The word “prepper” is still often a hot button word in conversations when it comes up, but prepping isn’t only for the “crazies”. We got another first-hand “in your face” experience 5 days ago about why prepping is so important, and just how far our family has to go in terms of learning to be prepared. Some of you may have read the story over on Three Thrifty Guys this past winter about how we came dangerously close to running out of propane. Luckily, with 30-below zero temps looming at that time, we had a back-up electric heat furnace to rely on, and the only true inconveniences we experienced were the inability to bathe/shower, and the inability to cook on our stove. We made good use of our crockpot and stunk for a couple of days, but all was, in reality, fine.
Sunday we got another lesson on the importance of prepping, and it’s one that anybody could easily fall prey to. It was raining, not hard, but steady, and the winds were blowing pretty harshly. No thunder and lightning, at least not until later, just rain and strong winds for several hours on end. Imagine our surprise, then, when the electricity went out. A quick call from my cell phone to the power company and we found out that a pretty large area (52 customers, which, in the country, is a pretty large area) here was without power, and would be for several hours.
Oh well, no biggie, right? It’s spring, so we don’t have to worry about heating much. It’s daytime, so we can go without light for awhile. Soon, it was getting cold in the house so I switched our system to the propane heat since we do have propane :-). Unfortunately, you can’t turn on the propane heat system without electricity. We couldn’t open the fridge, out of fear of ruining our food supply, and the well system also runs via electricity, so shorty after we lost power, we had no water access either. No drinking water, no washing our hands, no washing clothes, and no ability to flush the toilets if someone had to poo. Not only could we not provide ourselves with water, the horses had no access to water either, and those babies drink a lot. Without an ample supply of water, horses can colic and die.
Things were a bit annoying without electricity, but we were having fun, playing games and talking. The no TV/no computer thing made us a bit agitated (there’s a difference between choosing to be unplugged and being forced to be unplugged) as we don’t have smart phones. We couldn’t check the weather to make sure that severe weather wasn’t on its way. The phone lines were down too, at first, but came up shortly afterward, but as the hours dragged on, we started to realize just how unprepared we really are. We had a couple of flashlights, and batteries, but our camping lanterns, which provide up to 9 hours of light via a charger, were dead, so using those wasn’t an option should it start to get really dark. We’ve been slack on our emergency water supply (I’ve been using it up b/c it was expired, but not buying more), and we had very little in terms of ready-to-eat foods. Luckily, we could manually light our gas stove (which needs electricity to ignite) so we had some dinner.
Obviously, we weren’t in “real” danger. We had a full tank of gas, and have family and friends close by. But what if this power outage had gone on for several days instead of several hours? What if, for whatever reason, we couldn’t leave the house? What if the roads were washed out due to torrential rains or blocked due to debris from a tornado or other storm? What then? Not only would we’ve been screwed for water, heat and any substantial amount of food, we would’ve put other lives, such as those of fire, police and/or National Guard rescue teams, in danger trying to rescue our sorry arses.
As we sat, stuck inside with not much to do, we started to talk about how we’ll be more prepared in case a similar situation arises again. Some of our plans:
-get the wood-burning stove installed. Yeah, we get the importance of this now.
-make sure the camping lanterns are always charged (they’re charging as we speak 🙂 )
-make sure at least one cell phone is always charged (mine was near dead at the time of the outage, but luckily, Maddie and Rick had theirs charged up). BTW, we like Republic Wireless as they have plans starting at $5/month.
-replenish our emergency water supply
-gather a decent stockpile of snacks and ready-to-eat foods
So, who needs to be at least a little bit of a prepper? Every single person on earth who is in danger of falling prey to one of the following situations: earthquakes, fires, rain and/or thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and every other natural disaster or terrorist attack (for instance, on a power grid) possibility on earth. When it comes to prepping, it’s vitally important to think of “what if” scenarios. If a storm/earthquake/attack of some kind did come, do you have the ability to find some way to provide you and your loved ones with food? With heat? With cooler air if there’s a dangerous heat wave and no power? With water? With protection from looters/rioters who are freaking out because they have no food/water for their own babies?
Six hours later, the power was back on, thanks to the awesome crew over at Xcel Energy. We watched as several Xcel trucks drove back and forth by our house, working to get the problem solved. We are truly grateful for their commitment to providing power to our neighborhood, and truly thankful for their willingness to stand out in the pouring rain and do what needed to be done. There were lots of hugs and shrieks of gratefulness here when the power went back on. We don’t often think about the importance of our electricity supply, until we’re stuck without it, that is.
Prepping isn’t just for the crazies – it’s for everyone who needs food, water and heat to survive. The need for prepping items doesn’t just come from wild visions of the country going crazy, it can come from the simplest of inconveniences, like a power outage from a stronger-than-normal wind. Choose today to educate yourself and get yourself and your family prepared for whatever dangers are inherent to the area in which you live. If trouble comes, you’ll be glad you did.