I live in a smaller suburb of a medium sized mid-western town. We have had floods, tornadoes, and most recently, an ice storm. I am not going to spend a bunch of time here about floods and flooding. Bottom line gets out of the flood plain, have a sump pump, and have a backup battery powered sump pump.
A big tornado rampaged through the area in 2013 and woke me out of a semi-daze I had settled in since I had returned from overseas. I had seen the warlords and other corrupt officials, and how they treated ‘normal’ folk when they had no means to protect themselves or their loved ones. In addition, I remember thinking to myself back then, “When I get home, I’ve got a lot more to do to get my situation right – aside from inventorying my weapons and ammunition.”
Well, I did not. Moreover, the tornado scared the hell out of me. It missed our house, but the damage it caused on the periphery of the touch down zone left us without power for about a week, give or take some browning out. It scared the hell out of me, because that promise I had made to myself and my family on that dusty hill over yonder had been broken.
So what did I have to do almost immediately?
Get a generator. (M.D. recommends the Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator)
Fast forward to this winter, which has been relatively mild. Enter the freezing rain. For those of you that do not have to deal with freezing rain, thank the lord. One thing everyone takes for granted with ice is that it is HEAVY. Normally stout hardwood trees fall over, roots and all. Telephones and telephone wires dip and then do the Nay -Nay straight in half or sheer off at the base.
So here are the lessons that I learned from this years’ ice storm.
1. Generators are like a bug zapper. If you crank it up and it produces noise, people will come. They will show up with their families, every unfrozen food item, and their damn phones, tablets and computers. Because you got the juice, kid.
2. OPSEC. If your wife thinks, you are crazy because you want to be prepared – flush her phone, tablet, and computer down the toilet immediately when the power goes out. She will call, text, Facebook, twitter all the “unfortunate” masses to come into the light and be warm. In addition – she will let everyone know that the reason you can play cards under generator powered light is because her husband is crazy and he thinks the zombies are two weeks out. “And by the way guys, his ALL his stuff is right there, and there, and there…” (I am mentally screaming. This happened. No sh*t.)
3. Moderation: Just because you do have power, that does by no means mean to power up the XBOX ONE, the big screen TV, microwave, etc. Keep it basic. Reference point one for this one. One light in a blackened out sub-division is like seeing Las Vegas from the international Space station. Turn on a single light, play cards, and read.
4. Charity: You have to make some tough calls when you could be the cavalry. Freezing rain and ice generate a lot of water. In my area, that means if you have ANY way to get power to your sump pump you do. That is as defensive to protect your home as keeping the pipes warm. There were a couple of moments after I had checked my sump pump, and I have a backup, when I thought to myself, “Why is my generator the only one working.”
The simple answer is that the power company said they had it handled and the power would be back on at N+2. Then N+4. Then TBD.
The old me (Pre-2013), would have contacted folks I know and asked if they needed me to drive over with the generator and get them pumped down a bit, until they could solve their own problem – one way or another. Now that I look back, there are a couple people that I should have done just that. I have a couple good friends who are plumbers. They both came over later that night – after about eight calls a piece for sump pumps.
Almost each and every call, the families had just given up and waited for help. EVERY one of these families has been through a tornado-affected area two years earlier. If that were me? I would have had my entire family, the dogs, and the cat running five-gallon buckets until we mitigated the issue. I guess I got a little long winded there. It was just one of the more telling observations.
Overall, we are better off now than we were yesterday, and that is the point I keep hammering home to my family and my close friends. The dogs are the only ones who habitually listen, but I am getting through to the others. We will be better off tomorrow than we are today, but my literal biggest worry at this point is that I am not Daddy Wharbucks and this is not the damn Hilton Grand Hotel. I am not sure that is the general perception around here by my neighbors right now. Luckily, folks have short memories. Peace through firepower my friends. Vios Con Dios, mi patriotas.