Standing in your kitchen after a disaster can be very demoralizing. What was once the center of food prep and industry in your home, now lies silent and inactive due to a lack of electricity, gas, and/or water. But just because your utilities are now out of service, doesn’t mean they’re totally useless.

The average American kitchen can be rebooted and revitalized in many unexpected ways, should a storm or some other calamity cut off your power and water. Implement these five off-the-wall survival hacks, and your post-disaster kitchen won’t seem useless after all.

1. Microwave Faraday Cage
If the idea of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, wiping out your electronics has you down, take heart in the fact that you already own an electronics protecting Faraday cage, and it’s in your kitchen. Your microwave oven is designed to block the energy moving around inside it. As a result, it is believed by many experts to act as a poor man’s EMP shield, also known as a Faraday cage. If your microwave is out of service, place your walkie talkies, emergency radios, and other electronics in there and hope for the best. No guarantees on this one, but no harm either.

2. Dishwasher Hot Box Cooker
The hot box cooker concept involves placing a heated cooking vessel of food into an insulated container. This can be done by filling your already insulated dishwasher with more insulation, then sticking the hot cook pot in there too. This cocoon of heat-retaining insulation causes causes the standard pot to act like a crock pot.

3. Fridge Pest Bunker
The seals on your refrigerator and freezer are good at keeping the cold in, but can be equally effective at keeping pests out. An empty fridge makes a great roach-proof and rodent-proof vault for your dry food and other supplies. There’s plenty of room, and the shelves will even allow you to organize your things.

4. Oven Smoker
Drag your defunct stove out into the yard and place a pan of hot coals in the bottom. Meats and fish can then be set on the racks and slow smoked for flavor and longer storage. Use damp wood chips on top of your coals for a smokier flavor. If you’re using a hot smoke technique, replace the coals often to maintain enough heat to cook the meats.

5. Toe-Kick Safe
The toe kick area under the average kitchen base cabinet is completely hollow. Remove the long strip of decorative plywood that usually runs beneath several cabinets. Remove the particle board front of the cabinet’s built-in toe kick surface, and this opens up a large and unexpected space under the cabinet for anything valuable. Replace the decorative toe kick cover piece and no-one will be the wiser. Every base cabinet made today has a large cavity between the cabinet floor and the kitchen floor. Why not use it?

Tell us how you’d hack your kitchen to make it work again in the wake of disaster by leaving a comment.