Thoughts after the storm

Greetings from southeast GA.

It’s 61 degrees Fahrenheit here and we’re supposed to be looking at the freezing weather in the rearview mirror now, so I’m going to do a bit of my own personal “lessons learned.” Although I didn’t face any cold-related problems, I did worry about family in other parts of the country. Some have been very sick. Some don’t really worry much about emergency preparedness and this morning I’ve been browsing cold weather car emergency items to send to granddaughters who live in IN, who have cars and drive.

I moved a few plants from outside into my sun room before the storm, pictured above and I have some plants on my front porch that I’ve covered with a sheet (some have some frost damage and some seem fine).

I live in a home in a residential area in southeast GA, that was built in 1994 and we bought it in 1994. While generally I have liked having electric heat, when bad weather happens and now with all the warnings in America about potential grid failures or rolling blackouts, I have some concerns.

There’s a fireplace in my living room that I do not use in the winter, because most years it’s not really cold enough here to use a fireplace regularly and the other issue is my home’s layout is not conducive for a fireplace to be helpful as regular heating. The living room gets nice and toasty, but with that fireplace heat radiating down the hallway, where the thermostat is located, the electric heat doesn’t kick on and the bedrooms and bathrooms become iceboxes. I also choose not to have a wood pile, because it would just be a termite magnet here, considering I don’t use my fireplace. So, I have several boxes of fire logs in my garage, in case of emergency. With this storm I purchased a Big Buddy propane heater to have too. I didn’t need to use either during this deep freeze, because my power did not go out. However, I did run a small portable electric heater in my bathroom to warm it up more before taking showers. Like, I said, no real drama or struggles at my house.

I have a little butane stove to use to heat food and water, in case of emergency, plus a gas grill on my patio and I have a small charcoal grill and bags of charcoal in my garage. I’ve got food and water stocked too and blankets galore. I wasn’t worrying about freezing to death in my home, but I did think about some other things that I should do to be better prepared next time – things I’ve been putting off.

One thing I did before this storm was check the insulation on my AC/heat condenser outside and the outside faucets. I replaced the insulation on my condenser, because it was old and damaged. I bought outdoor faucet covers at Lowe’s and put them on. In 2018, we had a little snow and some unusual freezing temps here too and one morning my pipes were frozen. I hadn’t left a little stream of water running inside, but I learned my lesson. Luckily, I didn’t have any pipes burst, I had plenty of bottled water and the power was on. If we hadn’t had plenty of bottled water, the situation would have been a real problem. Stores here close at the first hint of bad weather and bottled water sells out before storms. I would have had to go to neighbors and ask for water, because it took almost a whole day for the pipes to thaw.

However, I waited from 2018 until weather forecasts in 2022, before a major storm, to purchase outdoor faucet covers, that cost around $4 each. I’ve got some other emergency preparedness things I want to do and instead of procrastinating, I need to get moving and take care of them.

I’m used to family making fun of me and my emergency preparedness efforts, because my husband and kids used to do that before storms, when I would check flashlight batteries and get them out to have ready. They all used those flashlights when the power did go out. Now, our cell phones have flashlights, which is handy, but I still have flashlights and emergency lanterns.

There are some things I want to do to be better prepared, but I have been thinking about family/friends who make fun of “preppers” and also a few things I saw online. With the people who make fun of “preppers” and don’t do a single thing to be prepared themselves, well, all I can say is a “Doomsday prepper” likely has plenty of food, water, a way to keep their home warm and medical supplies, so that even if illness left them “stranded” and unable to venture out – they would have the basics to manage.

I want to try to say this without picking on anyone or being too critical, but here’s the thing – too many people (I’ve been guilty of this too) procrastinate too much. I saw a very nice guy on YT (in the Deep South) talking about their power going off and using a fireplace, but he mentioned tearing apart wood pallets the day before to have for firewood. It’s good he did that, but the day before is cutting it close and I can understand not keeping a wood pile down here, because I don’t keep a wood pile either. What’s way worse is people who live in areas of the country that get snow and freezing weather every winter, yet don’t bother with being prepared for emergency power outages or other winter weather emergencies.

With the economy predicted to worsen in 2023, getting personal finances in order should be on all of our to-do lists. Here’s another procrastination story. I thought about eliminating personal debt for years, but my husband and I didn’t do it. When he was placed on hospice care in January 2020, I was scared and I decided to pay off all of our debt, besides the mortgage. Once I committed to that, it took me a little over a year to pay off all the debt and then I debated for months about paying off the house completely after my husband passed away. I paid it off and I’m glad that I did. I’ve thought many times that we should have done that years ago. How you go about getting your finances in order may be different than how other people do it, but stopping the excuse-making and rationalizations for why you haven’t done it is the first big hurdle.

A lot of times we make up excuses for ourselves to fall back on for why we haven’t made the changes we know we should have made long ago. I’ve been guilty of this so many times myself and I’m trying to just focus on getting started and doing things rather than making up excuses for why I haven’t done a single thing yet or worrying about being called a crazy prepper. The people who do absolutely nothing to get their finances in order or take seriously preparing before a major storm are assuming someone else will come rescue them if there’s an emergency. During hurricane Ian in FL this year and winter storm Elliott this past week, the truth is in a lot of the hardest hit areas, emergency responders couldn’t respond in the midst of the storm. They can’t come help you.

We all have a responsibility to our families and ourselves to be better prepared rather than being lazy and expecting someone else to rescue us. Responsibility – now there’s a word that seems antiquated these days…

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Filed under Emergency Preparedness, General Interest

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