People usually think I’m crazy for being a prepper – I’m not an extreme prepper like you see on T.V. – but I believe that there are some essentials one needs to always have on hand. I always have at least two cases of bottled water on hand and even though I don’t own a water cooler – we keep a few 5 gallon jugs of water on hand. My emergency first aide kit is always stocked and I tend to hoard candles – not many of the expensive ones but the ones you can get for a a few dollars for the pack. I also believe that everyone should keep sufficient food supplies – I keep a stock of canned goods and non-perishable goods. I do all of this just in case – because you never know.
Last week my part of the country was hit by Hurricane Sandy – this was one of my “you never know” moments. Several of our team members, myself included, were affected by this hurricane – suffering loss of power, heat and even destruction of personal property. I think I was one of the more fortunate that only lost power and heat. Hurricane Sandy was followed by a Nor’ester this week, adding insult to injury.
It’s in times such as these that I start to consider things like, what would we all do if we suddenly loss power permanently or our society just broke down due to devastation. How would we survive?
In the week that I was without electricity, I still relied heavily on my cell phone to communicate with my family who live in other towns and keep everyone up to date on my status on Facebook – letting them know we were ok. Even though my service was very much hit or miss, I was still able to communicate and work – I work from home by day as an Instructional Designer.
I also had the issue of the food in my fridge in the kitchen and freezer in the basement – luckily I tend to be a bit of a nerd when it comes to finding ways to make things work and I remembered powering some tools a very long time ago with an inverter and a battery – I had done a bit of research way before the Hurricane on powering a fridge with this very same system. Turns out that you can power a fridge with a 750 watt inverter and a marine deep cell battery.
A gas stove is also an invaluable asset, I’m all for natural gas. Even though my pilot was not working the flick of a match got my stove working and I was able to feed my family and boil water for quick bathes. We also burned lots of candles – guess my candle hoarding paid off – something that everyone in the house seemed to enjoy even the pups who cuddled by the best smelling candles in the house.
However, I can honestly say that my biggest and best investment was, as Karen Lee put it, a behemoth of a generator – which I ended up having to repurchase in the middle of the storm. I was able to get the generator rigged so it would power my entire house for a few hours and my girls could have heat and some electricity. The girls became energy conservationists once we got the generator running – they went around the house unplugging anything that we did not need to use and cuddling up in the living room candles still lit. Our generator ran for about 13 hours between gas fill-ups and everyone in the house was grateful for something as simple as a quick hot shower.
I know that there are still many out there who are displaced and have lost everything, so I know that no matter how prepared you are you can’t always prepare for total loss. In my town – Milford, CT – people just 1/2 a mile from my home loss their entire homes – several being swept away to sea. Everyone is in recovery mode right now and I hope that things get back to some semblance of normality soon for all of those who were displaced.
FEMA is currently accepting applications for assistance by those who suffered loss, but if you are looking for a way to help, visit the FEMA website http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy-donate-and-volunteer and learn how you can donate and volunteer to help those in need at this time. Local food banks in areas devastated are in need of food donations and with Thanksgiving on heels there are many families who will not have the Thanksgiving celebration they may have been planning – but food banks and local soup kitchens will help to make sure families can at least have a Thanksgiving meal.
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