Roamy here. I ran across this emergency preparedness plan today (it’s an Acrobat pdf file). Thursday was the six-month anniversary of the tornadoes that decimated Tuscaloosa, Hackleburg, and other cities across the South. The main transmission lines from the local power plant were destroyed by the tornadoes, leaving most of north Alabama without power. The longest power interruption I’d had before April was 36 hours. This time it was a week.
First, I will admit that we bailed and left town to spend a few days with my dad and stepmom, more from boredom and school being closed than any real need to get out of Dodge. Another spring break, if you will, but one where we had to plan our route out of town for the least number of dead traffic light intersections. There were morons who didn’t understand that becomes a four-way stop.
Second, this really showed me where I went right and wrong being prepared. We have a small generator, and the house is hard-wired to run fridge, freezer, and lights, but not HVAC off of it. We had enough gasoline to run it frugally, where we might run it for one hour out of 6 – 8 hours, enough to keep the food cold. We have a gas stove, so cooking was no problem; in fact, we loaned our gas grill to a neighbor who couldn’t get charcoal for his regular grill. We were glad we didn’t have to deal with the long lines at the grocery stores and driving an hour or more to find gas. We had plenty of food, clothes, blankets, cash (ATMs were dead, too, and few were taking credit cards), flashlights, batteries for the flashlights and a radio. We had a regular non-cordless phone on a land line, so family and friends knew we were okay.
Where I went wrong – water. The utilities were knocked out, too, and were running on generators. I scurried around, filling all my large pots with water, but what if there had been no warning? As it was, they were able to keep the water processing plants on line, but no one was sure of that in the early days.
Also where I went wrong – not being ready to bug out faster. This is probably more important in CA because of earthquakes or the coast because of hurricanes, but this has made me take a harder look at being ready.
While we had enough batteries for a while, once things settled down, I bought a couple of crank-type flashlights and am looking for a crank radio.
And this is silly, but I had only two chem-lights. Without any lights at all and a new moon, it was DARK. I woke up one night, opened my eyes, closed them, and couldn’t tell the difference. Rather than worrying about a burning candle, we used a chem-light as a nightlight for the kids (okay, and me, too).
Your thoughts on being prepared? What item were you grateful you had or were sorely missing?