Here we are just hours after a major earthquake that has appeared to had reaped havoc upon the Oregon Coast and most likely Northern California and Southern Washington as well. As we continue to listen to the news reports that keep coming in over the radio it becomes clearer to me that this really is a major event. As we situated a little over 50 miles from the fault line it is more than obvious that this major metropolitan area’s has also suffered incredible damage, but as of right now things in my little neighborhood appear to be OK.
As I look upon the shelves set up in my garage I realize that this is the moment I will have to rely upon all of the planning that I did over the last several years. As my wife goes to the bathroom I remind her that water is valuable and only flush if she really needs to do so.
I pull down several items from the top shelf and begin setting up a makeshift kitchen. I have a two burner camping stove that sits up on it’s own expandable legs in which I screw in a 1 pound container of propane. I pull out the stove top coffee percolator, fill it with water and ad coffee which I have always made sure we have plenty of in an event like this.
I learned that having coffee on hand can serve many purposes. It is easy to store and as we drink coffee each day it is rotated constantly to ensure freshness. It also serves as a wonderful way to comfort other’s who may be freaking out right now. Even in good times the idea of sharing a cup of coffee or even tea, which I also have a good supply of, is a social medium that can ease ones burdens.
While the coffee is percolating and smells delicious, I pull down a propane camping heater which is rated for heating 400 square feet, attach a 1 lb propane tank to it, put in two D Cell batteries. Before firing it up I go and visit every area of the house that has a gas attachment and turn off the lever to each. Although I don’t smell gas and it appears that some type of emergency shut off has occurred with the quake, you just don’t know what the future will bring. It is always better to be safe than sorry. After I have checked the furnace, hot water heater, clothes dryer and stove I feel confident enough to fire up the heater.
As my wife returns from the bathroom and comments, “I did not have to flush yet” she comments on the wonderful aroma of the fresh brewing coffee. After just a few minutes we are drinking a cup of coffee and sitting in the warmth of our own garage that is usually cold this time of year.
She tells me “having that camping heater on hand was a great idea”, I tell her that I have another small one also. When we purchased our home one of the features we like were the ceramic counters in the kitchen. We still have a few replacements that are going to work out well to set up the heaters inside the house.
I started our morning conversation with “You know? We really don’t know how long it will take to get back to what we call normal. Based on other events around the country the rebuilding stages can take some time.” “There is a great deal to discuss, but I believe that the first thing that would should touch upon is the subject of food”
So for the next hour we sat and drank coffee and later cooked up some bacon and eggs on the camping stove. We discussed the food we already had in the refrigerator and freezer and thought about how long it would last without power. We agreed that this is the food that we should eat first as to not allow anything to go bad. Being that it is January and temperatures have been near freezing it would also be a good option to figure out a way to move some foods to a safe place in the back yard to keep them cold.
We talked about the use of the emergency generator and how much gasoline we had in the shed out back. We decided that we would only use it to keep certain things charged up like our cell phones and my handheld ham radio batteries and the deep cell truck battery that would supply the LED clear christmas lights. And only if it became necessary would we utilize it to supply power to the small college dorm refrigerator we have in the garage. Typically I would use this just for the purpose of keeping some cold beer on hand.