What to do when there is no running water to flush a commode
There was a topic left out of POOF’s emergency preparedness article. I realized my mistake, but before I could insert an addendum . . . the power went out several hours before Hurricane Irma actually reached here.
Our forecast from the National Weather Service was “moderate rain . . . winds 25 mph to 35 mph, gusting to 45 mph. Even as violent winds were knocking out our communications infrastructure, the NWS Emergency Radio Transmission continued to play a recording of this bogus forecast. Their excuse is that “executive budget cuts three months ago forced elimination of night shifts to monitor changing weather conditions.”
However, Irma pitched a hissyfit when she rammed up against the Blue Ridge Mountains and a cold front hanging over the mountains. The winds were something akin to waves crashing on a beach. The down drafts were especially destructive . . . knocking down two cellular telephone relay towers that were designed to withstand 150 mph. horizontal winds. So most of this region has been without electricity, land line telephone and internet service for several days. Cellular phone service has been iffy. Since most people get their water from wells, that also means that they have had no running water . . . unless they live near a spring. LOL
The banks lost their communication links with their central computers in the main offices, so they could not give people cash from their checking or savings accounts at the same time that stores were only doing cash transactions, because their communication links were down. Most gas stations were inoperative because of the lack of electricity to run their pumps. Those that were open could only accept cash.
This situation illustrates one of the greatest dangers caused by the centralization of financial institutions, communication systems and executive decision-making. Knock out communication links and an entire region . . . or even the nation . . . will become financially paralyzed. Again as in the case of the 2008 Crash, what is best for Wall Street is not what is best for the rest of the United States.
Municipal water systems generally do not shut down unless struck by a flood or a major hurricane like Katrina, Harvey or Irma. However, rural folks have no water when there is no electricity. I was astounded to see an interview of a family in Beaumont, Texas complaining that they could not flush their commodes and had no place to go to the bathroom in their yard, because it was exposed to views by their neighbors and surrounded by flood waters.
The solution is simple. Store as much water as possible before the storm, or if given no warning store rain water. All you have to do is pour about a half bucket of water directly into the commode and it will flush. If you are surrounded by flood waters, just grab a bucket of dirty flood water and FLUSH YOUR COMMODE! That dirty flood water is not nearly dangerous as allowing a commode to fill up with human waste.
Keep a battery operated digital clock
This is something that I forgot about, even though I had a small LED clock from my two years of living off the grid. When I realized that I didn’t know what time it was and there was no way to find out. It was too late. The battery was dead and since the cellular phones were knocked out, no one had a way of knowing the time except by flagging down a foreman for the workmen feverishly trying to clear the trees from main highway with bulldozers.
I must say that the Georgia Department of Transportation did an incredible job of clearing the roads. The trees were pushed out of the way with heavy machinery, so that secondary crews could come by later in the day and cut them up with chain saws. However, we still have many rural county roads with electric lines laying on them. Much of the rural part of the region will be without power for several more days. I was very fortunate to be fairly close to a designated emergency highway escape route. My power came back on last night.
Fluorescent sky and cold downdrafts
I went out into the storm when the crashing of trees woke me up around 3 AM. Obviously, something was wrong because 25 mph winds don’t knock down trees. The sky was glowing like a fluorescent light, even though we were in a blackout because a electrical sub-station had blown up. Apparently, Hurricane Irma’s ferocity was in part due to many charged particles being suspended in its clouds. Yet there was no lightning.
Periodically, the gentle, warm winds from the east were suddenly pierced by extremely cold air coming straight down at a high velocity from the stratosphere. When one of these downdrafts came near my cabin, if felt like walking into a freezer locker. Afterward for several minutes the winds would blow violently in all directions. I guess you could call these violent downdrafts, air bombs.
Thoughts on being inside a crisis
Looking out the window at night and seeing pitch black, because of the lack of artificial illumination and the moon, was scary to a lot of people in urban and suburban areas. Having lived off the grid for two years, I was used to it and of course, had several wind-up generator powered or solar powered lights, if needed. Nevertheless, when people have become addicted to their cellular phones, smart phones, I-pads and electric-powered conveniences, it makes them very vulnerable to making illogical decisions . . . like welcoming a fascist dictatorship. It is very clear that the United States needs to get away from dependence on regional power grids and centralized financial data systems. If homes generated most or all of their electrical energy and stored all their rainwater, such crises as we have been experiencing over the past few weeks in the Southeast and Gulf Coast would have been far less traumatic.
As for as flood prone areas along the Gulf Coast goes . . . it would be far less expensive to provide each home with a $30 inflatable raft than to pay for frantic rescues by helicopters and swamp boats after the fact. There would also have been far fewer deaths during Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey.
These all are matters of National Security . . . in its truest since. Are you listening FEMA?
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