We as preppers tend to always be prepared for the worst scenarios possible, but what if we are caught in a bad, but not worst case, scenario? As a man who has lived through a few disasters of different descriptions, I would like to share some thoughts with you all.
Imagine the following scenario if you will:
You have just survived a disaster without any casualties or major damage. Your generator is gassed up, plenty of oil and gas to keep it running, non-perishable food, medical supplies, etc. You have your own water well, and with your generator, you are not worried about water supply. You have power, but nothing happens when you turn the faucet on. Why? Because the wind/water/etc. Has damaged your plumbing. Now what?
This is the exact scenario my family faced after hurricane Rita in 2005. The force of the wind shifted the pump house, moving the water tank and breaking the plumbing. Thankfully pvc pipe can be patched relatively quickly. However, as the last freeze taught us, you must be prepared to potentially replace ALL of the plumbing in your home. Always have extra pipe and fittings on hand in the appropriate sizes and materials for your home plumbing system. Do not forget primer and cement if you are working with pvc.
And what of electrical? A disaster can seriously damage your electrical system. Perhaps it will be as simple as capping off an unnecessary leg of a circuit. Perhaps you will need to rebuild a vital part of the system. Either way, having extra wire on hand is a great idea. Not to mention the correct tools for the job, as well as wire nuts and electrical tape.
I am ashamed to admit this, but there was a time when certain among us were caught without a manually operated can opener. Not everyone was born a prepper. Make sure to have extras.
A bathroom can be damaged too. It never hurts to have trash bags and toilet paper stored away. I speak from experience when I say that toilet paper is a wonderful luxury after a disaster.
Something I have not yet obtained, but fully believe everyone should have is a small boat. I lived through the flood of 1994, and did not think the water could ever be higher. Harvey taught us all a lesson. Myself and my family were blessed enough to not have to be rescued, but it was 1” away. Literally, 1” from the threshold. I will be adding a boat to my supplies.
Now let’s think about that generator. You probably have many gallons of fuel stored away, of course with the correct amount of stabilizer mixed in. There are probably cases of oil stored in a safe location as well. But what if this turns into an extended outage? Do you have spark plugs? Spare air filters? Oil filters (if your model uses one)? What about carburetors? From years of being the local guy everyone brings small engines to, I can tell you that carburetors often fail with today’s fuel. Even those that are cared for in the best manner possible. Ignition coils can fail without warning as well. It is worth to know your machinery and have spare parts on hand. You only want to use your backup generator for the few minutes it will take to repair your main unit.
Having your chainsaw in good working order is also very important. There have been occasions where it is imperative that you be able to clear fallen trees or large wooden debris quickly. I have seen outbuildings mostly toppled after storms, and sometimes it is better to just cut them apart in a controlled manner and eliminate the danger of them falling the rest of the way. Assuming you can’t yank them down with your truck in the redneck style, that makes it go faster. The point is, you should always have fresh fuel for your saw, a spare chain, spare spark plug, and plenty of chain oil on hand.
There are some smaller jobs where the hassle and fuel consumption of power tools is just not warranted. For those moments, I always like to have a few sharp axes, machetes, hatchets and the like on hand. Most people have them stored away somewhere, but when was the last time you checked the edge on it? It is easier to sharpen them now with power tools than it will be to take the time and file sharpen them in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
Perhaps these things I have mentioned do not apply in every circumstance. Or perhaps some of you have already taken the steps I have mentioned. My hope is that my experiences may be able to keep even one other person from having to learn these things the hard way. In the end, that’s what is all about. If the prepper community does not endeavor to support and educate each other, we will all suffer in the long run.
This brings me to my final point: people. We all attempt to educate and inform friends and family regarding the world of preparedness. And that in itself is a good thing. What if a young child mentions it to his/her friends? Or a good friend talks to outsiders? Even a spouse with a random comment? This poses two distinct issues. First, people know where to steal from. But have you ever considered political correctness? I hope this inspires you to be very careful before discussing your plans. As sad as it is, you must consider all possibilities in today’s society. Which may, in the long run, be the biggest threat we face. Nature will do as nature does, but people are the most unpredictable thing there is!