We’re now just over a month past Hurricane Sandy, and the devastation (local collapse!) wreaked on the northeastern coast. There are lessons to be learned, and many things to think about. Most of them will be unique to each of us–where I live was affected by Sandy, but only rather underwhelmingly; someone in Phoenix, on the other hand, will probably (hopefully!) never have to worry about a hurricane rolling through.
With all of that in mind, I’d like to bring up this list: 26 Lessons Learned from Sandy. It’s a bit long to put here in its entirety (fair use, and all that), but a couple of points leaped out at me. First, a few general observations. The family that originated the list apparently had done very little in the way of preps, or at the least hadn’t thought about the reality of a collapse much. Some parts of their list seemed blindingly obvious to me, and I would imagine to any other prepper out there. “The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought.” Really? It goes down–sometimes for hours, occasionally even for days–in a “normal” storm. I’ve lived places where the grid was dropped for hours by a squirrel shorting a transformer. That pretty much defines “not robust” to me. Let’s not get started on the original poster’s dependence on said electricity, or on gas-guzzling things.
My commentary on some of the individual points: “#3: A couple of cases of bottled water is NOT water storage.” Here again, if they’d thought about it for any length of time, it would be obvious. Depending on his family’s size, “a couple of cases of bottled water” is probably two days, max–much less, if they’re trying to live “normally” (read: with profligate water usage). “#5: If you are not working, chances are nobody else is either. Don’t just sit around, go out and work.” You’ll need to get out to assess your overall situation. There’s almost certainly some sort of maintenance you can do to your location (prevent water leakage, add insulation, fix damage). And if there’s not something to do for yourself, you’ve probably got neighbors who could use some help. “#6: You eat a lot more food if you are cold or bored.” If you’re cold, yes–it takes calories to keep warm, by definition. If you’re bored, you probably aren’t doing the things you should be doing to keep warm (see #5…). “#14: It takes a lot of firewood to keep a fire going all day and into the evening for heat.” More still if your place is overly large, or poorly insulated. Some of that can be mitigated by using the fire for cooking, too–of necessity, you’ll be nearer the fire, and thus warmer. Still, closing the door to unused rooms and hanging blankets or towels over windows is probably a good idea.
I’ve got something to say about nearly every point in the list; in the interest of not dragging this week’s post too long, I’ll save some of them for later weeks. How about you, readers? What were your big take-aways from Sandy, if any?