You know the feeling, and it's a bad one. Suddenly everything in the house goes silent and dark. Power's out. You run outside to see if it's just you, and check your breaker box. Meanwhile you're wondering: How long is it going to be out? A few minutes is one thing. A few hours, even. But if you're without electric for days on end — or longer — the throwback appeal of reading by candlelight quickly loses its charm.

Communication: Our preferred portable radio is the BeoFeng BF-F8HP 8-watt two-way radio. You don’t need a Ham license to listen to local emergency services and broadcast when SHTF — see our beginners guide to amateur radio. We like this signal mirror instead of the cheap acrylic ones that scratch and fade quickly. Also, try these tiny whistles and signal flare kit.
After 9/11, my dad filled a duffel bag with some energy bars, a couple gallons of water, some penicillin, and a map. Amid scaremongering headlines about imminent anthrax and “dirty bomb” attacks in the city, he wanted to have some supplies on hand in case we needed to get out of Brooklyn fast. Were he to assemble such a bag today, he’d likely stumble on a number of companies promising a more wholesale brand of disaster preparedness: a box full of shelf-stable freeze-dried meals, to be revived from their dessicated state with the addition of boiled water.
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