People across the country are getting more and more concerned about some strange and some viable bad things that might result in near apocalyptic living. So for this piece we will keep it short and sweet.
Let’s take a simple but highly-effective nuclear EMP (electronic magnetic pulse) attack. Done right, it will shut down most everything with any electronic stuff as a component. Within a few seconds our country and you could be sent back to the life style of the 1500s. You will get one last toilet flush, no running water, no lights, heat, transportation, generators will not run, planes will fall from the sky, motorized vehicles will stop in place no longer running, anything electronic in a hospital will stop and little if anything else will work with the exception of certain military vehicles that have been hardened against nuclear weapon or sun caused EMP effects.
Planning for this or other equally bad sounding survival situations (like the Internet shut down recently discussed in this blog) is a big deal nowadays. Survivalists, preppers and just regular folks are storing a bit more or lots more food, water, ammo., guns, gold, silver or whatever. Survival and prepper planning, some is pretty mindless) can be researched and studied on line or even viewed in various TV reality and survival shows or on newsstand publications, etc.
Okay, then there are the more common short term crisis situations such as blizzards, hurricanes or floods, etc. where your utilities can be knocked out of service for a week or so? What will you do?
The humble BBQ grill may become your best or certainly a darned good friend. You will have to cook or heat food effectively and maybe even keep warm. Let’s begin with the basics. A propane BBQ, even a smaller portable unit used wisely and safely can provide an excellent source of heat for cooking or used to simply heat food. Before we leave this part, use a little commons sense, open the damn can before you heat it up–unless you like pork and bean high explosive grenades!
Danger first. If you use a grill or any other add on unit in your house for heat or cooking–you can be killed. You must keep positive outside or fresh air ventilation in your house or the burning flame. A gas stove left on in a closed up apartment will generate enough carbon monoxide and oxygen deprivation to kill anyone in the facility. So do not be stupid it is not really smart to bring any barbecue grill into a room–some will, so for them, keep it near an open window (without curtains).
Now for the solution to our food heating problem. Used wisely, a 15-20 pound propane tank will give you up to 6 weeks of daily food heating capability should you be in the hostile hands of a long term catastrophe. Smaller grills of the apartment balcony size will run for a week or two to heat meals using small portable cooker propane bottles.
The keys to your planning is how long you expect the effects of your particular situation to last, how much fuel you have and how are you going to use it. Short term use to grill up some steaks and other normal BBQ/grilling food will have the grill gong out of fuel fairly fast compared to heating (opened) cans of food. Well, no duh!
For long term use, heating up a couple cans of beans, chili, canned Italian food or heating some Spam, will take little time or fuel. Remember canned foods in the grocery store are already cooked, you just may wish to heat them up and the grill can do that very easily (Do we need to remind you again, open the can first?).
For long term planning, it is prudent to have several propane bottles held in reserve to keep you going for a few months. Keep them clean and protected (garbage bags work pretty good). Obviously an apartment dweller in New York City cannot prepare like a homeowner in Wyoming, but you may try.
In our previous mentioned civilization changing apocalyptic scenario, once your propane runs out, and it will, and you cannot beg, trade, steal or kill for more propane, you then still have a great wood grill. Yup, the old propane grill will burn wood (your neighbor’s fence) and will provide you for a pretty decent outside cooking surface for some time to come.
For now and the inconvenient temporary disaster that might befall you, a propane grill is a serious piece of survival equipment you might consider for when the lights really go out-and don’t forget some extra fuel if you can store it safely.