Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Holes in the Plan

We had a little excitement at the House of Dude last night, and while everything came out clean in the end, it made for a good acid test of our plans and also pointed out some glaring holes in the way we'd been doing things:

When a truck from the local gas utility arrives at your house at midnight, it's never a good sign

My wife was in bed asleep, and I was just putting the house to bed. I was headed outside to check the garage door just as he showed up, which put me roughly 15' away from him and in a perfect conversational position.
Me: "Evening. Can I help you?"

Him: "Your neighbors called and said they smelled gas. Have you smelled anything?"

Internal Monologue: Dad did 30 years with the gas company. I know what gas smells like, and I know what smelling gas means. Luckily, I haven't smelled anything, but my 'This is serious' flag has now been thrown.

Me: "Haven't smelled anything over here. Hope it's minor. Be safe."

Internal Monologue:  Not good, not good.  This could be nothing, this could be 'evacuate the house', this could be even worse than that.
My plans aren't built for this. Our standard mode is to bug in; the house is fairly secure and well-supplied, and we don't leave without good reason. And our bug-out plans are either a 50 mile drive north, or a 200 mile drive south.. neither of which gives me warm fuzzies at dead-up midnight.

I woke up my wife and gave her the brief summary, or as best you can to the half-conscious. We each got a set of clothes together, in case the night got more interesting than it already had. As I was trying to settle back down so I could get some sleep, my brain went into AAR mode, and I start seeing the acid-test outcome of some of our planning.

The Good
It took less than a minute for my wife and I to assemble all the necessities to walk out the door. Another 2 minutes and we could have been dressed and moving. The truck had a full tank of gas and its complement of emergency gear, so our better vehicle was ready to roll. Yay, preparedness!

The Bad
All sorts of holes showed up in our plans. These are being rectified with all speed.

1) We had no specified place to go, if we needed to evacuate. We'd have been looking for a bed on the fly. Luckily, we have family within walking distance, but we'd never considered staying there, because we've always viewed "bugging out" as "leave the county." Alternate plans have been put in place with local family so that everyone has somewhere close that they can go.

2) We need another cat carrier, immediately. We have three cats, and two carriers. In the nearly 3 years we've had that number of cats, we've never actually transported more than two at a time, so it never even crossed our minds. All the rest of their gear is grab-and-go ready, but not that. Again, it's something we could have overcome, but it is a situation that should never have arisen.

3) I need to review our homeowner's policy. If our house had blown up last night, there are several items that I'm fairly sure aren't sufficiently covered. I also need to make sure we have coverage that extends to temporary lodgings, if needed. Renters' or homeowners' policies really should be reviewed regularly, and I'm reminded that I'm due.

Acid tests are pretty scary. They're the single best way to find the holes in your preps, though.

Learn from your mistakes. And from mine, while you're at it.


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