After 10 plus years of preparing for emergencies, and trying to be as self sufficient as possible, I thought that I was fairly prepared. Last week the power went out at the house. This was the first time for this winter so I yelled up to my son “Do you know where the flashlight is?” “Already got it dad” came the response. Two minutes later the hurricane lamps were lit and we were reading again by the fire. What a great first trial of the season. We were not so lucky the following week when the temperature dropped to 22 degrees. We came home to no water. The tank was empty and the pump was running full blast. A fitting in the supply line from the holding tank had blown, and drained 1500 gallons of water down my driveway. So standing in ankle deep water, I had to jerry rig a fix, keeping in mind it was well below freezing and two hours after dark. It sure would have been a lot easier to fix it when I had first noticed it early last summer. I was always going to get around to it, I just didn’t have a high priority on it at the time. While we are on the subject of water supply, I found out there isn’t enough insulation around the inlet and outlet to my on demand water heater.
Our area has been hit with temperatures in the teens this week and when we woke up for church this morning there was no hot water. I guess I'll need to redesign the box that encases the water heater and add a few inches of insulation and maybe heat strips. Now here is some food for thought. What if the power was out when the water challenges came along? I used power both times to solve the problem. Both light and portable heat, were used in each case. I probably should check my emergency generator before we get further into winter, and it turns into an emergency situation.
All of the little thing that you do to make up the huge task of being prepared, need periodic maintenance. Have you checked the fences for you livestock? Or do you just feed them and go about your day. I walked the chicken yard a couple of weeks ago and found a hole under the fence that was hidden from plain sight, and tucked under an old tree stump. It could only be seen from one direction, and was big enough for a bobcat or a coyote to fit under. Also with the winter coming we all need to make sure that our animals have adequate water supply and shelter to get out of the weather.
How about the cars and trucks? Have you got fresh water, a blanket, and a candle in your trunk? It doesn’t take much to freeze to death in your car when it’s nine degrees. You need to check the antifreeze and the water level in the batteries in you cars. Make sure that the periodic maintenance is taken care of, because winter is not the time we want to have a break down. We have all met that Murphy character before, and it would be nice to head him off at the pass.Food is also important.
Are you prepared for an ice storm that could shut you in your house for two weeks? Quantity is not the only aspect. How are you going to prepare it if you don’t have power? Do you have the required water to cook? You can’t bring your BBQ in to the kitchen, so is your propane camp stove working? Or do you have to cook over an open fire in the back yard. Cooking without power can be a subject in of itself.
This article is not meant for the details, it’s to get you thinking of all the pieces of the whole. If you spent time researching each subject, and putting in the time and money to get ready, don’t forget the maintenance that is required to keep your preparations always in a ready state. Jesus said, “No one knows the day of my return but the father.” I don’t think that we know when emergencies are going to happen either. Lets make sure our lamps are always full of oil, and our wicks are trimmed and ready to burn.