Decent article by Sharon Astyk here:Inconceivable! Or, why failure is normal and should be part of the plan but isn't
I was doing a radio interview as we were making these preparations, and I mentioned them to the interviewer, saying that we’re pretty ready for power outages, so that it isn’t that big a deal here. And she asked me whether other people should do this, and when I said I thought they should prepare for interruptions in power, argued, ”but think about all the time and money you use up getting ready to be able to operate without power - and most of the time you don’t need those preparations - after all, extended power outages for most people happen only once every few years - is it really worth the effort for most of us? Plus, you have to be thinking “what if something goes wrong all the time” - isn’t that depressing?”
Depressing? No, not at all. Being prepared means feeling more secure in case an emergency arises. I'll admit it can be a bit stressful at times trying to find all the things I think it would be good to have in an emergency, but sometimes also fun (there's some cool stuff out there, and you pick up new skills and knowledge).
And some of the stuff you really need all the time, like having a decent first aid kit for instance.
Extra blankets and comforters in case you lose heat are also good to have when guests are staying over, and make good extra insulation for the home even when everything is working as it should.
Extra foodstuffs, if you can manage it, is good not only if you're stuck in the house for a while but also if prices aren't great on some things and you're hoping to wait for a sale on them. Last year many folks in the Midwest were stuck in their homes with no power for 10 days -- the strangest thing to me about all that was that a number of them suffered a lot of food spoilage. Why? They had snow all around them, surely they could have used a snow bank for helping to keep the food cool for longer. It's harder in warmer weather, for sure -- years ago my freezer went on the blink and started cooking the food. While I waited for the apartment complex's management to fix and/or replace the fridge, I simply continued the process and cooked anything that might spoil. I extended the useful lifespan of all the more sensitive foodstuffs by days, which was all I needed at the time.
But what if I hadn't had any power, and no way to cook those foods? Suppose none of my neighbors did either? Say a huge summer storm instead of a huge winter storm? I guess I'd have had to hope one of my neighbors was into barbecueing (we have a grill now but I didn't have one then). Suppose you don't want to have a backup cooking system or don't have the space for it? That's when having other types of food, a few weeks' worth at least, would be a Good Thing.
Or suppose instead of a natural disaster or fire, you end up suffering from a more personal 'disaster', like losing your job? In this economy, things can change rather more quickly than is comfortable for most folks. *** Planning for Failure is Part of the Job ***
There are people who think about failure all the time, because it is a part of their jobs -- they're trying to anticipate, as best they can, what sorts of things might happen, so that it can be prevented. And if it can't be prevented, how best to deal with it. Firemen, EMTs and other medical professionals, engineers, programmers, construction workers, truckers, are just a few obvious ones -- plus the folks who try to teach them how to this sort of thinking. If you really think about it, almost every occupation requires some thought about failure, planning for it, trying to prevent it -- this is how accidents at work are reduced, how deliveries are made in a timely manner, how disease is prevented, how people are fed, and more.
Of course as we all know, some things are not attended to as they should be, and sometimes bad things are unavoidable. But in the area of our own homes and lives, we do have some control over what preventative measures can be taken. We have multiple first aid kits, not just for home or hiking but also in the car. Mind you, they're still incomplete, but it's better than nothing, and we keep working at it. Plus of course, things get used from time to time, so then you have to re-supply them.
So, if professionals have disaster-planning/prevention as part of their jobs, shouldn't we have it in all aspects of our lives?An interesting thing from this current situation -- with the power turned off for the entire town, nobody could get gas or diesel.
Most pumps are electrically-powered. Only one hand-powered pump here that I know of, and so a few of one of the emergency crew used it to make sure they could get to the places they needed to, to repair damage and/or remove trees. Fortunately most folks either had enough fuel or came from out of the area from places that had operating stations.*** Personal Note on Recent Local Events ***
Personally, while I wouldn't wish a disaster on anyone, and I hope the hundreds of thousands of people dealing with the current problems in the Northeast are able to manage (only one fatality I've heard about so far), it's been a good experience for us. Yes, we're tired and we had difficulties and there's still more work to do in the coming weeks (what do you want to bet that some branches came down on the pipelines that L had just finished clearing?) -- it gave us a good idea of what worked, what could have worked better, and where some of the weak spots were in our planning. We did lose one chicken, but that could have happened anyway, as sometimes does. Nobody went hungry, everyone had shelter. The town set up a shelter for those who couldn't keep their homes warm enough (or possibly were flooded out, since we had alternating ice and flood watches).
Some towns plan better than others, and also some people are wiser than others -- either in their preparations or in knowing when it's time to bug out to a safer place. I hope anyone reading this is among the wiser folks, or is venturing in that direction. We may not be able to plan for everything, but something is much better than nothing. I prefer knowing and security to ignorance and fear anytime -- even if the knowing includes that I can't be ready for everything. The more skills and tools for adapting one has, the better chance one has of doing well, whether a situation is desperate or just planning a party.
I know one thing I definitely need to work on improving, and that's getting in better shape. I've been working on it, but boy, I don't like being so tired just from keeping moving more than usual. And I'd like to have the energy to help out more with some of the chores, like carrying wood up from the basement. Maybe I'll start with just bringing up one or two pieces of wood at a time...