cooking in apt without electricity

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by MaryV, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. MaryV

    MaryV Well-Known Member

    I live in an apt. when the power goes out I cant cook. what can I do?
    homehardware has butane stove and you buy this butane fuel in a canister, but I was told they arent safe to have in apt bldgs. does anyone know? and if I cant use that, what can i use?
  2. dukman

    dukman Greenhorn

    Butane and Propane both put off CO (Carbon Monoxide), which can lead to sleepiness, then death via suffocation. If SHTF, I would consider cooking with it indoors, but with the windows wide open at both ends. If you have a balcony, that would be better yet.

  3. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    Get a catering stove. Runs off butane and it's fine for kitchen and buffet service.

    Iwatani makes several good models.

  4. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member


    In the grand scheme of things... running a propane campstove in your kitchen to cook small meals isn't going to fill your apartment with CO to the point of a health risk. If you plan to keep the fuel-stove going for a while (you really shouldn't need to run it that long to prep food), crack open a window for a minute.

    However, I would caution against trying to heat the living space with a propane heater... cooking a stew and heating an apartment are two totally different things. Same goes with using a barbeque indoors... it burns a lot more fuel and produces more CO in a shorter timeframe than a 'coleman' camp stove.

    Having used propane and kerosene heaters in a garage in the winter... the key is circulating some fresh air, not running them too long, and paying attention to your body. Running the kerosene heater, and climbing under a car to do work on it, you would eventually feel yourself get a little light-headed. Heater gets turned off, and the door gets opened for a minute to give a quick shot of fresh air... and then everything is fine.
  5. If you have access to sunshine, you may want to consider a solar oven. It not only cooks things wonderfully, but it can also be used to pasteurize water. It also bakes bread, cookies, cooks meats, and everything else I can think of just fine and dandy.
  6. vic2367

    vic2367 Member

    if its just you in the apt how bout a small alchol stove ?

  7. GatorDude

    GatorDude Well-Known Member

    My first impulse would be a hibachi out on the patio. But, then I thought it might be a tad cold up in Ontario. What about a fondue pot and cans of sterno?
  8. LittleFire

    LittleFire Well-Known Member

    When we had the ice storm of 1998, I had access to my barbecue outside, but to warm up some soup, I used my fondue pot and it worked well!
  9. Old Sarge

    Old Sarge Member

    A Sterno stove works wonders as well.
  10. rainygardener

    rainygardener Member

    Do you have an outside balcony or porch. I'd do it out side. I have a small butane burner stove. I have also used the gas grill burner outside to cook when the electricity was out.
  11. GewehrWolf

    GewehrWolf Member

    For someone in an apartment setting I would think the little catering stove would be just the ticket. They are made for indoor use and even though they use Butane they are safe unless you plan to do your cooking inside a sealed up closet.

    Just an FYI FWIW. If you have a GOOD CO detector you will be that much better off and maybe put your mind to rest about using the gas.
  12. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    The carbon monoxide detector won't work without electricity.
  13. GewehrWolf

    GewehrWolf Member

    I was counting on the battery backup to be working. ;)
  14. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Our CO detector, actually 3, run strictly on batteries. We have 1 on each floor of the house. With a wood furnace as our only heat source we like to make sure this area is well covered.
  15. mtnmom

    mtnmom Active Member

    If you will be using any kind of a wood stove for heating purposes, your cooking is taken care of.

    Any wood stove with a flat top can be used for cooking, heating big containers of water for bathing , laundry, etc.

    All survival plans should include a wood stove - even if you live in a restricted area. There is nothing they will or can do when things get that bad about you using it.:)
  16. mrghostwalker

    mrghostwalker Well-Known Member

    I've actually had pretty good luck running a two burner Coleman stove on straight alcohol. I used the older style with the red tank that you have to pump up the pressure. I didn't make any modifications to it either.
  17. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

    Gator Dudes right a sterno can is a good idea. I have a minimalist Whisperlite and also a Primus gas stove. In 4 minutes they will have 12oz of water boiling. That wont give off much CO.
  18. jebrown

    jebrown jebrown

    I went without a gas stove in my kitchen for three months in the winter of 2007. Stove went out and no money for a new one. I had to save a little each month to buy a new ione.
    I set up a two burner Coleman gas stove in the space for a regular stove.
    The vent hood was above it but the fan doesn't work. The CO coming off of the burner is at least warmer than the room air so it will rise and go out tne vent. 100%, no, so a way of bringing fresh air in from outside is necessary. A window or door or one of each will do. you just need a little breeze to clear out the CO you don't need a window or door open all the way in the winter. Your goal is to ocook food not freeze your *** off.
    Remember millions of people cook on natural gas stoves everyday in their kitchens. Yes, many have vents but some are like mine where the fan doesn't work.
    An additional benefit is while you are cooking is the stove heats the house some what too. This was great as it was winter. It is not a good idea to use a portable cook stove to heat your house.
    As with anything that provides an open flame use common sense.
    Having a good fire extinguisher neaarby and knowing how to use it is also a good idea whether it is from a power outage or every day cooking.
    Working smoke and Co alarms are great too and both can be bought that run off of batteries. I check them once a month and change the batteries once a year. The best time for this is either when you go on or off of day lights savings time.
    I have been a disaster specialist for 32 years now, 22 with the Red Cross.
    I have seenmore than one house fire caused by a malfunctioning electric kitchen stove.
    Cooking outside is a good idea too and it can be a lot of fun. Just keep in mind that the colder it is outside the more fuel you will use no matter what kind of fuel you are using.
    No matter what kind of stove you decide on, do some trial runs before you have to use it to learn it's ins and outs. It is also a good idea to make sure that your stove is level so what ever cooking vessel you are using doesn't slide off of it.
    I hope I have given you some things to think about.

  19. james_black

    james_black Active Member


    I'm gonna sound like a dumb *** but where do you go and learn or become a disaster specialist? That sounds like a career goal for a guy like me how is always interested in this subject. Please let me know how did adquire your title. Thanks in advance.
  20. jebrown

    jebrown jebrown

    The best way to accomplish your goal is to sign up as a volunteer with the Red Cross.
    I was a disater volunteer with them from 1978 until 2000. Last August started my 32nd year in disaster work I also was an In structor trainer for them in First aid and C.P.R. I taught classes for those wishing to become a disater volunteer. I worked as a professioinal cook which helped me to work in Mass Care and Feeding as well as Shelter Operations. I also have 15 years construction experience as well as a A.S. degree in Fire Science. I am also a graduate from classes of the Califonia State Fire Marshal Fire Prevention program. This helped me with Damage Assesment.
    I do Disaster consulting over the internet as well as Senior Disastor Advisor for 119 businesses. I either write or review disaster plans for buinesses afrer touring their facility then sitting down with them to discuss there needs and advise them on needed preparations.
    If you are serious and want to get into this field, then you need to work at it like a second job. Be on call for the Red Cross as often as possible. Be agressive in your volunteering. Attend evry class offered even if it is not one that find interesting. Talk to the person in charge of volunteers and offer to become an instuctor. They will advise you on what is necessary to become an instructor. Take on any and all projects that arise. If it didn't conflict with my job I was there. I didn't wait to be called, I went to them. If you sign on to do assistance for house fire victims monitor obtain a scanner and monitor the Fire Deparment Channel as well as the local police and sherrif deparments.
    Read all that you can and soon you will be able to tell the difference from the authors who have real life disaster experience an those who read a couple of books and then wrote one of their own.
    There are a lot good books out there.
    Scour the websites of FEMA, Red Cross, Ready.Gov, Department of HOmeland Security, Center for Disease Control
    Contact your loccal Emergency Management director for the city and/or County. See if the utilize volunteers. Check with the local Fire Chief to see if there is Citizens meergncy Respnse Team (CERT). Their website is If there isn't a local team, they can advise you on how to start one.
    There is something I can not emphasize enough. Talk with disaster victims and find out what they encountered. Listen to what they have to say. This is the best way to learn as they will tell you what they did or didn't do to be prepared, what works and what doesns't. Beleive me they will have great insight into what needs to be changed or implemented.
    Once they realize that you are interested in improving the situations today and in the future they will open up and provide you with a wealth of
    I hope all of this helps.
    If you have any more questions fell free to contact me.