Reflecting on 2012, Preparing for 2013

Every New Years I like to take some time to reflect on what has happened over the past 12 months and evaluate my Preps for the year ahead.  As this year comes to a close I consider myself very lucky that I was not one of the many caught up in the multiple disasters that hit this country.  I also see that there’s a decent chance some type of emergency situation could affect me and my family in 2013.

In 2012 the U.S. was hit by a massive drought, powerful tornadoes, snowstorms, and one of the worst hurricanes to hit the country in years.  In total, tens of millions of people were affected.  The coming year most likely brings similar events our way and while we all hope they will not be as severe, we have to prepare for them to be as bad or worse.  This is just Prudent and Reasonable.

So as I evaluate my own situation and try to prepare for the most likely disaster situations (in my part of the country this would probably be an earthquake) I’m also trying to learn as much as possible from events we’ve all just witnessed.  Some things you can plan for or prevent, others you can’t.  For example if you live in tornado alley there is little you can do to prevent a tornado from striking your home.  However, you can have a storm shelter to protect your family and stored supplies.  If that’s not possible for whatever reason (perhaps you live in an apartment) then you could consider keeping supplies at a storage unit some distance away.

While there’s nothing we can do about weather patterns we can still prepare for the worst and have a backup plan.  One thing we learned from Superstorm Sandy was how vulnerable the power grid is.  After the storm it wasn’t long before supermarket shelves started filling up again and while there may have been a few tenuous days for some, there didn’t seem to be a big food shortage.  However millions were without power for days or even weeks.  As I’ve said in the past, loss of electricity is perhaps one of the biggest threats to our way of life.  Without it, everything breaks down.

I’m pretty confident in the food I have stored as well as my ability to purify water.  I’ve spent the last couple of years learning about first-aid and stocking up on the necessary supplies to be self sufficient for a few months if need be.  I’ve also got the firearms and firearms training I need to be self sufficient (we’ll see in the coming months if I’ll be allowed to keep my guns…).  The one area I’m probably weak in is the ability to live comfortably for an extended period of time without electricity.

I live in a moderate climate so heating my home is not a big issue (plus I have a fireplace) but a generator and probably an investment in a good size solar system are on the list for me.  I have a few friends that went through Sandy and the one with a generator was considerably more comfortable than the rest.  Even a small size generator can usually put out enough juice to keep your refrigerator running, power some lights, and give you the opportunity to recharge cell phones and the like.  They’re not all that expensive anymore either.

A larger solar system is a much bigger investment, especially if you want one with batteries so that you can run off grid.  All things considered I think it may be worth the money for the piece of mind and ability to remain self sufficient and not reliant on a power grid that is stretched to capacity, getting old, and all too vulnerable to cyberattack.

In 2013 I will be looking very closely at the grid and what I can do to prepare myself for its failure.

~ Butch

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One Response to Reflecting on 2012, Preparing for 2013

  1. I was told by two sales associates at Sears that their generators will go on sale in late spring/early summer, and the model I want will be marked down approximately $150. That’s the current marketing plan anyway. I can’t guarantee that, but I’m waiting to see. I happen to enjoy and own a lot of Craftsman and Briggs & Stratton “stuff” so I want to get a gasoline generator from them as well. I’ve never found fault in any of it.

    Having said that, I fantasize about a solar system. Timing is more of an issue for me as I’ll have to relocate in a couple years. I’m really hoping I can wait that long because I don’t want to shop around, buy, install, and use a solar system only to dismantle and try to ship it somewhere else.

    The poorly fabricated grid is one of my biggest concerns, however, and all would be wise to implement some alternative energy features. My five year plan includes the construction of a home (in five years) with a geothermal system so that I always have cool or warm air, choice dependent, and hot water. A geothermal system requires a pump, but that can be easily powered from solar energy. Having enough solar power to run a good sized refrigerator and chest freezer are also on my to do list within that time frame. Frankly, I’m more concerned with keeping my home cool than I am warm. I only “need” heat about two months of the year, and I supplement my electical-fed central heat and air with gas Dearborn heaters. My cooktop and hot water heater are also gas, and around here I’ve never known the gas to go out. Sure, it could happen, but I feel that electricity is the more fragile energy source.

    I’m concerned about firearms – not only keeping them, but being able to buy repair parts and ammunition. I want to get my hands on some parts kits for my most used firearms and continue to stock up on ammunition – both of which are very difficult to find right now.

    Recently, I made a wish list on Amazon (a good way to find and keep track of prepping needs) that addresses medical supplies. There are a few better sources, i.e. cheaper (although Amazon is cheap!), but I can view and prioritize my needs that way. This is an area where I am better stocked with knowledge than supplies to the point I know how to improvise. However, I hope to increase my medical supplies this year as I fear pandemic as much as I do grid failure.

    A goal on my radar right now that will soon be completed I hope is securing my current residence in the already “safe” suburbs. I want to swap my wooden exterior doors for metal ones including metal frams and bar at least the side and back windows. This is a “light” investment that I’m more than willing to make here.