What a wacky week. First we get the biggest earthquake this area has gotten in effectively 100 years, now we have to worry about Hurricane Irene coming up the coast. For reference, my place of work is about 20 miles from my home. I live and work in and about York, PA.
Driving down the road, I can see where a vast majority of problems will lie. The first thing is the design of the homes for this area is that they are not built to provide protection against hurricane or severe storm winds. Most houses have a preponderance of glass which can readily be shattered by flying objects. This represents the most clear and present danger which can easily be remedied by simply covering the windows with something to protect them. This is usually accomplished by using plywood.
Then there is the relevance of storm surge. There are a great deal of flood plains in the central PA area. Thankfully, despite living within 1/10th of a mile of the susquehanna river, I am not on one. This is by design – I deliberately chose a house ~450 feet above river level in case of the errant comet causing a super-tsunami or something. If you’re in a storm surge area, you have your work cut out for you. Get to high ground, pack your bags, secure your home as best you can and pray.
What REALLY becomes a problem, that I can see going on for at least a few days, possibly longer – are power outages. A simple assessment is all that it takes for even a casual observer to recognize that Pennsylvania (Penn’s woods) is *gasp* shockingly covered in… TREES. These large, old trees do not bend well in powerful storms and frequently break. More importantly, with cost cutting across the board most power companies are treating this as a reactionary event. As such, their usual MO is to simply “wait for someone to call about a broken line due to a tree” and fix it. This works on a small scale but when anticipating a large scale event like this to see them sitting on their haunches so they can simply claim it was an act of god that they had no way to prevent (mark my words, they will) makes me ill.
So ultimately who is responsible for me? Who takes care of me and my family? I do. This means I must be prepared with emergency electric power (which I am), a means to cook, food on hand, fresh water, etc. So let’s address each of these.
1) Emergency electric power. Right now things are a bad time for me to pick up a genny. I might be able to buy one if I’m really REALLY lucky, but the cost is out of the question in most of my scenarios. Thankfully I do have a portable 600w power pack at home which will suffice and worst case I can charge it somewhere where there IS power. I will, however, be without my well pump which means access to fresh water is a priority.
2) A means to cook. I have two grills (not by choice, but hey it is what it is) one gas, one charcoal. I have charcoal, and will be picking up gas tonight. That will last me at least 14 days. I also have innumerable survival gear/stoves which can suffice.
3) Food on hand – honestly if you don’t have food on hand for at least 14 days, you’re doing something wrong. VERY WRONG. I have food on hand for at least a year by my count. So I think I’m good there. Worst case, people should have a emergency food bucket on hand for … well emergencies 😛
4) Which brings me to my final and most important consideration – fresh water. I expect that supplies of water will be contaminated due to extreme flooding. My well pump will be DOA until I can get electric restored. This means I must have access to considerable stores of water; preferably of the fresh and clean varieties. I keep two 25 gallon drums of water on hand – this is grey water for a number of reasons. I have several 2.5 gallon water containers for my animals and some bottled water/emergency water should I need it. Lastly, I have my ace in the hole – a 30 dollar water BOB.
This device is excellent for emergency freshwater storage. I will be setting it up on friday night and hoping it won’t be needed. Realistically my tub probably only holds about 60 gallons of water, but I’ll push the limit as best I can and ensure that I have enough water for 2+ weeks. If you don’t have one of these devices and can’t get one – you can still use your bathtub for water. Simply rinse it as best you can, clean it with DISHWASHING SOAP – nothing else for safety’s sake. Then filter/purify the water after you fill your tub.
Good luck to your and yours. What preps have you made?