Regardless of whether you believe an apocalypse is imminent or that you should just prepare for the worst but hope for the best, planning is the key to retaining your sanity. The likelihood of our whole society unravelling within our own lifetimes may be small, but there are plenty of other events that are “not quite an apocalypse but still worth preparing for”.

What do earthquakes, tornados and blizzards all have in common?

They cause power outages!

I don’t know how reliable the electrical system is in your town or city, but ours goes out at least every second month. Sometimes it is out for a just few minutes but last year there was one outage that lasted 6 hours. That’s long enough to start worrying about the furnace and the food in the fridge. But at least the garage door will still open.

The key to keeping the lights on during a power outage is of course a generator.

Don’t run to Home Depot and find one just yet – first you have to decide what you want to keep running while the neighbourhood is dark. Generators are sized based on the amount of power (in Watts) that they can deliver when things are starting and when they are running.

Using the handy online calculator from Honda here is a list of things that I want to keep running:


Once you make your own list and come up with your starting and running wattage requirements then you can take that trip and pick up a generator. Or use Amazon’s generator finder to choose an appropriate model. In my case there are over 60 portable generators like this one that will work.

Of course to truly prepare for long term power loss during an apocalypse you could follow my Dad’s advice: buy a 20,000 Watt natural gas standby generator and have an electrician connect it to the house wiring through a transfer switch. This option costs at least ten times as much, and personally I’ve got plenty of other power tools I still need to buy instead. I’m preparing for the smaller natural disasters, and I guess during an apocalypse we’ll be driving up to stay with my Dad.

One last thing to keep in mind: gasoline. During a power outage, and especially during an apocalypse, the gas stations can’t pump any gas. So make sure you pick up at least a couple of large gas cans, fill them with gas and add gas stabilizer so that they will be ready when needed.

When the power goes out and the neighbours come knocking: let them in, but make sure they bring beer.

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