Post-event situations can be surprisingly difficult to discuss.
Let’s first cover more positive and productive word usage. We can all readily agree that there is nothing positive, enabling, or uplifting about the acronym WTSHTF. The Editor of this blog euphemistically uses “When the Schumer Hits The Fan”, in defining it. But we all know what these letters really stand for, and that is often felt to be negative or low class language. Moving up in the world of solution communications, we can instead choose to say or write “Event.”
Our newly adopted word (much more expressive) can convey a disaster date, a dangerous situation, a current environment, and a correction starting point. Using the word event will immediately include those folks who have maintained a sense of honor and personal standards. They have demonstrated positive proprieties in the new world we will be attempting to make more usable. Such positive and generative people will help make a better life for ourselves, our families and our many others.
Now, moving forward to our favorite topic, preparing to survive any disaster that happens to smack us directly, affecting the pantry and in the medicine cabinet located in the utility room right next to the useless circuit breaker box opposite the suddenly defunct food freezer. Ah, you saw right through my not so funny description of a sudden regional power outage.
Remember this cute rule of curt response: When the power is out all over town, don’t waste time trying to find out how come who did it and is there fuel for the generator… “Why not?”, you ask.
Because those answers will not help the power to come back on any time soon and those answers will just create even more not very helpful questions.
Light are Out, Supper is Delayed
It’s still daylight and your household folks are getting frantic about the lack of lights and supper. Somehow some of us didn’t consider what should have been done at some time prior to yesterday so as to not have a problem today.
Security starts with a secure attitude. Most of my neighbors have seen our dozen solar panels. Although we will not be using that power at first, instead we will function by the numbers following our “Grid Down Response Plan”.
We will go outside and gather the dozen solar-powered outdoor driveway/walkways stick-in-the-dirt small battery powered lights, cleaning the dirt-crusted stakes so as to have peace in the house just prior to bringing them into the house. Now we have inside lights in every room, to be turned on only as may be needed.
Remember to turn off all lighting in a room with a door to the outside before opening that door at night. Do not announce to the world that you have lights and are more prepared than the folks nearby who might want your lights and your other stuff.
WHAT IS A TOILET?
The Event has occurred. Now everyone in the house will use the people waste production processing equipment located in the bathrooms (toilets) while we still have water pressure.
The first one in each bathroom will start filling up the tub with water. The person who is last in each bathroom will be responsible for turning off the water when each tub is full. You may need to sit and watch towards the end of the filling process, so smile nice and feel important ‘cause that is important.
BTW – Who Flushed The Toilet Too Early? Effective the very minute the water pressure fails, there will be an immediate new, and very much an absolutely unbreakable, rule about using the toilets. Here it is for you folks new to smart smelly rules of good health:
Liquid waste (that is commonly called “#1”) only and a single/ once only /daily flush late at night by a rotating “weekly” assignment for all toilets in the house.
At that same time-scheduled occasion, all solid waste (that’s called #2) from a bucket toilet  will need to be in a sturdy plastic bag in the bathroom and then deposited outside in a freshly dug trench, with the shovel always kept nearby.
In our rear area patio we have an abundance of happy Mullein plants, an excellent easy soft safe substitute for toilet paper. You ask, “what is Mullein? Do a web search on the phrase “Mullein cowboy toilet paper”. (The plant’s proper name is Verbascum thapsus.)
The Gas Station
Looking seriously at another common concern about a sudden area-wide power outage, the gas stations just shut down, immediately, and for two reasons. Neither of those were caused by you, and both of which are gonna just be real bad. Yes, bad things do happen to good people.
First, the gas transfer pumps need power to move your much needed fuel from the underground tank up to your fuel tube in the side of your near empty car or truck.
Second, even if you could dip a bucket down into that tank to get the fuel up to the car / truck, how will you measure the fuel correctly, and then pay for the fuel? The station attendant is rarely the owner and can not make money decisions anyway!
Third, there is a simple perfect solution readily available just for you, and it works every time: Keep your fuel tank at least half full, at all times. That should be the rule for serious preppers. At our home we keep the car’s fuel gauge above the midpoint. We just never even give it another thought, as it is our regular unspoken habit. So why are you not doing the same thing? Now it’s your turn to do it, and teach it, and proclaim it. Don’t let yourself be the one left with a gauge that reads “empty” when it really counts for you and yours.
Now just a few ideas about Problem solutions versus Problem elimination. So far have you noticed that these problems – solutions are actually not new, not always free or not overly expensive, seldom very complicated situations. Most solutions, provided they are determined well in advance, are simple and safe, for discussion anywhere, any time, and with any body! A commonsense response has no politics, no nationality, no gender or status, and certainly no religious denomination.
There is currently not a single law we know of against anything in this article, I think. Usually those are dangerous words, the “I think” part. Actually the dangerous part usually starts with, “By The Way, to be safe, you must commit do your own personal research and homework.”
Moving on to other sorta simple but still serious problems and answers, located somewhere between the cans of beans and the beef stew, and very near to the powdered potato flakes, there is an unwritten chapter about opening canned foods and cooking them when the power can opener has failed and the electric cook top is so very cold and totally useless and is causing severe embarrassment when the family is finally in full agreement: “We want cooked hot food, now.”
You will find yourself in one of two situations, each symbolized by a single short sentence.
So pick yours now, well in advance of the sad choices others will have to make under future severe family power-out stresses.
1st (best) selection – Well, here is the solution to your problem as I see it today.
A Propane Gas Grill
This is an example of a possible very best response to your family during the power down problem. Our budget could not afford about $250 for new equipment so I went one better than expensive and new a while back. A few months ago I went down to the local thrift store when they called me. Just as I had asked, they called to tell me they had a nice used outdoor propane gas barbecue cook stove, with an empty 20-pound propane tank, for sale. I rushed down there and bought it. They asked $35 and I paid them $40 and bought three extra empty propane tanks for another $20. We did really good for just $60. I was able to fill the 4 propane tanks at my local Wal-Mart for another $60.
We will have hot food for as long as we might need to cook outdoors. Also, a lot of foodstuff in cans can be eaten cold just fine. We can mix hot and cold items at meal times. So I bought 20 P38 mil-spec can openers. We are ready to be ready to use and to barter. We bought three deluxe manual can openers on sale from Amazon Prime for $15 total, delivered free. Let’s eat.
And yes we did do just that. You will also be successful. Simply search the Internet for the local area thrift stores and telephone to ask about availability of items on your prepper shopping list. Visit personally as may be appropriate. Be friendly and generous. Be kind and remember OPSEC about your prepper status. You are getting “camping supplies.”
2nd ( sadly ) Selection – Sorry kids. We do have mom’s old can opener, but we will be eating cold food for a while. Let’s drink the warm water from the toilet’s back tanks, and we can save the canned juice in the pantry for later.
And still moving to another sorta small and yet simple, and doable, situation during a continuing power outage.
Underground Insulin Refrigeration
How about considering what can be done to keep refrigerated medications safe while waiting for the grid power to be restored? Personally I’m speaking of my 90 day supply of two kinds of insulin. I need both Novalog and Lantus. My Lantus supply is 10 small bottles at 70 units daily and the Novalog is two small bottles at 10 units daily. Each bottle new has 1,000 units each.
Personally we have both solar and wind turbine alternative power with a battery bank system. But if you did not, and it is very likely that you will not, you need solutions to your medical refrigeration needs.
Begin by digging a hole approximately 4-5 feet deep and about 16-20 inches wide. The average temperature 4+ feet deep is cooler than at ground level and very much cooler than in a closet. Try to pick a spot that stays shady during the day. Put a bucket upside down over the finished hole.
Then cut some large empty cardboard boxes into 24+ inch wide strips. Turn them into round tubes “almost too big” to fit into the round hole. Use duct tape or string or whatever you can to make the tube secure. Tape both sides of the tubing and tape the top and bottom edges for strength and security.
FIRST, Push the tube into the hole and let the tube top sticking up above the ground level.
SECOND, push some cloth rags loosely into the bottom of the tube so as to keep the dirt out and the lower level ambient cold in the tube.
Then bag the meds, or what you may be storing, in plastic with a string sticking out the top of the tube a few feet, not just a few inches.
THIRD, then very loosely bag up some dirt from the hole, also with string coming out the top of the tube. Make at least three small dirt-filled sturdy bags to fill the void above the bag of meds. Keep all of these parts very loose in the hole so as to not create an extraction problem when your bags are removed as needed. But these bags will insulate the tube, to insure that the bottom of the holes stays at the ambient ground temperature.
If we were using this method I would go directly to my wife’s flower garden 18” tile walkways and just lift one up and start digging.
BTW, and this is exactly how we would handle my personal supply of insulin at a safe temperature availability. I read the Internet instructions very closely and I follow the safety rules to the letter. Exactly this way.
I know our house is very well insulated because I did it myself 19 years ago. In a grid-down situation our alt power systems will keep the refrigerator, the freezer, and the microwave working. The AC will just be a memory of better days. My insulin will be in the refrigerator most of the time. Cold insulin stings badly. Oops. Don’t ask how I know about the stinging!
So now how can I help you to actually be more secure in your prepper efforts? Simple answer in two parts:
FIRST: There are a few warm and strong maxims that will better your days every day. Let’s start with this one….. it’s my personal favorite: “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”
SECOND: There is available to you at YouTube a free 9-minute video of U.S. Navy SEAL Admiral William McRaven as the University of Texas commencement speaker, in 2014. His remarks have become world famous. I have two of his books, and I watch the video often. He will teach you to MAKE YOUR BED EVERY MORNING .
How to download the good stuff
I regularly use the free App called ClipGrab  to download from YouTube those items I want to have forever in my Mac or PC.
Moving on, my web browser’s homepage of SURVIVALBLOG.COM has a section named Resources. Just click it once and therein you will find a treasure trove of usable simple prepper “WORDS OF WISDOM”. There is some sound, proven, prepper advice and commentary, found nowhere else.
Go there now. Be Smart now, not later – Prepare now.