DISCOVERY Channel viewers may be familiar with Ed Stafford as an explorer of the great wide world. He holds the Guinness World Record for being the first human to walk the length of the Amazon River and usually hosts programs where he shows what it’s like to survive out in the wilderness such as “Marooned with Ed Stafford,” “Ed Stafford: Into the Unknown,” and “Walking the Amazon,” among others.
Unlike Stafford, most people will likely not have to experience what it’s like to survive extreme conditions in isolated terrains. Nevertheless, there are times when people living in urban areas will have to deal with the loss of electricity and running water in the event of a blackout.
So what can regular folks do to endure temporarily living off the grid? Below are a few city survival tips on how to hold out in the city without the usual convenience of electricity.
Prioritize your essentials
Know what you can and cannot live without. For some people, it could be a personal gadget, while others would prioritize non-digital tools for everyday use. Your next steps will be based on what you identify as the most important things to secure while living without electricity.
Find an alternative water source
No electricity could mean no running water, and using bottled water is just not a sustainable option. If there’s a well or a relatively clean body of water nearby, be resourceful and gather what you can back home.
It’s important to remember that only properly disinfected water can be used for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, and body use (e.g. hand washing and brushing teeth) to avoid contracting diseases. Fortunately, there are different methods to disinfecting and purifying water that can easily be done at home to make it potable and safe for human use. A common and easy method is boiling water or using a portable water filter. Other methods can be treated like a home science project with adult supervision. One includes the use of disinfectants, such as bleach, iodine, and chlorine, and another makes use of the distillation method, where water is boiled and its vapor is collected when condensed.
Light the way
Without electricity, nights will be a lot darker. Good thing there are simple remedies to answer this problem. The simplest way to light up a house without electricity would be to use candles, flashlights, and oil lamps so make sure to have a good stock in case of emergencies.
It’s also possible to make your own light source without the use of batteries or flames. This can also be treated as a mini science project since you’ll be working with water, two teaspoons of salt, and a magnet to make an LED light bulb light up. Similarly, a flashlight can also be tinkered with to work with water and salt. This is a relatively safe home project but it would still be best to have adult supervision if kids want to give it a try.
To cook or not to cook
Cooking without electricity won’t be a problem if you have a stove, a grill, a fire pit, or any place where you can safely start a fire for cooking. If none of the previous options are available, it would be better to have food that doesn’t require cooking over a fire or a lot of preparation like canned goods, bottled food, and dried fruits.
If the blackout continues longer than expected, rationing food would be a smart way to make supplies last before needing to go out and replenish your stock. Cutting up your food and setting the pieces aside for a scheduled time is one way. Another method is called “super chewing” where one bite of food is chewed at least 32 times up to a hundred to break it down more thoroughly and get more nutrients out of the food.
Maintain personal hygiene
For areas without running water, a shower is out of the question. However, there’s still the trusty old timba and tabo to help you. If saving water is a priority, daily showers can be skipped in place of a wipe down until the second or third day – depending on how clean you feel – and take a shower then.
You don’t have to go out into the great outdoors to be a survivalist like Stafford. Just adding a little bit of fun in unexpected situations can make it into an adventure. See just how the British legend himself does it by catching the second season of “Ed Stafford: First Man Out” premiering on May 5, 8:10 p.m. on Discovery Channel (Sky Cable CH 39 / Cignal TV CH 140 / Destiny Cable CH 56).