Thursday, August 24, 2017

Twenty-One Days Until TEOTWAWKI - Hurricane Version

I have a friend down in Houston, Texas.  For those of you not in the US, or not watching the news, there is a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico that's heading toward the Texas coastline.  Houston is right in its path.

My friend has lived in Texas a long time.  One of her friends commented to her on one of her posts that "this isn't your first rodeo."  I guess her attitude toward hurricanes is akin to my reaction to a snowstorm.  I can measure my life in Maine in decades - plural - and every winter since I first moved here, it has snowed, without fail.  Many snowstorms up here are measured in feet.  If it snows less than 3", I don't even bother shoveling.  If one moves to Maine and gets freaked out about snow, one should consider relocating.  Snow happens.  The town plows, salts, and sands.  We go on with our lives.

If one lives in the southeastern US along coast of the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, hurricanes are part of the package.

Today my friend posted a comment on her Facebook page, describing an event that occured during her recent trip to the store.  I asked her if I could share what she said here.  She said I could.

"Just a suggestion pay the $60 and buy Large water containers. Empty, store, and then fill up as the storm approaches!!!!

For the love of god, a woman was crying in the parking lot of the store, because there was no bottled Evian water.  S
he was, literally, shaking and very upset. 


I'm aware many folks have not been through a hurricane, but you need to use common sense. She had three gallons of milk, two cartons of eggs, and enough bread to feed a 100 people.  😳I asked if she has a cooler and ice.  Her response was, "No."

Most people in our neighborhood have two (or more) bathtubs.  You can fill the tubs  ... and along with the large storage containers, you will have more water than you will ever need! 

Buying milk and eggs only to lose it. because you don't have a generator or a cooler to store all the food from the fridge and freezer is just plain silly. Buy the large water containers.  Well worth the money. No more searching for water.  Problem solved. 

I assure you, from experience, a 12 pack of 8oz bottles of Evian water won't flush the toilets, brush teeth and keep you clean, let alone drink🤦‍♀️!!!!!!!"

This very brief observation and short commentary is so astute, and there are so many pieces of really good advice.

First, she advises, don't panic.  People live through hurricanes all of the time.  They do.  Honest. Freaking out about it is really not going to do anyone, especially you, any good.

Second, she says take a look at what you have.  In a follow-up comment on this post, she says, "The water thing kills me, dude! The only good thing about a hurricane (unlike tornadoes) is we have many days to prep. You have water you drink everyday piped to a faucet.  Why not buy the large water storage containers and simply fill them??? These folks are breaking down in parking lots."

She's not talking about long-term (as in for a Long Emergency, a la the Zombie Apocalypse).  She's talking about storing water for a few days - a few weeks, at most.  So, filling up tubs, pitchers, Sports bottles, five-gallon buckets ... anything that will hold water ... is good, sound advice.

And it's FREE (ish) - unlike the bottled water at the store.  At least it's more free than heading over to the a grocery store for plastic bottles of faux spring water.  Fill up your own bottles with your water from your own tap.  Duh!

Third, plan ahead.  If there's a chance that the power will go out, plan for that.  She talks about stocking up on ice and having a cooler - some place to store the stuff from the fridge and freezer.  Yes!  The power is more likely than not to go out.  Plan for it, first by not buying MORE stuff to put in the refrigerator, and then, by making sure you can keep the stuff that's in there cold.

(As an aside regarding planning, if the power is going to go out, and if your house is like most people's houses, the stove is electric. No power means no way to cook those eggs.  Don't waste your money.)

Speaking of filling bottles, another good, common sense suggestion is to fill soda bottles (or other plastic bottles with lids) with water and put those in the freezer.

This will do a few things:

One:  if your freezer has enough space in it for those bottles of water, you're not using your freezer as efficiently as you can anyway.  A full freezer uses less energy to stay cold.

Two: if you do lose power, having a full freezer that includes bottles of water, means that your food will take longer to thaw.  You give yourself more time.

Three:  with those bottles of water in the freezer, you've just given yourself more stored water.

But there's some benefit to having bottles of water in the freezer anyway, beyond just hurricane prepping.  The above mentioned improved efficiency is probably enough, but there's more.  Those bottles of ice can be used in place of loose ice in a picnic cooler.  Things will still stay cold, but without the rapidly thawing ice filling your cooler with water and water-logging everything in it.  Okay if all that's in your cooler is cans of beer.  Not so great if there are sandwiches.

There was recently a discussion about air conditioning on the Non-consumer Advocate Facebook page (someone asked if others cut down on their AC usage).  I don't have an air conditioner, but next week's forecast here is highs in the low 70s with lows in the 50s.  Who would use an AC unit with temperatures like that?  Even when it gets hot, we don't use an AC - because we don't have one, but we don't have an AC by choice.  A lot of people here in Maine do have air conditioners.

So, what about those bottles is related to air conditioning?  When it gets hot, we need ways to stay cool, especially at night.  One of those ways is to sleep with an ice pack.  It's like the opposite of those old-timey bed warmer things.

If the power is going to out due to the hurricane, having all of those bottles of ice to help keep one cool will feel really nice.

As I've been saying for a long time, TEOTWAWKI isn't usually Prime Time TV fodder.  Usually it's just every day emergencies, like bad weather or job losses.

I saw a news report that said Hurricane Harvey is "lumbering" and will take days to wind down.  I'll be thinking of my friend and her neighbors.

I'm just really thankful that she's a smart, prepared lady.  You got this Paula!  Be safe.

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