Another round of strong storms hit the northeast this week, causing havoc including a potential tornado touchdown, flipping over cars in a South Jersey mall parking lot.
Here in northern Maryland, we lost power for about 14 hours and while it wasn’t the worst power outage I’ve lived through – we realized that we still need to do better.
Today, I wanted to go through things that were done right, and things that we did wrong, in spite of being preppers and trying to be prepared.
What Went Right
Candles and flashlights are set in strategic locations and are ready for situations like this. SurvivalWife loves having candles around anyway – so this is an easy way to be prepared for a short power outage situation.
We were lucky in that the temperature cooperated with us and it wasn’t all that hot. Luckily the basement is at a relatively cool temperature year round, so we had the option of hiding out down there for a bit (couch, toys for our son).
We had enough food stored to make dinner if we needed, but since we had to venture out – we stopped and grabbed something from the sub shop. Having multiple food heating devices available to us (propane kitchen stove, propane grill, fire pit, rocket stove) means we could have made just about anything we wanted.
What Went Wrong
Water is a key component of survival and prepping, and one that many people (including myself) underestimated. Living in a remote area and having a well means no running water in a basic power outage. I wasn’t concerned so much for potable water…but we didn’t have nearly enough stored for things like flushing toilets and washing hands.
Backup electricity is a real necessity sometimes. Our little guy just happens to have a chest infection that requires a nebulizer treatment every 4-6 hours this week. While we had light and preps for food – we didn’t have a serious backup system for this. Having a generator is great, but in devastating wind and lightning, standing around outside with an electrical generation device and a long cord is too dangerous. We had to leave the (relative) safety of our home to get real emergency power, something that we couldn’t take the time to figure out how to get working in the midst of a raging storm. That changed today when we ordered a power inverter so that we can at least power small electronics, like the nebulizer, from the car. It’s not perfect, but for $35 – it’s a bit of added insurance until we find a better whole-house power solution.
Speaking of medicine – the wrong time to need medicine is in an emergency situation. We were lucky that we had enough medicine to last us through the outage, but between a lapse in communication from the pediatrician and the pharmacy closing when power and their computers went down – we COULD have been in a dangerous situation that would have required a second hospital visit in 24 hours.
Being “prepared” isn’t always enough. Buying preps and hiding them in the corner of the basement, or over-prepping one area to the detriment of another is a dangerous thing. We didn’t think we “needed” electricity for a short term situation. In reality, we can get by without it most of the time, as long as we have enough water (potable AND not) for things beyond just hydration. But when you absolutely NEED electricity for a medical emergency, having it available can be a major survival issue. We plan around trying to avoid grid-powered devices for these short term events – but you still should be prepared for the need, as situations seem to always strike in the moments where you really are least prepared for them.
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