InStove for Disaster Preparedness

Community Preparedness StoveA volunteer cooks over 500 ears of corn at the Port Townsend All County Preparedness Picnic, which focused on community-level preparedness.

Cookstoves and Resilience

When many think of “emergency preparedness,” first-aid kits, stored water, and canned goods come to mind. But being prepared is about more than food and water security: it's about energy security. When a disaster hits and the lights go off, how do you heat your food (canned or re-hydrated)? When you run out of water, how will you boil (or better yet, pasteurize) more to make it safe? What if the disaster lasts weeks, months, or longer—how will you meet your basic needs?

The answer is: with fire. It’s a practice as old as time, but when infrastructure fails, it’s what we return to. Fortunately for Oregon, the use of fire in improved cookstoves has been elevated to an art, a science, and a global mission by many local non-profit organizations dedicated to cookstove research. One of those, InStove InStove (www.instove.org/our-mission), builds efficient, large-sized stoves that run on small amounts of small wood (fuel that is always available in a disaster) that can cook for hundreds of people on an amount of wood equivalent to a stack of pencils and rulers. These multi-use stoves can also be utilized to make hundreds of gallons contaminated water into safe drinking water, to sterilize medical supplies and waste, and for agricultural processes like chicken de-feathering, greenhouse heating, high-capacity canning, and even beer brewing (hey, it’s Oregon—just because there’s a disaster doesn’t mean we need to stop enjoying microbrew).

We have been deploying stoves to the developing world since 2007, but this year, we’re growing our work domestically with public-, private-, and civic-sector partners. If you are interested in making yourself, your family, and your community more resilient in the event of a disaster, please let us know at info@instove.org, learn more about our stoves here, or place an order here.