Sarah Sheard's Thoughts and Theories

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Unusual storm prep advice

From my sister: how to prepare for the upcoming huge storm:


As someone who experienced ELEVEN DAYS without electricity this summer after the derecho hit us in Athens, Ohio, I decided this morning to share what I learned for all my friends facing "Frankenstorm." See the first few comments, below. Here are some weather maps of that historic derecho: http://vielmetti.typepad.com/vacuum/2012/06/derecho-of-june-29-2012.html

(1) Generators need fuel. If you don't have a large propane tank and rely instead on gasoline, you're sunk because gas stations run out of fuel and even when they have fuel, you have to wait in line for a very long time. Sometimes people fight over gas.

(2) Keeping food cool in a cooler works much better if you put the cooler in a bathtub and cover it with all the sleeping bags and extra blankets you have in the house. Once the stores reopen, ice will sell out quickly. Sometimes people fight over ice.

(3) If you get the super idea of buying popsicles instead of ice to keep your food cool in the cooler, be prepared for the colors of the popsicles to leak all over your eggs. Voila! Instead Easter eggs! But remember you haven't hard boiled your eggs yet.

(4) Water companies can't pipe water to your home unless they have electricity. And even if a water company has electricity generators, it can't generate electricity without fuel. So, you might not have water. If you only have one bathtub in the house, forget using it for the cooler and fill it with water instead. Fill other containers, too. Garbage cans? Storage tubs?

(5) Latrines. Flushing toilets takes lots of water. So, if your water company has run out of generator fuel, dig a hole in the ground. Really. If you live in an apartment complex, work cooperately to create a latrine lfor everyone to use. Make separate latrines for number one and number two.....the number two one should be deeper. If you don't like stink, buy some hydrated lime from a garden store or agricultural store and pour a cup of the powder after each poo. The hydrated lime works wonders. You'll earn gobs of pioneer credit for digging a latrine. About the seat of your latrine: remove the seat of your own toilet and use it outside between two concrete blocks. Works well.

(6) If you want hot water, having 200 feet of black hose curled up on a sunny day will make all the difference, provided your water company hasn't run out of fuel for its generator. The only issue will be what time of day the water (A) will be hot, and (B) won't be too hot. You'll earn super, special "solar pioneer" credit for this one.

 (7) Chain saws [that run on gas] come in very handy after a storm involving lots of wind. Buy one if you still see them on the shelves of your over-populated neighborhood big-box store today, and either resolve to loan it out to experienced folks or learn all you can about using them, quickly, now, today. Get gas and oil for your new chainsaw, too. Get work gloves. Any downed trees you cut up can be used for fuel. 

(8) Cars don't run without fuel. So, be prepared to stay put. Build community right where you are. Invite others over. Organize a neighborhood gathering. Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Try stone soup.

(9) Once laundromats re-open, they will be full. Very full. That's because commercial areas are prioritized in the "get power back up" triage system of the electric company. Rather than fight the laundromat crowds, wear your clothes twice or more times. Also, if you have water, figure out how to wash your clothes by hand and hang them to dry. You'll earn more pioneer credits. (Note for future: next time you move, consider buying house on the same power sub-grid with hospital or commercial area.)

(10) If you like this advice, print it now. Also, print out instructions now for purifying water to drink, and print out any other emergency-related instructions you can find. Before the next store, buy a boy scout book or girl scout book or other book about how to survive in the wilderness. Why? Because without electricity and pumped water, we're all back to wilderness square one.

I wish all of you in the storm's projected path, from the East Coast to the Great Lakes, the very best. Please be safe, be prepared, and find joy in helping those less fortunate than you.

Sincerely,
Wenda

P.S. Too late to buy now, but a must for everyone later: Wind-up contraptions that serve one or more of the following functions: flashlight, radio, emergency weather radio, cell phone charger, camera charger, etc.



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