absolute discipline on anything that can be seen or smelled that gives away the fact that you have food, water, power, and heat, or that you were prepared for this situation in any way. It’s better if this can even be hidden from your neighbors, but that might not be possible. Even so, it’s best to be prepared to barricade doors and windows against intrusion and prevent any visible stimulus from escaping. Precut pieces of heavy plywood, painted black on the outside face, can be screwed onto the window frames from the inside. You should also have some kind of curtains that can be placed on the inside of the window frame so that the plywood backing is not obvious from the outside. Systems that utilize bars should be properly installed to the structure framing for doors. Keep in mind that you can’t reasonably turn any residential structure into a bunker. If you become a target for a mob, they will eventually burn you out, so the first key is to not become a target, and the second is a viable bugout plan if you do.

    This went on longer than I intended, but should give an outline of the thoughts needed to take the next steps in “bugging in” preparation.

  12. Re. Brexit. UK elites are as much in the globalist fold as elites in the US. IF they ALLOW Brexit, they will already have a plan in place for its failure. Starvation has been the #1 weapon of choice throughout history. As soon as the suffering becomes unbearable elites will ‘rescue’ them with a global-centric plan. Those supporting Brexit will be scapegoats. The US is already setup to fail. Trump and Deplorables will be the scapegoats whether Trump is re-elected or not.

    1. Montana Guy, love your comment. Here’s mine. I want Brexit immediately (but not a UK resident). Reason being, the delay from Brexit is because the politicians are saying “hey the voters didn’t realize what they voted for, so let’s not do it”. That’s a slippery slope. Quite frankly, that arrogance is what is prompting all of the Trump resistance. Wish I lived in Idaho but we picked Florida before knowing about all of the great resources and people there. That being said, we can live and eat by fishing. Stay well.

  13. Doing anything is better than doing nothing. Most people I speak with recognize the risks we face… and do nothing. At the end of the day, there is only so much we can do. If we are at the wrong place at the wrong time and “something” happens fast, all the preps in the world will be to no avail. We all face the same ultimate event and that’s always about Christ and our relationship with Him (or lack thereof).
    The lag time between now and that event could be quite the ride. I think it’s prudent to have a balanced approach and look at prepping as insurance. We invest in insurance but don’t spend all we earn on insurance. If you have none, you may regret it someday. My advice for Culian… Leave the UK ASAP. I hear Canada is still looking for settlers… 🙂

        1. OneGuy, I hear you. Often I’ve asked myself of folks living in oppression, ‘Why don’t they just move to the U.S.?’

          A couple thoughts. Some folks will not leave their family, land etc. That said, others would need the mindset of a free person or one who is absolutely desperate. Governments slowly and cleverly suppress that natural mindset as they build dependency and destroy means of self-reliance.

          Secondly to those thinking of simply moving to the U.S., you must remain below the radar of the tyrannical U.S. Police State and Prison State. Many illegal aliens get a pass by design. You won’t. Incarceration is no place to be when the Schumer hits the fan.

          Last and most difficult, you will still need ‘a tribe’. Try to find a rural family in the U.S. willing to put skin-in-the-game to assist you before hopping on a plan. Somehow both parties must stay under Big Brother’s radar in doing so.

          Comment to Law Enforcement: Every action I have described is ‘mala prohibita’. As you know, the phrase is Latin and means ‘wrong only because it is prohibited’. In other words, they are not harming others. I have no moral authority over another man and neither do you. Using force against persons not harming others is immoral. If you have a moral philosophy other than the principle of non-aggression, please articulate such.

        2. YES, in many cases it’s as though they have diplo immunity.. that’s better than “Princes of the city” had back in the day.. My outfit saved their buts a few times..

  14. Try the historical English trick of having multiple hot water bottles. You can heat up water outside, make tea and fill several hot water bottles, place them in your chair and rest your feet on them, put them in your bed. Also, the water will stay warm for a long time, and you can re-use the warm water to wash with or wash dishes with. A good buy would be a small hatchet or tomahawk to break up wood. Crank style lanterns that give decent light and can be carried from room to room are a real blessing. The small comforts of a hot cup of tea and a hot water bottle under your feet are not to be underestimated, it’s amazing how irritable people become when denied these basic comforts

  15. A couple of thoughts. You may want to put together a non-electric tool kit so you can continue with your DIY, and also be able to fix things in an extended grid down scenario. In the States, old but still usable tools can be picked up inexpensively at estate sales, garage sales and flea markets. In the UK, I think you call them car boot sales.

    Likewise you mention household candles. These are one of the things I look for at the above mentioned sales. Over the past year, I have probably gathered about a gross of candles for less than $10 from these sales.

    Finally, I know that UK weapons laws are highly restrictive, however you shoudl stil build some sort of self defense capability. C cell Maglight flashlights, walking sticks, etc. Maybe even take up archery as a hobby.

  16. Thank you for the article and surprising news . From all accounts here in the states Brexit is dead. With the huge influx of third world savages surprised security is not more of a concern on you’re small island 🙂

    In any event good on yah for at least being more prepared than 90% of your neighbors.

  17. Sir, I hope you have verified that your furnace will operate without power. Many gas furnaces, like mine, will not because the electric fans to push air and exhaust will not. You may need to see if you can supply the necessary power from a battery pack, or figure your alternatives. Small oil/kerosene lamps can be very flexible in helping you stay warm and your pipes from freezing. Dietz brand are popular here.

  18. I agree with Jack2, get out if you can, if you can’t, build your stockpile with stored water, tinned food, and self defence tools. You mention your garden, (what the US would call a backyard) check out edible landscaping, potatoes, carrots, green beans, beets, swiss chard all have “pretty” leaves and can be borders and beds without giving away their real use. DO NOT let your neighbors know they can be eaten. Make window and door coverings of plywood and curtains as Chris W suggests, I would add, put the curtains up now, make a habit of closing them at night and different times of the day so your neighbors are accustomed to seeing them in place and in use. You may get questions about them, LIE, tell them you have begun to get migrain headaches and you can’t bear the sunlight. Get battery operated drill/screwdriver and keep it charged up. Get extra long screws, and large diameter washers, make sure that the inner hole fits the screws, these will help hold the plywood, and use 3/4 exterior ply, ( paint the inside white to help brighten the room.) pre drill the screw holes. I assume your cooking gas is piped in (natural gas) get a small propane camping stove. Anything your utilities supply is out of your control. You are 1000 times ahead of most people, keep up the good work. There are lots of websites to access information from. All for now.

  19. Um….a widespread power outage will take down utility water and natural gas, too. So don’t rely on it. The gas may last a day or so, but the pumping stations need power. Some gas utilities have their own nat gas generators…somebody was using their noodle there.
    But many don’t. The cell network won’t last long without power, either
    The author is well on his way, he’ll get better with time.
    I correspond with a nice Brit regularly, and he’s an ex-cop. Muslim, too! He owns three fouling pieces in 12 gauge, and has informed me of the Draconian process of acquiring and storing them. He has forwarded various models of repeating shotguns Brits may own, and some are pump action with short barrels. Imagine THAT! But one must NEVER list self defense as a reason for owning a shotgun. Birdshot is all that’s available over there, so I forwarded him some videos about “cut shells”, which basically convert a bird load into a 1 ounce Glaser Safety Slug. Best in Improved Cylinder or Modified chokes.
    Very good comments on this article.

  20. Three points to consider, I didn’t read them in the posts or missed them, When bugging in, Light discipline, noise discipline and cooking discipline. When the grid is down people see lights and will go to it hoping for help. With noise people will be attracted as well to see if something is available to them to use, eat, steal.
    Cooking discipline, hungry people will follow their noses and try to take what they can. Not humanity at its best. However, people can be trusted to react with “enlightened self interest” in these situations. TTFN

  21. If I were grading this essay at the university level you’d receive an “D-” but if you implement these things you’d receive an “A+”

    First of all prepping supplies and testing them out in a disaster scenario are serious things!

    1) You need to park your daughters at home in such a scenario. There’s “No, I’m leaving to fetch more creature comforts at my friends home across town.” I know the city grid was down for 24 hours but you and your wife need to be more serious and have the authority to set the stage for your daughters.

    2) Testing out scenario for a grid down but then utilizing pressurized water from the city and gas lines off the grid defeats the purpose. If the electrics are out, all other utilities will follow within a short amount of time. Think how much generator fuel does the gas company have, or the water company have to keep you water and gas flowing in a month long electrical grid down? There are great commenters in this segment on what to do.

    3) Your Bear Grylls covered the Firearms ban in the UK for private ownership. You must have a pellet gun in your possession and one for each family member. It can be used to warn looters from afar, kill varmints for food, and even used as a security measure when brandishing it properly at the correct timing of a crime scene. Bows and arrows are also legal in the UK. Get some. Slingshots will heavy weight balls will also work.

    4) In a grid down approach to society, your toilet will back up in about a day. Everyone on the grid flushing it with pals of water. Get yourself a 5-gallon bucket and a toilet seat, lyme, and have a compost place already dug (maybe near your small garden). You need that waste outside.

    5) get solar chargers for USB devices. We use one hiking in America and it straps to the back of the backpack and charges all cell phones, iPads, even lithium batteries with USB hole.

    6) Flashlights work best. Glow sticks you can not turn off in a pinch for OPSEC reasons.

    7) Fill you bathtub full of water and plug it. Place a board over it. That’s what you will boil and make your coffee and cook with. Also have a 100 gallon storage tank in the home somewhere and add 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon (please look this up).

    8) Use windup radio for emergency band and wind up flashlights which can dub as burning candles and much safer than a fire hazard in crowded England.

    9) Instead of calling your “Mum” (English pronounced) get her a two way radio and HAM license. She can talk over the HAM bands anywhere in the world including England. Your MUM might be amazed at learning a new technology and impressed with her son’s voice chatting over the airwaves.

    10) Stock the food in wide and deep. Be sure you stock what you eat and have an entire closet full of them. My grandmother when she died, had about 2 pallets of flower in her basement and 1 pallet of sugar, and a host of all types of food. She lived during the Great Depression.

    Nice article and I had to think quick on this one.
    God bless from across the Pond!

    1. Mr. Davis and Mr. UK Prepper, let’s recommend you check your bleach/water ratio. There are a lot of stats floating out there and one tablespoon per gallon is on the higher/super high side of things. Also you must use UNSCENTED bleach.

      Good luck.

  22. Good on ya, at least you’re trying. It ain’t an overnight proposition by any means. Before any of us could walk we had to learn how to crawl.

    I simply do not get it about the Brexit deal however. You guys voted to leave the EU what, over 2 years ago and you haven’t done it yet! You need to get control of your elected clowns much like we need to do here.
    How did England survive all the centuries before the EU? You do not need a deal! Tell the EU to pound sand. They are nothing but a bunch of un-elected bureaucrats trying to impose their will on all parties by telling them who, what, when and how they can trade and interact with outer countries. Trade and interact with whatever country you please. You are a sovereign country are you not?

    1. Good Friday Agreement,
      Economic they want to eat the cake and storage the same to close the borders for EU citicens violates GFA and the EU will not give the econmic privileges the Tories want without freedom of movement, work etc….
      Every EU state has the economic Rights the UK wants but those depend on the Right of free movement, Living and working for every EU citicen.
      There is no free lunch, whatever Fairy Tales Bor is the not very truthful tells.

      You could also say the EU has graciously and merciful allowed the UK to stay, the UK want to leave and want to pick and choose how the EU catered to their wishes.

  23. Invest in a lifestyle Independent of electricity and civilization. The grid empowers the system of enslavement. We should dance a jig when it goes down, whether it’s brought down by Revolutionaries, or from the controllers. Best thing to do is make sure the grid stays down. The micro grids will need to be destroyed as well before they are commandeered to support operations against the Dissidents. Roads will need to be disabled. Aircraft disabled. There is no other good alternative. Fess up to that fact.

    1. I like where you’re going on this one. The law enforcement would need to be neutralized as well. To add one more to your list. We will be free from tyranny set by liberal law makers.

  24. Please do not assume that guns are not available in the UK…. I am from there originally, and in my youth, had a pistol put against my temple by a skinhead. There are ALOT of guns still floating around. Heed the advise about pellet guns, archery gear and slingshots. also take up cricket…. Good luck

  25. On Brexit: Europe needs Britain more than Britain needs Europe. The elitists know this, that is why the traitorous members of your Parliament are determined to keep it from happening. There is just too much money these scum stand to loose if Brexit goes through. Stand with Nigel Farage and the Brexit party.

    On our problems: Trump will likely be re-elected by a large margin unless there is rampant voter fraud. That is a distinct possibility. America’s treasonous scum in our congress are just as bad as the scum in the British Parliament. Our scum encompass both political parties. Oh, gee thanks Utah for putting that moron Mitt (Willard the evil little rat) Romney in the US senate. What were you thinking? Don’t do that again!

    On this Brits’ prepping. Good show! A great time to test is when you don’t need to worry about the consequences. Some of the suggestions mentioned above are good to consider. I like the idea of the 50 watt solar panel and controller maybe with a charged car battery. I also like the idea of the led lights and batteries instead of the candles. Candles are good if things go too long, but as your primary go-to for lighting is probably a bad idea.

    On the lack of guns in merry old England: Aren’t shotguns still available? Seems to me a good double barrel or even a single shot is better than no gun at all. A decent pump would be ideal. Again, I don’t know your laws, but take up some form of hunting or sport shooting and arm yourself and your wife appropriately. How about black powder weapons? Even a bow and arrows is better than no defensive weapon at all. Maybe you and your wife could take up archery. No matter which you end up with, guns or bows and arrows, practice, practice, practice. Just a few thoughts.

      1. Britain is the second largest economy in the EU. Germany, the largest economy in the EU is starting to tank. With Germany’s economy going south the EU desperately needs Britain’s economy to keep the EU afloat. No Britain, no EU. Britain has the upper hand.

        Britain’s economy will be just fine, US is proposing to ad Britain to the USMCA, the replacement for our NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. This makes Britain a part of our free trade zone. Alternatively, a proposed US/UK free trade agreement may also be in the works. No matter what UK will be just fine. Europe, on the other hand, TANKS. The EU needs Britain much more than Britain needs the EU.

        1. Britain’s Economy is AFAIK tanking for some time and it was at best good at milking the EU for Money , Germany’s economy is not in itself in Trouble the reason is the world is heading down to a recession

          Great Britain has so much the upper Hand, that it delayed the Brexit again and again

  26. Dear UK, my husband and I loved your article. First of all, prepping is a team sport. Both you and your wife will need to be involved and get into the spirit of this. It is simply not going to be possible to make it solo if you have problems in the UK. This past summer, I wrote an article called Build the Plan vs. Test the Plan in August for this website. Some of the comments made by folks who read my article were really super helpful. For example, my husband set up a nice rig of a tailgate hitch rack but then we set it up and pre-staged it. One of JWR’s nice readers mentioned that we might want to buy a nice cable and lock (so that our gas cans and water cans don’t get stolen if we stop). This is a great community even if some of the comments come from folks who are far ahead of your prepping – you are WAY ahead of some.

    Keep at it, add to your basic plan and your weekend test. Good luck. I made a whole food trunk with printed copies of recipes that I can make from non-perishable canned goods or dry products (rice for example). You might want to read JWR’s great book Patriots and perhaps consider storing some of your supplies totally out of visual sight. Thank you for your time writing this fun article.

  27. Mr. UK Prepper, waiting to test further until Easter is too late. You will want to gradually take one day per weekend and at least make more progress. One place to start, if real civil unrest happens in the UK, then you and your family may want to saddle up with another like minded family and pool resources and have some strength in numbers. This can also work for social purposes and prevent isolation and share ideas. If you can find someone with skills that complement yours, that’s better too. For example, medical (nurse or doctor) paired up with cooking, gardening (sounds like you have that), radio/communication skills and whatnot. This blog has some good previous articles on your “needed skill lists”.

    Good LUCK. You made the first hardest step.

  28. I have used solar powered yard lights to light my RV when boondocking. Outside to charge during the day, and inside at night. Just remember to put them out the next morning. They are so common here in the states that they would not be too noticable. Have extra rechargable batteries. Less then $5, and I have seen them for $1.50.
    Also, there are now recharable flashlights that work by squeezing or winding. I just shine them into a mirror.

  29. I have been retired for 20 years. I have camped/traveled with vans (sleeping on the floor), tents, motorhomes, trailers, even sleeping in the car (ok when I was young but not so much fun at my age now). I have never used candles. There are a zillion other options. I have used the simple Walmart yard lights with a PV panel and a rechargeable battery. Place it outdoors in the sun when camping or on the dash or next to a window to charge and to use it I have a simple holder above my head and it is sufficient to read. Why would I want a smelly, fire hazard candle when for $2 I can buy a light that can be recharged and used 1000 times before I need to replace the battery?

  30. Lots of good advice i wont repeat a lot of it. I would add for defense of home and family given your situation look to what the Romans had. Improvise a piece of metal sharpened to a short sword and add yourself a shield for defense of those cricket players. U might even work a knife on to a stick as a spear. For defense of your home look to lumber on the floor with nails sticking up. Lots of good options. When it comes to defending family there is no rules of engagement only win at all costs.

  31. Congratulations Culian, and well done.

    For heating, I suggest you may want to incorporate a dog to the nighttime sleeping arrangement when power is out.

    When a batchelor in Montana and temps started hitting below zero F, I appreciated my 20kg dog sleeping on the covers next to me.

    Best wishes, and I also recommend a shotgun.
    ….. with the suggestion of a double barrel rather than a pump (semiautomatic is far superior to either).

    For safety sake, I advise you do not put cut 12 gauge shells into a tubular magazine, and only use them by pushing them directly into the chamber of the barrel by hand. The shell casing is substantially weakened when modified in such a manner.

    YouTube videos showing effects of cut shells of bird shot on targets less than 25 feet away are very impressive.

    Regarding quick cooking versus slow cooking foods, a pressure cooking pot over your gas cooker is how the rest of the world cooks your rice. Except for stir fried rice which is a favorite method of mine.

    God bless

  32. Wow, Culian! Thank you for submitting your article. I think part of judging the success of a reader-contributed article ought to be the number of comments it generates. In that case, you’ve hit the jackpot! Look at all the helpful comments you’ve received, and that other beginning preppers can use as well. You’ve given us all lots of food for thought.

  33. Nice article, Culian.

    A late comment here. I missed reading Survivalblog the day this article was published. Due to the Southern California fires in progress, my power was turned off, and then I lost cable TV and internet service, so my generator did me no good, at least, in that respect.

    Culian’s advice is excellent. Try out your preps. I noticed that when I was dealing with the outages on Wednesday, some things did not work quite like I expected.

    I watched NatGeo’s program, “American Blackout,” when it aired about five years ago. I then found “Blackout.” This program is not to be confused with a PBS program of the same name. This “Blackout” was a Brit version, and predecessor version of “American Blackout” and it was no doubt a product of the same production company.

    What struck me most about “Blackout” was the comparative dearth of firearms when compared to “American Blackout.” Brits have a much more law-abiding population, and I expect that civility will last much longer than in the US. The human condition is the human condition, however, so if a calamity lasts long enough, the risk posed by people with bad intentions will occur as resources become more scarce. (Of course, this level of social upheaval, violence, and chaos is not likely to happen from a Brexit event.)

    Pellet guns will help, but it is my understanding that if a person is a hunter, permits for firearms can be granted in Britain. I am uncertain what ammunition is available there, but even bird shot is devastating at 20 feet. Beyond that, bird shot can be removed from a shotgun shell and replaced with loads of heavier shot. As one commenter suggested, cut shells can produce devastating effects, and they might fly under the radar of the local constabularies.

    I can only speculate since I haven’t actually tried one, but I expect that the cheap plastic flare guns used by boaters would make a serious weapon at 10-15 feet. I have to think that flare guns are legally possessed in Britain, given the number of boaters. A single-shot pistol is better than none, although a flare gun would obviously present a fire hazard if you missed your target indoors.

    Culian, you describe living arrangements in Britain as being very similar to condo or apartment living here. That is not a sustainable arrangement in the long term should a really serious catastrophe take place. The best I can tell you is to store water filters and much more food, and then to hope for relief.

    Culian, you mentioned that one-third of Britons had stored three months of food. That is far, far better than the situation in America. There’s a reason why preparedness authorities here say that we are “only nine meals away from a riot.”

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