Lessons Learned from 9 Days Without Power

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Guest post by Dennis A.

It was mid-July a few years ago and very hot.  At about 4:30 P.M. and shortly after I returned home from work, the weather radio goes off and announces a huge line of supercell thunderstorms producing tornados, softball size hail, heavy rain, and straight-line winds in excess of 70 M.P.H.

image by Fellowship of the Rich

Less than an hour later, the monster hit. I yelled to my wife and daughter to get into the basement, NOW! Fortunately, they listened to me and went downstairs.  I thought, “I’m not going to miss this one,” and stood at the glass window. While I was standing there enjoying the trees bend 90 degrees and listening to things hitting the side of the house, all of a sudden our heavy, full-size trampoline started to levitate upwards.  It lifted 5 feet, 10 feet, and then 30 feet straight up and then took off like a Harrier jet toward me.  I went scrambling down to the basement with my family. I did not see any funnel cloud, and to this day I can’t see how a straight-line wind could do something like that.

 The storm lasted maybe 30-45 minutes and during the course of the storm, we lost electrical power. No problem, I’m a “prepper”; I’m very well prepared! I made my way to the next room in the basement where I have my flashlights, candles, and battery lamps perfectly stored in nice boxes.  It was pitch dark.  Based on the severity of the storm I figured the power would be out at least until sometime the next day.

 Now, it was time to put my action plan to the test. I got out all my heavy-duty 12 gauge extension cords, electrical strips, Coleman battery lanterns, etc.  I fired up the Coleman 5,000 watt generator on the first pull and plugged everything in: the refrigerator, the chest freezer, the TV, and the satellite box.

The next morning, walking outside through the front door I sure could tell a severe storm came through. Debris, shingles, branches, lawn furniture, and more were everywhere.  I wondered where the trampoline had landed.   We lived in a subdivision and we eventually found that thing 75 yards away from where it had struck the side of a house and caved the wall in pretty good.

What follows is a diary of sorts, my personal survival story, of what happened after the storm.

image by dave hale

Nine days without power

Day One: I had a long list of things to do.  I needed to call into work and take a couple of days off, call the insurance company, clean up all the mess, cover the holes on the roof until I could get a roofer out, etc. It was awfully hot outside for 7:00 a.m. and the highs for the day were forecasted to be in the high 90s and lower 100’s.

My wife called me into the house to show me the news on TV. It turned out that we had experienced a very widespread tornado and storm damage covering three states. Our entire regional area including St. Louis was 80% out of power. My gut feeling told me that we were going to be without power for a number of days. I thought, “Oh well. I’m a prepper. I’m ready!”  A quick check told me that I had about a week’s worth of gasoline for the generator.

Later on that morning we took a little drive around our village to see what was up. Nothing was open, and I mean nothing. No Wal-Mart, no Kroger, no McDonalds and no gas stations. There was very little traffic and all the stoplights were out.   Returning home around noon we walked into a very hothouse. Should I open the windows or keep the house closed up?

It wasn’t long before I had to make a decision. It was 98 degrees outside and 82 degrees inside and climbing. To make a long and miserable story short, I decided to keep the house closed up. At its peak the house would only get to 89 degrees inside max, and a couple of degrees cooler in the basement. The heat generated from the refrigerator, freezer, coffee pot, and TV, I’m sure contributed to a lot of the heat. Even with a couple of fans blasting away directly at us, it was miserable trying to get any sleep until it was just about time to get up and the temperature in the house hit its low.

Day Two: One long continuation of day one: hot!  At least I had all the conveniences of home: satellite TV, refrigerator, freezer, lights, coffee pot, etc. No one else in the subdivision seemed to be as well off. That night around 9 p.m. my wife and I went for a drive to see if anything was open yet.  Everything was still closed.  Driving back into the subdivision I got an eerie gut-wrenching knot in my stomach as I was approached my house. The entire subdivision was totally black, except for my house.  It looked like Christmas from the outside. The entire subdivision was totally silent, except for my house, where the blaring sound of a generator permeated the silence. I realized that I had a big red and white circle on my back! We got inside, closed the curtains, and repositioned the lights. There wasn’t much we could do about the generator noise.

image by alycefeliz

Day Three: The days are getting hotter along with the inside of the house. I had to report to work, and the roofer was expected to drop by later. The roof was repaired by the time I got home, the wind turbine replaced, and the vent pipe repaired, all for a very reasonable price.  I was surprised that I didn’t get gouged!

I was getting 24-hours run time out of the generator at 50-75% capacity and the oil needed to be changed.  Remember those big red and white circles on my back? The neighbors on both sides of me came over shortly after I returned home from work and asked if I had any ice and/or bottled water to spare. Along with everything else going on, we had a water boil order and we had been advised not to directly drink the water.

I was willing to help but I didn’t let it be known that I had 10 cases of bottled water and two 55-gallon plastic food grade barrels full for emergency use. I only had a small amount of ice in a few ice trays but I gave them what I had and refilled the trays.  I also gave them plenty of ice-cold bottled water from the fridge. I’m learning many of the people in the subdivision are driving 50-100 miles to get air-conditioned motel rooms to escape the heat and sleep. Some are asking us to please try and keep an eye on their property.

That evening we had some good news.  The local Quick Trip gas station got an emergency generator and was open for business.  The bad news was that we couldn’t get anywhere near it!  Traffic was backed up two blocks to get gas and it was a madhouse! They were out of ice, milk, bread, bottled water, and other commodities. I parked a couple of blocks away and found that they had plenty of cold beer.  Just what the doctor ordered!  I grabbed a case of my favorite beverage with a smile ear to ear and headed home.

It was so hot and miserable that we had been eating very light but that night I broke out some pork steaks and brats and barbequed them while my wife boiled potatoes for potato salad on my propane Coleman gas stove outside.

We invited a few of our neighbors over to share. I shut down the noisy generator for a while to have a moment of some normalcy. It was 101 degrees Fahrenheit at the moment and the case of ice-cold beverages didn’t last long.  One of the neighbors hopped into her car to get more.  Everything is cash only at the QT.

image by heather

Day Four: I couldn’t believe it but another line of severe thunderstorms, tornados, high winds, and hail was headed our way again. This time my location didn’t get hit as badly as the first round but we still got a substantial amount of hail damage to my roof and vehicles; much of it was golf ball size. It looked like we had two inches of snow when it finished.

Day Five: I learned at work about more power outages caused by the latest round of severe weather, and hundreds of thousands of homes are out of power again. The electric companies are asking out-of-state workers for assistance. There is still no definite timetable to restore our electric service.

More and more of the hardcore subdivision neighbors are stopping by and asking for bottled water and ice. My six plastic ice cube trays are getting a work-out round the clock.  I can’t make it fast enough and we’re down to four cases of bottled water.

Then something totally unexpected happened. In addition to still being under a water boil alert, the fire department is going door to door and handing out fliers. I thought it must be some sort of no-burn notice or something, but when I read it, I found out that the village sewer system and pump stations do not have emergency backup power. Long story short, sewage is backed up and can’t be pumped. This can cause a backup in your drains/toilet and a possible sewage explosion. Have you ever seen the aftermath of a toilet/drain sewage explosion? They requested minimal use of our bathroom facilities.

Six days later, things get ugly

Day Six: I got up at 5 a.m. to get ready for work and brewed a pot of coffee.  I was getting up earlier than normal because it was so stinking hot that I couldn’t get a deep sleep. I’ve noticed the family and I are getting cranky at each other because we’re tired and miserable.  Taking a morning shower was an eye-opener. You would think as hot as the inside of the house was (82 degrees) a cold shower would feel good. NOT!  By conserving hot water and taking quick showers in the morning, the three of us were able to get three days out of the electric water heater.  I did not make provisions to hook up the hot water heater or an electric generator transfer switch because I didn’t expect an electrical outage of this duration.

image by grytr

I decided not to go to work because I only have a couple of gallons of gasoline left, although the 5-gallon generator tank is topped off. A few more businesses have re-opened, but it’s still a madhouse trying to get into the two gas stations now open. With all my empty gas cans I drove about 35 miles to find an open gas station.  There were no lines, and I pulled directly up to the pump, filled up the cans with gas and the truck with diesel.

Upon returning home I really wanted a nice cold glass of ice water, but my wife had just emptied all our cheap plastic ice trays for someone up the street. She told me that the woman who asked for the ice was borderline rude and even asked when the next batch would be ready. People around here seem to be getting more demanding rather than appreciative.

More stores seem to be opening up but they sell out of ice and water as soon as a shipment arrives.  I realized that if the situation got worse or went on much longer, formerly decent folks might turn into animals and demand, not ask!

Day 7 & 8: It was hot and more of the same.  I was down to my last half case of bottled water. We were all cranky, tired, and ready for civilized life to return. I grew tired of listening to everyone’s complaints. I was tired of cold showers, shaving with cold water, taking a light into the bathroom to see.  I was tired of automatically flipping the light switch and then realizing they wouldn’t work. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I decided that the very first thing I would do when things returned to normal was to purchase a room window air conditioner. The second thing I’m going to do is retire and move to the country and be as self-sufficient as possible.

Day 9:  At 6:07 that evening I was sitting in my recliner with sweat dripping off my sweat and thinking how I might make my wife’s life more miserable. The house lights momentarily flickered, and I smiled ever so slightly. Then, nothing.

Thirty or so minutes later, the house lights came on, the a/c started up and we all broke out in applause, but five minutes later it went out again.  Bummer!  Finally, ten long minutes later, which probably was the longest ten minutes ever, it was b-a-c-k, and it was on to stay. By 10 that evening the house was down to a comfortable 78 degrees and as I passed by the thermostat on my way to bed, I accidentally bumped it down to 60 degrees!

I’m here to tell ya’ll, that was the best night’s sleep a body could ask for

Update: I now live in the country and what a world of difference it is living on a few acres compared to the urban setting. That alone gives me peace of mind that should the S hit the fan, I don’t have to worry about close neighbors turning zombie.

No doubt different disasters will require different preparations and how people will react to them. The three major things I learned were:

(1)   Even though my disaster was relatively minor in comparison to what could happen, until you actually experience a disaster, you don’t know how your preps will fare and what you might be missing if the situation lasts longer than what you’ve planned for.

(2)   Under stress, hardship, and extreme environments, people change, and in my experience not for the better.

(3)   Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! I have flashlights scattered all over the house now for easy access, even in the dark. I’ve relocated some of my supplies in outbuildings instead of storing them all in the basement.   I live within spitting distance of the New Madrid fault line and know that if we get the “big one” and my house is severely damaged or leveled, I’m S.O.L.

READ MORE: This story happened during hot weather, so keeping cool was a concern. If a power outage happens in cold weather you’ll want to know how to stay warm.

Do you have a first-hand account of surviving a disaster of some sort?  Email it to [email protected]

31 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from 9 Days Without Power”

  1. Amazing story! Inspirational too. My family has a lot of of things ready for situations like this, but it's hard to prep for every possibility. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is a great story. I always imagined that if anyone had any idea that you had anything that they wanted, they would absolutely expect you to hand it over because you have it and they want/need it.

    I am fairly reclusive. I am sure one of my neighbors sees me with wierd stuff and would expect me to give it to him, but if someone came to my door asking for something, I would ask them if they had some because I didn't have any either and if they find some, please let me know.

    I know it is tough, but when they are eating their steaks and etc now, I don't go ask for some. On the other hand, i have some beans, bottled water, and all my other wierd preps that I am sure they gossip about.

  3. Suburban Jubilee

    Great reading! Makes one think about more than just the physical prep things. I think an angry desperate mob could be quite scary.

  4. I've done 9 days without water and electric during an ice storm, never in the heat of summer, and I live in tornado ally! It was nice to see the information from a different perspective (cold vs. hot) because I wouldn't be prepared necessarily for that. Thanks for the share!!

  5. Great story! I like to hear about "real world" experiences when TSHTF.

    I wonder if you didn't use your generator if you would have been less of a "target" for those in your neighborhood looking for help. Perhaps this is an argument for not bothering with a generator, simply adjusting to life without electricity as soon as it goes off? Just a thought…

  6. You have to think that if any of us are lucky enough to have food to cook, the smells will alert neighbors and those wandering the streets. They will head our way. No lights. No hum of a generator. Even the gardens we are growing to feed our families will be in jeopardy.

    1. I have thought about that a lot. I would seem to me that when the SHTF indoor cooking with a propane camp stove, not using a generator for the overall house, would be in order till things settle down and, frankly, a good many people starve. Gruesome but true.

      1. back when there was more woods or more wildlands, one of the things they did, was to have a cookfire small, out of sight, and then they would move camp up to a few miles away after they ate, due to the smell of campfire, and the smell of food. It would seem, that under a shtf, the smell of food is going to give your position away just as quick as the sound from generator, and lights at night….. so if you dont have enough for everyone around, should not take these things lightly, and prep accordingly.

        1. The Survival Mom

          I have some techniques for reducing/eliminating the smell of cooking food that I’ve included in my upcoming EMP survival book.

  7. I was only without power for a few days a while back. Luckily it was not widespread so I was able to bring the stuff in my freezer over to friends to store for me. What killed us was the heat. This is SoCal and the temps in Aug. are in the 100's. We were miserable. We didn't have a generator but our neighbor did and you could hear it going. Made me wonder what would happen if the event had been widespread. Another time we were without water for 36 hours. That was a real eye opener. Could not believe the amount of water a family of 4 could go through in that short length of time. We all cheered when the city finally fixed the problem. I immediately got more water for storage but I know it won't last long in a SHTF situation especially here in a desert climate. Can't afford to move away from the job though.

  8. Interesting how pushy neighbor asked when the next batch of ice cube would be done and just assumed that they were for HER!! Maybe the prepared family was going to keep them for themselves or maybe the were for the 90 year old great grandma two doors down who has no family in the area. Amazing how selfcentered some people are even today when things are good, just imagine how they will be when things are really tough.

  9. Good point about whether to have a generator or not. I have a small 2500 watt genny and have built a box insulated with styrofoam to baffle the noise . It us pretty quiet and with the box you can still hear it , but it is so quiet it sounds like it is a loud one a few blocks away, and if anyone else has one running you can't tell at all. I have only ran it a hour a couple times of day to keep the frezzer and refrigerator going. When I get my place in the country I plan a small propane frezzer and refrigerator as a backup to help on sound. As for the water I would claim I had only a case or two for the family and would have only given any to very close freinds or family. Besides those lazy mooches could have driven the 30-40 miles just like anyone else.

  10. Wow. Good story.

    Within a few months of moving to our farm (1998) we went through the first amesville, oh flood. We lived on top of a hill, so we didn't get flooded even though the people in the town had water to 17 feet.. (one story was of a resident waking up as his air mattress hit the ceiling of his bedroom and he had to dive under the door frame to get to the upstairs..) but anyway, even though we didn't flood, we lost power for 10 days. This was pre-prepper times for me so I didn't even own a generator. After a day without power we realized that the food in the freezer was at risk and that we didn't have any way to pump water from the well. (115 ft deep)

    We ended up pulling out a topo map and taking ridge roads to columbus (about 120 miles away) to get the very last generator they had. (we bought it with a credit card over the phone so they would hold it). When I got there I bought enough gas and cans to run the generator during the day for a couple of weeks. You couldn't find a generator of sale in the tri-state for weeks after that.

    The short version of the story is that that was my wakeup call. It was spring, the weather was not hot so it wasn't bad, just inconvenient. We didn't even lose phone. It could have been way worse in so many ways..
    I remember telling my wife, this was a gentle "lesson" and we should take it to heart. Funny how that small bottle of lamp oil,some bottled water and the single 6-pack of TP becomes 'very' important in a hurry.

    The next 4 day outage, some years later, didn't even give us pause and that time the flood kept us from even leaving the hill. By then the generator was wired so it could back feed 220 to the house from the barn (proper disconnects) and by running it in a side shed at the barn it meant you could barely hear it running at the house. As far as you could tell, the power was just "on".. We also had a months supply of everything but fresh produce, and we had our own garden going.

    I read a quote somewhere that "if you are prepared, a hurricane is just a storm.." well, if you are prepared, a power outage is merely an inconvenience.

  11. My Experience is a little different.most houses in my Country are built on “stilts”no one told us the reason why this was done some of us thought that was a waste of living space so we all cover up the space and made it living quarters.No one knew that every 100 years because the records were destroy that the area is flooded with 4 feet of water .it took the authorities 5 weeks to pump the water from the area.I am an electrician and I had wires my place with the outlets 2 feet off the ground which at that time I got into trouble with the regulatary body because the the standard was 6 inches from the ground.I had seen a document but they was no one alive to confirm.Having comforts while others have non makes you a target and puts your family and life is serious danger.the same persons who had a nice smile 2 days ago becomes a mad dog

  12. 1) Use any ice furnished by nature to keep your freezer & refrig cold. Add salt just like you would when making ice cream. Cut the top out of a gallon jug to make a convenient container.
    2) Wrap the freezer & refrig in blankets (the more the better). While the power is off you can cover the condensor coils also, but be sure to uncover the coils when the power is on. If you cover all but the coils it will reduce the load on your generator (and reduce your power bill if you want to leave the blankets on your freezer all summer).

  13. I went to the prep schools given by 5 hurricanes in the last 20 years here in south Florida.
    Andrew took out my power for 14 days, Wilma took it down for only 5 (along with my roof).
    The most difficult task is doing laundry by hand in a sink!
    If a neighbor ever became SLIGHTLY demanding, they would never get another thing.

  14. We lost power for 5 days after a storm in Tampa, of course it was summer. 95 degrees in Tampa is like a 105 in other places . We slept on the floor in the living room with the most windows, we hung out in the ppool due to the heat, we lost all our frozen meat (Including my wild pigs) there was power a few blocks away but the power company fixed the lines with the most people on the so we were last. I would go to the Air Force base nearby and stay all day in the BX and gym, while other people who lost power stayed home the wife wanted to go to work – it was cool there! We read at night by flashlights and cooked on the grill. After we had power I bought a small generator and fixed up a guest house I used for storage to be a real guest house and I can run the TV, fans, and fridge with lights from the generator. I now have 2 or 3 weeks of can foods here and everyone is armed, if all else fails we can walk out of town with our guns and dogs or stay put. By the way I’m not sharing my food and water with anyone.

  15. The investment in a good quiet generator (Honda) is worth it in these situations. We were without power for 12 days last year and none of my neighbors knew we had the generator running. We made regular visits to our elderly neighbors to make sure they were ok but no one ever came knocking on the door.

  16. It is simultaneously scaring and amazing to me, how otherwise normal “decent” folks will turn into what they eventually are – sophisticated animals with deep desire for survival of their offspring and their own.

    I’ll try to remember that, when another fine old lady from the neighborhood tries to preach to me from a Holy Book of her choice…

    Selco (survivor of Yugoslavian war) talks a lot about this particular phenomenon.

  17. This is why I want to get a generator connected into my house’s electrical system so that it will automatically come on and be big enuf to run everything. Of course you still have the problem of buying enuf gas and/or propane, and especially the zombie neighbor problem. This was definitely good practice for an outage, but I think in this situation it would have been much much better to have shut off everything in the house, locked up tight, and gone to a cheap motel. I am in the city, but have 8 foot fences surrounding my house, which I suppose is the best in the city situation, but again moving to the country would be the best answer.

  18. Great Story! Thanks for all of the details. The demanding/unprepared neighbors really revealed what happens when communities are stressed. Thank you

  19. Being from and still living in the country, I have never stopped to think what happens in the ‘burbs when disaster strikes. After our derecho (sp?) in 2005, we were without power for a long time. Luckily, we know how to prepare, and being amateur radio operators helps keep us informed about local and occasionally, national events. A fellow ham from around the corner loaned us one of his generators until the power came back. We saw no one for days, but no one could get down the street. The author did a wonderful job of bringing that time back. And I’m very glad he and his family moved to the country!

  20. As unpleasant as hurricanes are, they do give the advantage of allowing us to prepare, including most neighbors. So I haven’t experienced what the author did as far as needy/aggressive neighbors, even though our power was out about the same number of days. Both hurricanes and the one major flood had all my neighbors helping each other, and sharing work and resources. After Ike, there were so many generators running, it’d be difficult for someone in a car to figure out which houses had generators (it was a cacophony LOL). Hardly anyone I heard about ran their generators non-stop though, due to gas shortages because so many stations were without power to pump the gas. So they’d run the generator long enough to chill the fridge and maybe run the AC in the middle of the day, maybe just a few hours.

    Some asked for gas for their generator, but they’d offer ice from their freezer in exchange for the gas. I didn’t hear any mooching complaints from my area. Favors were repaid in some fashion or another, charging phones, making coffee on camp stoves, sharing ice from work, last minute cookouts before meat went bad, ect… But I suppose much of this sharing mentality comes from so many prepping ahead of time (and possibly from the knowledge that at least half your neighbors probably have guns LOL).

  21. We were without power for 14 days due to an ice storm several years ago, but were able to find a generator (a loan from a friend of the family), and even though it wasn’t big, it was enough to run the heater, fridge and we would plug in a lamp or the TV now and then. Luckily our range/oven and hot water heater are gas, so we could cook and had hot water. I do remember having to drive about 30 miles to fill up our gas cans though. We never experienced greedy neighbors, but we live in an urban area, and not the suburbs, so I’m not sure if that has anything to do with the mindset/attitude. We checked on our older neighbors, and had some regularly stopping by for hot water or to cook something since most were eating cold food or freezing outside to cook on the grill, but always offered something in exchange. In fact, I would say that it brought our neighborhood closer together since we had to work together to clear debris from all of our old tree growth and not everyone had a chainsaw. I think people around here realized if you weren’t nice to the neighbor with the goods, you just might be out of luck. It was a learning experience for sure.

    I’d never thought about going through that in the heat, but to be honest we don’t use our A/C a whole lot in the summer. We have an attic fan though, and it’s fantastic for pulling in the cooler night air, then closing up the place in the heat of the day.

  22. Our family was stranded in our car in deep snow, miles from any town. We managed to trudge for miles until we found an empty trailer. We broke in by a window & found blankets, pans to melt snow on a gas oven and shelter.
    When we were able to leave, we patched the window, cleaned up very well & left a check for the window damage with a note telling the owners that their home may have saved our lives. Later they sent us a letter saying how glad they were that their place had helped us…they even returned the check!
    I always wonder if the S really hit the fan…would there be more tales of cooperation or would each neighbor really justify shooting their neighbors who ask for help?


  23. I learned not to rely on candles or batteries for light instead learned how to burn olive oil, learned to can instead of freezing food for storage, and figured out how to wash clothes in a bucket with a plunger!

  24. Thank You for the story. We were without power for about the same time after a storm once but it was just an electrical hail storm. No hard wind. I really appreciate the indepth detail on what you ran short of. BTW how many watts was your generator? I think I need one of those. Only because we didn’t have a chest freezer then,…. but we do now. Thank You Soooooo much. Power outages are what I prep for.

  25. Pingback: 10 Things Learned From Others’ Tragedies | Prepper Center of America

  26. I live in a rural area but a bit too close to a a big city–50 miles away. We have well water and our own septic on a wooded spot in the middle of 10 acres. When we lose power–we lose everything. I had just started my prepping and we were hit by Irene (did a lot of damage to the house & was out of power for 8 days). I kept notes of what I didn’t have and made adjustment. When Sandy came, I was more prepared. Guess what, we were spared. It didn’t do much, lights just flickered. Then last summer, my phone started to “blow up” with text from the neighbors–“fill the bath tubes”, “get the kids inside, bad storm”, “reply all to this text if anyone needs anything–major storm”. While I had signed up for the county alert system–nothing from them. We were driving and it got dark quick. I’m a midwestern girl and know the sky. I told my husband to get us home now. As soon as we were in the house, I told the kids –basement, grab the dog and cat, you can watch your ipods…they are charged on the table. Relax and don’t come upstairs.” I ran upstairs and filled one tub about half way–it was taking for ever. I grabbed the extra battery power packs, chargers, and cookies.

    Because the county alert hadn’t come, my husband decides he has time to run to the only store in our town (7 min away). He wanted to grab ice. As soon as he left, I was scared and all ___ broke lose. I could hear things landing on the house then a big thump. I knew it was a tree. I tried to call my husband or text–no service. My kids looked worried. I told them Dad would be fine and that they know he could stop at any house on the way and they would help. Then I remembered I forgot to grab the cash, my purse, and laptop. Then something completely stupid came in my mind, go get it. (Yes, I heard a tree fall, Yes I could see from the basement windows it was horrible outside. Yes, I was alone with the kids). But I ventured up the steps. At that moment when I was about to open the basement door, my husband opens it and asked what the heck was I doing? I started to cry and he just grabbed me. He apologized for speaking so ruff to me but both couldn’t afford to be stupid. (he admitted leaving was a stupid idea in his own way…). He couldn’t make it to the store. Large trees were down all over the place and down wires. Then he got stuck between them and had to go off road to get back home.
    We have an unfinished basement with cots set up, entertainment for the kids, flashlights, water, food, sleeping bags, bug out bags, etc. He took a look at my set up and just smiled. We were out of power for 17 days. 3 small towns. The governor wouldn’t declare it an emergency so the towns couldn’t get extra support. Our local township did nothing. Everyone is on well and septic. They didn’t even pass out water. Two towns over did and we stopped by because we were bored. Just wanted to talk to people from another town. I told them we didn’t need anything and that I just wanted to see the local response. (I don’t expect anything from the government but and I did enjoy saying how even our all republican town and governor did nothing to help). People think it’s Democrat vs Republican but I think they are all in it for themselves. The local church was the one who set up the water drop and they filled our car up with tons of water to hand out to elderly neighbors–which we took and did. The only store to open was the liquor store two towns over–we are a dry town. It isn’t owned by people from around here and they had ice. They were jacking up the prices on everything and only taking exact change. Acting like they didn’t understand English when I told them this was illegal. I sent a text out to people to find another town with supplies and to never shop here again. The towns people made out just fine. The men went out with their saws and cleared the down trees (not the county, not the city, not the state). They set up road blocks to the subdivisions and asked for IDs to enter. People from other towns heard about the damage and security systems being off and had started to loot. Seriously! I told my husband I felt like I was living in a movie by day 5. Guns loaded. Dogs on guard. Wives had a mini communication set up reporting if anyone entered the subdivision. We kept the kids close and at one house in the center–with a pool and a whole house generator. We ate together and took showers at the homes with a generator. As soon as the storm passed, I ran out and set up a makeshift rain catchment system with 33 gallon tubs using the downspouts and a few one with tarp from the deck and 5 gallon buckets–this would be for flushing. There is a creek 5 min away by foot but that area has so many ticks and poison ivy, I will use it as last resort.

    Only good thing government related was our local police but they all grew up here and live here. The 3 towns police banned together and set up road blocks on the major streets. Regular folks did the same for their subdivisions. Since you sort of know everyone, they knew who didn’t belong. This is the first time I have written about this experience. Sorry so much spewed out. I learned that we are too close to bad elements and I hadn’t focused on security. I saw the guns for hunting or if someone did try to invade the house, but hadn’t really appreciated the need to secure a piece of land. Luckily everyone around here is fully loaded. We bought a large generator but decided not to do the whole house.

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