Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Prudent Prepping: Grid Down?

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.  

I've had to change my blog post topic this week, due to the Northern California fire danger and our local Power company's response to the threat.

When The Grid Goes Down
I first mentioned Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and their emergency response plan in this post from May of this year. There were discussions of having to possibly 'power down' sections of North California in the event of a major fire, or at least the threat of a fire based on the conditions at that time. No one was too concerned due to how remote the locations were where most of the fires started, and there was little thought given to the transmission lines (possibly) affected running through the wilderness areas to the urban power users.

Guess what happened this morning? Weather conditions are such that PG&E has announced that 800,000 customers will be affected by a mandatory power outage, and potentially 3 million users could be turned off if there are actual fires. Here is the latest, complete news report from SF Gate:

Neighborhoods Impacted by PG&E Shutoffs
This map shows part of my county, but lucky for me I'm not in the potential blackout zone.

The map below shows the entire Black Out area for Northern California. On this map I'm right at the "O" in the San Francisco. As you can see, major portions of the Coastal Range and Sierra Nevada mountains are affected by this policy.

Because I live in earthquake country and quakes are normally a complete surprise that lasts 30 seconds, I've finally seen what my fellow bloggers experience when storms are forecast: Panic Buying! I watched every generator, half of the larger flashlights, and ALL of the battery lanterns sell off the shelves between 6:01am and 1:30pm at the store I was working in today, and I was asked for lights and batteries All. Day. Long.

One cool thing was that I had several people looking for advice and tips on what to do, and I directed several to this blog for information. I expect to see a big spike in Sawyer Mini water filters and Etekcity LED lanterns, not from me but as Featured Items on Amazon.

Okay, maybe from me.

One of the local counties is recommending people in the affected areas to be prepared for as many as 5 days without power. This is a good time to review preps and convert others to being prepared. Not only did I send people to BCP, I shared my previous orders on Amazon with two co-workers and a customer I've known for several years to show that it's possible to build up supplies while having a reasonable budget. Everyone has slightly different requirements for their families and likes different things, so I don't think it's necessary to show a detailed list. What is important to show are the basics:
  • 1-2 gallons of water per person, per day. This is your minimum requirement.
  • Easy to cook (and acceptable) food for your family. This doesn't need to be fancy, long term storage food either. In fact, if your power goes out for 5 days, emptying out your freezer and fridge might give you enough food for 2-3 days by themselves.
  • Lights for everyone. My recommended lantern produces more than enough light to keep the dark away. Don't forget the batteries!
  • Radio, to keep up on the news. Battery or hand cranked. 
  • Optionally add portable power packs for personal electronics to this list. Cell phones may not have service if the towers lose power and backup generators run out of fuel, but it will temporarily allow for games and reading eBooks.
Of course, this is only if the power is off and there is in fact no fire. If there is a fire, all bets are off and you must evacuate!

It's sad that it takes a crisis to get people to think about taking care of themselves, but there is no time like the present.

Be safe, stay safe, and be ready to explain why you have emergency supplies.

Takeaway And Recap
  • Nothing was purchased this week.
  • Next week I'll have a report on my new water bottle, along with some more prepping news.

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If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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