Friday, September 12, 2008

Moment of Truth?

Well, sort of. Hurricane Ike is bearing down on the Texas coast, and although we are not in it's direct path, we are expecting heavy rains and potentially damaging winds this weekend. Not a true "disaster", but still a chance to evaluate our preparedness. Here are a few areas that we took a look at to make sure we were ready:

1. Getting home.
I keep a small amount of supplies in a GTTH bag (Get To The House) at work. My work is most distant from our house, so in the event that the roads were inaccessible, I would be the one walking, or choosing to stay at work. Everyone else is less than a 30 minute walk from home. I have water in my bag, several power bars, a flashlight, small first aid kit (finding a balance here was tough, to keep it small enough to carry, I can treat only very basic cuts and scrapes, but it does include a US military triangular bandage, which is good for larger wounds), mylar emergency blanket, multitool, whistle, mirror and firestarting kit. I can possibly supplement this with the extra supplies I keep at my desk (tea, bouillon cubes, hard candy, water). If I can get to the truck in the parking lot, I can access more water and my "self defense" gear. I carry a pocket knife and wear comfortable shoes to work, so I think I am good if I have to hoof it.

2. At Home:
I am happy to report that my hurricane shopping consisted of a case of Dr. Pepper, an extra loaf of bread and stuff to make Navy Beans and cornbread for Saturday. We are stocked for several weeks on food, and although I am not happy with our current supply of water, we can fill the tubs and drain the water heater if needed. As long as the gas stays on, we can cook inside, and if it goes off, we have the propane grill and a gas fired camping stove to handle things. My only real concern is the air conditioning. If power stays off for more than 2 days and the storm has passed, it will get pretty hot and humid pretty quick. We either stick it out, or Bug Out and stay with family who are unaffected.

3. Other Issues
The cars are all at least half full and there is a can of gas in the garage. Gas prices have shot up this week already, but no shortages are reported. If we were directly in the path, I would go ahead and fill all 3 vehicles up, but we will wait on the hopes that prices will retreat after the storm passes. All 3 vehicles could make it a minimum of 300 miles on the gas in them, and if we consolidated and took gas from 2 of them, we have a range of probably 600-700 miles.
We do not own a generator. I have never considered this a good investment. In order to get a generator big enough to run the whole house (and air conditioner) we would end up spending a lot more than I would want to, and a small generator will only run the basics. I have done a run down of electrical items in our house, and there is nothing we can't live without. We have candles and lantern for lights, our emergency food does not need refrigeration, and we have battery operated radios. We can even charge our cell phones from the cars. I just can't see spending the money to get a generator.

I think we are good to go and the storm has given us a chance to find out if our preparations are adequate. Another good side effect has been the opportunity to talk to others about planning ahead. If I can make some converts and get a few people to change their mindset, that is a few less who will be looting in my neighborhood!

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