Hurricane Matthew – What we learned

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It’s been a week since Hurricane Matthew came through and while we did not have the flooding and damage others in our state have suffered, we did learn a few lessons.  We have had friends tease us about being “Preppers” or “Survivalists”. Well, we don’t think of ourselves at either, but we do think about those times when our every day conveniences are taken away for a while. We as a nation are so lucky to have so much.

We started down this path of self-sufficency while living in SoCal.  We were there for the Northridge Earthquake, the Rodney King Riots and various fires (the Lake Piru fire thankfully went away from our home and towards the sea). When the bridges were out and food wasn’t coming in to LA, when the power was out and the phones didn’t work, when the neighbors came together to support one another (which doesn’t often happen in LA), when you were told to drink bottled water until they could verify the water in the municipal system was safe to drink, these things make you stop and think, “If these services were out for an extended period of time, how would I survive?”  Interestingly enough, being transplants to LA, we found many people born and raised in LA were less prepared than those of us that move in. We had our supply kits set aside. They didn’t. They had grown up with these possibilities and were still unprepared.

All that being said, moving out of town and to the country, we decided to become more self reliant. When the power goes out for us, we are further down the priority list for having it restored.  When restoring power for 4000 or 10,000 at one time as opposed to 4 or 5 homes at one time, we end up without it for a few days longer.  Our power actually came back on Monday night.

So, things we learned:

When the power goes out, so does our well pump.  We had water set aside for flushing toilets and rinsing hands and that type of thing.  We had drinking water set aside. Not bad, but we realized as the weekend wore on that we didn’t have enough water set aside for ALL the farm animals (at the moment roughly 175). All the farm animals fared well.  We had plenty of food. Our water supply held out, but like I said before, we were beginning to wonder.

When the power goes out, our freezers that stock all our product go off.  The freezers are fine for 24 hours or so if you don’t open them but time was wearing on.  We had been intending to get a generator, but just never did.  Thankfully, our son had a small one and we could run the freezers one at a time. Then, we were able to get a much larger one that would run several freezers at once. (It also has the capability to run our well pump).  Naturally, not long after we got the generator, the power came back on. But I’m not complaining!


When the power goes out, so do the lights (obviously) but it’s DARK out here.  We have candles. Lots of candles. But we need LOTS more.  Candles burn faster than you think. We have one oil lamp. But we need more. One good thing about the lights being out? We went to bed early. Got some extra sleep which was nice.

We had propane for the gas grill and fuel for the camping stove but it’s a good idea to have extra available. We have plenty of wood, if we would have to resort to wood fires (which would heat our house if necessary). It would be best to have probably about 3 cords cut, stacked and on hand. For food, we should have more canned/dried food on hand.  While having a stocked freezer is great and you should eat that food first, if you are without power for an extended period of time that food will be gone. We should have more easy to open and prepare food – but NOT “prepared foods”. Cook from scratch!

Paper products. Paper towels, paper plates, paper cups, toilet paper.  Need LOTS on hand. When there is no water, you cannot wash. You cannot wash plates, cups, rags. It would be preferable to NEVER run out of toilet paper. And baby wipes/hand wipes.  They offer moisture and a chance to at least wipe hands without water.

Batteries.  We have batteries and several flashlights, but if we are fully dependent on them, we would need more.

One thing we did have, wine.  And that made everything alright. 😉

So, we’re not preppers or survivalist, but we are trying to be prepared for those unforseen events like hurricanes, floods, ice storms, and such. Each of us should be prepared to take care of ourselves and our families and neighbors.



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