When envisioning a worst case scenario they’re trying to prepare for, every prepper can point to the situation in Venezuela. In the midst of a hyperinflationary crisis, crumbling infrastructure, and two men competing for leadership of the country, things couldn’t get more fractured. But what made an already bad situation even worse was a week-long power outage that affected nearly the entire country.
With 80% of the country’s electricity being produced by a single hydroelectric dam, the failure of that dam’s power generation plunged the country into darkness. Whether it was the result of systemic failure to maintain the dam and the power grid as the opposition claims, or whether it was the result of US sabotage as President Maduro claims, the result was an absolute nightmare for the Venezuelan people.
The power outage came with no warning in the middle of the evening rush hour, immediately darkening the country. And as the outage continued day after day, patients died in hospitals and food began to spoil without refrigeration. Widespread looting emptied store shelves and the security situation deteriorated.
While power has slowly started to be restored now, it will take a long time for most people to recover from such a massive outage. Here are a few takeaways that can help preppers prepare for a similar situation.
1. Be Able to Create Your Own Electricity
When power goes down and you don’t know how long you’ll be without it, you need to be able to create your own electricity. Whether that’s solar chargers for handheld electronics, solar panels on your house, or a generator, being able to create your own power can put you ahead of the game.
2. Have Plenty of Water on Hand
Many households in Venezuela were reliant on electric pumps for their drinking water. No electricity meant no tap water, forcing people to rely on streams and other natural sources of water. Make sure to have at least a two- to three-week supply of water on hand, with one gallon of water per day for each person in your household.
3. Have a Supply of Emergency Food
Store shelves were quickly denuded of supplies, and anyone venturing out risked getting caught up with gangs of looters. Make sure that you have at least a few weeks of food in your pantry so that you can eat well before having to dip into your long-term survival stores.
4. Stay Indoors
With looters and thieves out on the prowl, anyone going outdoors is at risk of being robbed. Be safe, protect yourself and your family, and don’t leave the house unless it’s an absolute emergency.
5. Things Won’t Necessarily Deteriorate Immediately
We read all the time about how society is 72 hours away from chaos due to store shelves clearing and most people not having food on hand. Yet after a week without power, with little water, and with spoiling food, Venezuela still managed to keep things together. Perhaps most households are so used to going without by now that they have more supplies stashed away than most Americans do just to prepare against situations like this. Whatever the reason, Venezuela didn’t completely fall apart as we might have expected.
It will be interesting to hear the after action reports from those who survived the blackout and who can pass on useful lessons on how they were able to get buy. And let’s hope that nothing like that ever happens in this country.