Monday, February 09, 2009

What if......

What if we get snowed in, no power, no central heating.How prepared would you be?
What is the plan?
Do you have one?

On Thursday, school was off and the children went out to play all day in the snow. Oh Joy, no accidents, just clean fun on the top of the hill.

As a business we observed that people who had never used the shop started flocking to it like birds and buying all sorts of items, mainly the ones considered they could not do without. We baked as much bread as was possible and milk flew off the shelves. Then at 10 am, the power went off and we found ourselves in the dark.

The phone worked as we have an old one plugged in ( not digital), but apart from that a hush came over the shop. Out came the flashlights and we made a large sign to put outside to say that we were open. The phone did not stop ringing.With questions after questions we decided the phone had to be manned by a person taking messages. One person was sent off to visit the elderly in the road without power to find out what assistance they needed and the child with a head for figures was placed near the counter to make sums. This worked quite well although the queue outside the door was beginning to be noticed.

Next we found that many wanted to purchase batteries for radios and some foods that required no cooking or at best could be prepared by pouring boiling water on them.

Our main concerns were regarding the cold foods and these were moved as much as possible. There has been a lot of wastage.

Some of the points we noted to be prepared:
  • you need a thermos to keep hot drinks in or hot water.
  • a wood burning stove can help prepare a meal consisting of rice, beans and porridge.
  • cooking during daylight hours is better than by candlelight.
  • central heating needs electricity to start the pump so an alternative heat source is necessary.
  • if no heating, the best place to stay warm is in bed.
  • A digital radio and mobile phones do not work when the power supply is interrupted.
  • A solar torch or windup torch is more efficient than battery operated ones.
  • Candles offer sufficient light.
  • Moonlight on snow is magical and quite sufficient to light your path.
  • Larger suppliers leaving depots far far away are not willing and not able to deliver.
  • Small local suppliers who are used to the road conditions are able to supply goods.
  • You need to have a certain amount of cash available as cash machines need electricity
  • Alarms go off and make a loud noise until they run out of battery ( which can take ages). A set of ear defenders is a must if you have a house alarm.
  • Communities have the ability to work together to ensure survival.

Many of our customers appreciated the shop being there and others who had not considered shopping here previously suddenly realised its importance.

The experience taught us how vulnerable we all become when our comforts are taken away and the children were at a loss in the evening on how to stay entertained as all their initial ideas demanded electricity. Eventually we rediscovered monopoly by candlelight, playing cards and....talking to each other.

Tonight we expect a storm as well as snow....we have replenished stock as much as possible.
How prepared would you be?
A collapse in the financial system and transportation system has repercussions on the food supply chain. We plan to have sufficient energy foods to last 7 days minimum for each person in the household.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Anne, a few points on your post:

Someone without the ability to cook food because of an electric oven may make a simple hobo style cooker out of an old paint tin or similar (best to burn out any paint residues first however before cooking). Using 'indoor' pots and pans I'd recommend smearing with washing up liquid which will protect their surfaces and make them much easier to clean. People cooking on wood stoves should aim to cook over glowing embers, not flame.

With todays central heating, be aware some gas cookers for external use only do produce some nasties which require venting, so when cooking open a window and make sure you're cooking on a fireproof surface.

You can also make lanterns from coke cans - be careful though they can slice your fingers off.