After spending many hours watching super storm Sandy move up the coast, then make its turn onto land, I’m amazed at the after storm pictures. No, not the damage, but rather, what appears to be a complete lack of understanding by the people who were affected. There appears to have been little preparation, yet for days forecasters were calling this the most destructive possible storm to hit the east coast in a lifetime.
Maybe it’s a case of those of us that live in the west have a different view of what happens in bad weather, or possibly, the concept of a disaster is something that is more real to us. Those pictures of people standing in line carrying empty gas cans after the storm, after the power had been knocked out, after the roads were demolished, are amazing. And, some blaming the government.
The winning of the west was not done by that breed of easterner. Here in western Nevada, most of the time, we are aware of powerful storms bearing down on us for many days in advance. It is a foolish person that does not fill the vehicle’s fuel tanks, does not fill any gas cans that are available, and does not prepare for a lack of water and food. Disasters come from many angles, storms, fire, flood, accidents, and to not be even slightly prepared is not a mark of intelligence.
There is a movement today in which many people are calling themselves preppers, that is, they are preparing for major disaster even when no disaster seems imminent. Canning and preserving enough food to last many months, preparing for a total lack of power by way of solar, hydro, or wind generation, and actually hoarding some items such as toilet paper, weapons, and ammunition.
As we’ve recently seen in vivid television shots, people can become nasty very fast when they are frightened. To wait until after the worst storm to hit the east coast in its known history, to discover you have no gas in the car or in the extra can, to discover you have no water, to not have candles or long life flashlights, there are no cans of meat and vegetables in the larder, can bring forth, first, extreme fright, then anger, then violence.
When I lived in central Nevada, it was a one hundred mile round trip to the nearest grocery store. You didn’t forget something. It was while I was there that I learned the art and craft of canning and preserving. It was during those wonderful years that I learned how to make bread, and Patty and I still make most of our bread, we can dozens of pints of veggies out of our own garden every year, grow our chickens and rabbits, and would not be considered true preppers by their standards.
Because of our chain saws and splitter, our wood stove keeps us pretty cozy in the winter, it’s been more than two years since the furnace has been lit, we have a generator for standby only, and since we rent this little plot, we can’t put up a decent solar array, we have back up in the event of a full power failure. In the city apartments, this may not be feasible, in some communities, some of what we do wouldn’t be allowed, but to not be as prepared as possible for a disaster the size of hurricane Sandy is more criminal than stupid.
Winter is on its way, so now would be a good time for an assessment of your disaster supplies. Gas, water, lights, and food should top the list, and there should be enough to last three or four weeks, if not more. An interesting story came out of Bosnia during their problems a few years ago. The one item that was worth its weight in gold, the one item one could barter with and get just about anything, was a roll of toilet paper.
Thanks for reading this little tome, read good books, and stay regular.