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Friday, February 4, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Winter Storm Lessons

There's a good chance some of you are in geographic location that is or recently experienced a pretty bad winter storm. Winds in excess of norms; temperature lows 20 to 30 degrees colder; maybe some sleet and/or snow. Maybe you experienced power outages. Maybe the power authority in your location conducted rolling electrical backouts due to the large surge in power needs. Maybe you attempted to get kerosene or electrical heaters but Wal-Mart, Target, etc., but they were all out.

All the above just happened to me. Power outages throughout the day; and with normal low temperatures for this time of year of 30 degrees and highs in the high 40's or low 50's,......the drop to a low of 5 and a high temp of 12 was quite a change. Been that way since yesterday and supposed to continue for a couple days.

Getting back to the house today I thought I was sitting pretty. Had extra wool blankets; military three piece sleeping bags; LED lantern kit powered by rechargeable batteries; plenty of food to get through even a long period of vehicle immobility due to bad weather; and, 80 gallons of stored water.

But like probably most of us believe, we prepare and are better off for it, but we will never really be satisfied with our preps. Always something we missed.

I used this opportunity to look at my preparations for the coming collapse and wargammed several additional stressors. What I wrote down for my preparation tasks list (you do have one don't you?) is the following:

No matter how good your foot wear is, sitting in one place such as in an LP/OP or on security for your Survival Site, just ain't good enough when the temps are 5 degrees F and the wind is honking at 12-15 mph. I am going to look into battery powered heating socks and have my friend make some canvas cover wool snuggie type half sleeping bags so the person in the static position can put his/her feet and legs into it but quickly get out of them.

Water froze in my Camelbak in my truck. I recently saw some surplus military artic no-freeze canteens which I have used before in a past life and in a place I want to forget.

Although I have watch caps galore, I think some fold-able behind the head ear muffs that can be worn underneath the knitted wool watch caps is in order. The wool and cotton variant watch caps just don't cut the wind.

Gloves. I have some pretty damn good gloves but a second and third pair, per person, of the Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) design is on my list as is several pair of military wool inserts, both the five finger and mitten w/ separate trigger finger type.

I have a pretty good stock of hard wood to burn in my fireplace. I am going to add to that significantly and place a 3/4 inch steel plate I have laying around in the fireplace so it can get hot and radiate heat. It was actually pretty comfortable going without power for 3 hours at night and sitting in front of the fire place reading a book bu LED lantern light.

Although I only had enough of the AA rechargeable batteries charged to run five LED Lanterns. Note to self: more rechargeable batteries and keep more charged. Although no power in the house, I could have charged them from my truck with the 12v adaptor, but sitting in front of the fireplace, with a book and two ounces of Woodford Reserve Whiskey was pretty comfortable. Not that I think the real collapse would permit much of this activity.

Not that I needed any, I called Wal-Mart and Lowe's to see if they had any electrical or kerosene heaters in stock. Both told me they were bought out. One of the sales people told me flashlights are going quick. Oh, a word about flashlights. Love the Surefire line of flashlights; I have several models from hand held to weapons mounted lights, however those CR123 batteries sure lose power quick. Knew this was not the best bet for long term survival a couple of years ago and started to procure LED flashlights, like the excellent Pelican brand (and others), that use AA or AAA batteries so I can re-charge them. So if you only have non-rechargeable battery powered flashlights, then maybe consider some AA or AAA powered flashlights.

Lastly a friend called me on cell and told me his lost power and couldn't use his electric stove. No problem for me, I have gas and when the electric is out, you can still light the burners with a match. Anyway, he has a gas grill and extra tanks, like I do and I'm sure most of you do as well, now he knows knows he needs a gas camp stove or the burner and hose element so he can cook in the house or the garage with it. Heater elements are also available for these portable gas tanks - I've used many of then inside of tents in shitty locations to stay warm.....okay, maybe not warm, but at least to keep from freezing.

Did this massive storm prompt anybody else to think of something new?

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