The powers back on, everyone's ok, no major damage and one hell of a mess to clean up around the homestead. That said I figured I'd take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons learned in this storm.... Summary:
My prepping strategy has been focused on the long game: debt elimination, permaculuture, homesteading type stuff. I was WAY better off then a lot of the people around me, the major lesson I learned is not to let political or personal philosophy interfere with my practical every day preps.
I've been listening to TSP since 2008, consider myself a prepper, and I have only skipped a handful of episodes. Some of you are going to say "well duh" but I'm posting this here so maybe others can avoid over thinking themselves into these kind of mistakes.Some Lessons:
1.) Have Generator and Gas
Preps. I had been avoiding this investment because frankly I can't decide on a realistic budget and list of requirements.
I know I won't be particularly good at fuel rotation... gas goes bad on me and small engines are a lot of upkeep, this has caused me to lean towards leveraging the propane I already have on site for heating and cooking. This has me looking at full house generator units with automatic cut over... any peppers wet dream... but dreams have price tags.
I justified not having a small generator by having ample firewood and other preparations that mitigate danger
. In my lust for the perfect long term solution, and in trying to avoid yet another homestead maintenance routine, I ended up cutting off my nose to spite my face.
You don't need
a generator... but there is a good chance you need gas.... You probably want
a generator.... If your avoiding a generator just because of fuel upkeep, maintenance... Look, you ultimately can survive in the stone ages, but volunteering yourself, spouse, and family for that isn't prepping. (Just turn the lights off if you want a night by the fire with your favorite people)
2.) My scanner was the best prep I had on hand. In the wake of sandy there was a mild dose of insanity. Crazy gas lines led small outbreaks of violence over fuel scarcity. These weren't roving hordes of raiders.... These were desperate people exchanging angry words, getting into fist fights, and an over zealous gun owner shooting someone over a place near the end of a gas line. I have yet to hear about ANY of this in the news but there are damn good reasons why the national guard and local police are stationed at the gas stations enforcing fuel rations.
The news just isn't going to report things like this because it will only make the mobs of people fighting over fuel bigger and harder to manage. Even though many local PD's have switched to encrypted radios, the scanner is the difference between having situational awareness and getting yourself in trouble.
Get a scanner and learn how to use it.... program it with every local frequency you can find... even power companies and dpw's.
3.) 4 is 1, 3 is none. Test everything because these are some "duh" things I didn't want to learn during a hurricane:
- 3 of the cheaper stashed flashlights broke upon trying to get some new batteries in them.
- The new and amazing stove we just had installed had a "Safety" feature that shuts off the gas when power isn't applied to the stove. (this came as a complete surprise and could not be safely overridden)
- The propane grill (back up cooking plan #1) wasn't burning efficiently just after the storm
- The backup camp stove works great... (when its not raining outside)
4.) You absolutely need to have an emergency plan/protocol if for no-one else for your loved ones. When Jack talked about this I was like, "hey we're smart and we all know what to do"....
Until I was running around checking downspouts, rounding up flashlights, making sure phones are charged, I just didn't appreciate a CHECKLIST that includes the most OBVIOUS things. Like...
- "hey power may go out, lets use paper plates with dinner and keep the house as clean as possible in case running water is an issue"
- "lets fill up our gas tanks before the storm so we all have less to worry about"
- "lets bring the bug out bags inside"
- "lets dig out the camp stove in case we can't use our other stuff"
4.) The desperate people doing desperate things wasn't as bad out here in the rural areas but desperate people started pouring into this area much faster then expected.. People were using social media tools to locate and bounce on available resources, my rural gas stations 14 miles from a major highway was out fuel just as fast as the rest...
5.) Nobody was busting down doors taking stuff, but the last place you wanted to be was anywhere but home. Most peoples emergency plan is to bug out to wallmart and go fight over the last box of Twinkies... Best to already have what you need....Wrap Up:
In the end...We all did know what to do, we where fine. It was just another storm and we're all alive to see the next.
Now I know that Generators and Solar grids fill very different prepper niches, preferring one over the other is a good way to get burned because you don't choose your disaster. A bird in the hand is worth three in the ...... and all that jazz.