posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 11:43 AM
My wife's family is all in WV, they were without power for days as well. They live out in the hills, a few miles from the closest town. They have a
well, but their pump has a start load that their gennie wouldn't handle. They had enough power for the fridge, a fan, a lamp, and the computer. They
were cheking on the situation, and the local grocery had to throw out all their frozen food. They wouldn't even give it away, due to concerns over
food-poisoning lawsuits. They had a hard time getting fuel, too, as the gas stations all ran dry, with long lines of people that locals didn't even
know. Most important take-away they got from all this? Secure your water supplies! They had plenty of water, but it was inaccessible. They ended up
going to the creek that runs across a corner of their property for bathing and supplemental water. Ice was non-existent, as was FEMA. After everyone
was freaking out a while, my wife was able to get word to them that they absolutely had to help each other out. They're a bit spread out, but within
50 miles, with a majority of them in the same county. Wasn't practical for those "in the big town" to try to get out to the country, nor vice
versa. The ones in the country got their power back yesterday.
What is appalling to me is the lack of civility that was on full display, and yes, I heard plenty of examples of bad behavior from locals as well as
non-locals up there. Here in Texas, we had Hurricane Ike hit and suffered without power for three weeks. My wife and I have a generator (the only ones
on our street who had one!) and had enough snap to stock up on water, fuel, and extension cords prior to the storm hitting. We ended up being the
neighborhood mayors! After the debacle of the Rita evac, in which many died, we had decided that we would "bug-in" for the next storm. I had 35
gallons of gas in 5-gal plasticans, my neighbors had small amounts for mowers and whatever in little cans, all-in count was 39 gallons in the
neighborhood. I also have two chest freezers in the garage, and everyone came over and put their food in one of them. We ran the gennie from noon to
9pm every day, operating the freezers, the fridge, a fan, and ran a cord to our next-door neighbor to run his fridge, a light, and his fish tank.
Everyone would come over for the 9pm news on the TV, which we ran off a UPS that we charged every day. It'd last for the newscast, then we'd talk
for a few minutes and then go to bed. When FEMA showed up three days later with ice, our neighbors went out and stood in line, and brought a bag for
us. When they got the WalMart gas station got a trucked-in generator to operate their pumps, they started selling their gas for $6.83/gal. They
actually had lines, and something else to think about- no credit cards, cash only. ATMs were down all over, We started running low after ten days, and
the decision was made to give 5 gallons to our next-door neighbor for him to make a fuel run. His cousin had told him they had fuel about 75 miles
away for around $3/gal, and we all pitched in with cash to have him make the run. He took enough to replenish the 30 gallons we needed for fuel, plus
an extra $20, and was back four hours later with 6 full cans, plus a nearly-full tank in his car. We used up nearly all that fuel in the next ten
days, but by that time, we had gas stations open. Once power was restored in our neighborhood 23 days after the storm, my neighborhood went back to
their old ways, people would wave when coming or going, that was about it. But at least we had 3 weeks of being a fairly tight-knit bunch, and we now
have an idea of who is trustworthy in a bad situation. It wasn't "every man for himself" during the emergency, we actually functioned as a team,
with different people cooking each day, everyone helping to clear downed trees, clearing the street the morning after, etc.
Cook all your meat the first day, and leave the cans alone. Use up all the perishables first. I know, it sounds like common sense, but you'd be
surprised how many people were going for cans straight off. If you can, slow-smoke it, it'll last days that way without needing much refrigeration,
just keeping it cool. Boil your water in large quantities if possible, and store in 1 and 5-gal jugs. They're a whole lot easier to carry and pour
from than the 42-gallon water barrels my neighbor struggled with! They have bladders available online for putting in your tub, fill it with a couple
hundred gallons if you know you'll be without for a while. We have a couple of them, they're the source for washing and flushing. Also, don't
forget to lay in a goodly stock of toilet paper. Had to pass out more than a few rolls to neighbors who ran out.
Get to know your neighbors ahead of time, have a neighborhood BBQ, make a plan ahead of time. Assign responsibilities. Have a plan for looking out for
one another. Share, if you see a need and can help. Pool your knowledge to solve problems. Don't act a fool. Stock up now on H2O.