The Pacific Northwest recently learned a very hard lesson about what a real downed power grid would look and feel like. A devastating windstorm swept through western Washington and eastern Washington before hitting north Idaho. Falling trees took out utility poles by the dozen, snapping them in two. The devastation left hundreds of thousands without power and because the damage was so extensive and so widespread, thousands of people went without power for a couple of weeks. They were not prepared and have suffered dearly.
Many preppers assume they are prepared, but in reality, a massive power grid failure is more than they could have ever comprehended. It isn’t just a couple of houses that are without power for a few days. Check out some of the things that happened in the days and weeks following the windstorm and how you can learn from the ill-prepared folks in the area.
1-Rural homes on their own wells could not get water. This meant they didn’t have water for themselves or their animals. Some people had the requisite 3 days of water on hand, but once that was gone, they were in a bad place.
2-Grocery stores were sold out of water within hours—that is the ones that were open. Most of the stores did not have electricity and closed up shop altogether. A couple of the smaller ones used calculators and sold what they could—it didn’t last long. And that was on a cash only basis. No ATMs were working and many of the banks were closed because they had no power.
3-The gas stations had no power, meaning no gas could be pumped. For the people that had generators, they couldn’t buy fuel to keep them running. Sure, there were towns 20 to 50 miles away that had some limited supplies, but for the folks that didn’t have enough gas in the car to get there, they were in trouble.
4-Canned food was wiped out in a matter of days. People were using campstoves to cook on, but it wasn’t long before they ran out of propane. Without refrigeration, food in the refrigerators and freezers was spoiling faster than people could eat it.
5-The cold became a major concern for those who did not have wood heat. Many people were forced to take refuge in hotels 50 miles away because local motels had no vacancies. Guess what? Most hotels do not take pets, which meant pets were left to fend for themselves. Animal shelters were quickly filled with pets who had ran off in the storm due to downed fences and those who felt they had been abandoned.
This is just a glimpse of what small town life looked like in the days following the major storm. This is something everybody can learn from. With the weather so unpredictable, it is a must that every person thinks long term when prepping food, water and other basic supplies. It can happen anywhere. Never assume you are ready. Always add more food and other preps and be prepared to ride out an extended power outage.