Preppers Vindicated: Part 3

The following set of Real Revo posts are fictional. None of this happened.

Part 1

Part 2

May 7th, 1435: A lot of the media seems to have abandoned their posts. I am still getting news on the Internet and on AM Radio. Very little on television although I am still getting BBC World off of satellite. They are predicting that the virus will sweep the United States and beyond. I think it is more virulent than even the terrorists expected.

Hawaii is still unscathed but an airliner from San Francisco on its way to Oahu was diverted to a remote airstrip on the big island. It is under quarantine. Paramedics are supposedly on the way but for now it is being held at the end of the runway under gun point. They aren’t even letting them open the doors. I can’t imagine the hell inside. I wonder if they will find anyone alive.

May 7th, 1541: I have decided to bring my son, his wife and two children to my house. They are the last people I will let in. We are now eight. Five adults and three children. We only have about a week of diapers for my grandson. I hope we don’t need much more than that.

May 7th, 1942: We are now being told to assume it is everywhere. It has only been 36 hours! Evidently it is spread like flu in general. You have to come in contact with others or objects they were in contact with. It isn’t in the air. We can go outside but we must stay close to the house. We are isolated and have to stay that way.

May 8th, 0023: The Northeast is blacked out. Electric company crews are not coming to work and powerplants needing to reduce output or shut down. That means widespread blackouts including, eventually, here. I will continue to blog for the record even if we lose power.

BBC World is reporting outbreaks in Japan and France. There are bodies in the street in San Francisco. I never thought something like this could happen. It is bizarre. I can still see the lights of my neighbor’s house but he might as well be a million miles away. It is a starry night. I can hear an owl. If I didn’t know better, I would think all was normal. How long will it last? Can we survive locked up like this? I have to tell you, I am scared.

May 8th, 0704: There are sick people five miles from my house. Hospitals are crowded and there isn’t enough protective gear to go around. The radio describes horror everywhere. All this and I still have power and Internet. It is surreal.

May 9th, 0934: Mom said she has been trying to call for hours until she finally got through. Mom and dad are in their church which serves as a food bank. They are with about a dozen other people. The power is out and they are sealed in a sweltering oven. They are turning people away who are begging to get in. Some are threatening violence but so far, no one has attacked them. They say the scene outside is ugly. Quiet streets except for an occasional car speeding here or there. She is scared the water will stop. I told them to fill every container they can find. I don’t suppose there will be cellular connectivity much longer. Then I won’t know what happens.

May 9th, 1025: My wife, daughter and daughter-in-law have inventoried everything we have. We have food for at least two months. Three if we conserve. That was based on my plan for a year for the three of us who live here. I pray I won’t need three months of food.

A lot of the food is in our freezer. I don’t know how long we can keep that frozen. I have a generator but how long per day do I have to run it to keep the meat frozen? I really don’t know and I don’t know how long I will need to run the generator. We are going to eat the frozen food first.

All I can say is thank God it isn’t the dead of winter.

May 9th, 1345: I just got off the phone with a neighbor. Everyone is pretty stressed out. He thinks they have enough food to be inside for four or five days. He doesn’t have a generator at all. I don’t see how thing is going to be over in in four days. I didn’t know what to tell him. He asked about my food supply and I lied. I told him I also have only four or five days. I feel like shit. He is a friend. What can I do? I can’t feed everyone. Hell, I can’t even go see him face-to-face.

May 9th, 1644: I have been trying to call mom. Can’t get through. I am really stressed out about my folks.

May 9th, 1709: Well, the power is off. They are saying on the radio that they were below staff limits to keep some plants open. There is some kind of a plan for rolling blackouts so we shall see how long it will last. I am on laptop battery and posting via cell phone. I doubt that will last much longer.

May 9th, 2204: Someone knocked on our door and I shouted that they had to go away. It turned out that it was a woman from my church. She was crying that she couldn’t go home for some reason… something about sickness there. She begged us to let her in. We couldn’t. She sat on our step and wept for what seemed like an hour. And then she went away in the darkness. I feel like shit. I don’t know if I can do this…

Coming Up: Part 4

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17 Responses to Preppers Vindicated: Part 3

  1. Rockheim says:

    Good reading so far.. And definitely thought provoking. Especially the part about friends and neighbors.
    What do you do? It’s one thing to take the cold, analytical look at things.. It’s another to hear them sobbing on the other side of the barred door. And in the case of a sick neighbor banging to get in.. What surfaces and objects have they contaiminated?
    The generator is also an interesting subject. I have a 17kw gas powered affair. It’ll run the whole house. But it isn’t exactly “thrifty” with the fuel. It has a built in governor that will throttle down a bit under lower loads.. But it’s definitely a “we have no power for a few days but access to civilization” not a “holy crap this is all we have to survive for a month or longer” job.
    Perhaps there is a need to have a second small generator that will ONLY run the freezer.. Those are only a couple hundred bucks and will run for 7+ hours on a couple gallons.
    Not only is all of this good to read but it makes you start to think about things that you may not have considered before..

  2. fubar says:

    great idea, Rockheim, about the second generator, I was thinking along the lines of canning meat, but your idea is better.

    great read, I’m biting my nails here waiting for the next installment.

  3. Rockheim says:

    Also.. Cell phone service. In most places as long as there is power you’ll have cell service. In many cases even without it you will. The wireless networks are pretty fault tolerant. Hurricane Katrina introduced standards that mandate at least 8hrs of battery backup at the cells.. Most of us have at least 30%+ penetration with generators that will run for 48 hours or more on their generators. And in the event of natural disasters we have portable generators we deploy to the field. A dozen or so in every locality as well as contracts with various vendors to get in dozens more. In a scenario such as this I believe you’ll see the need for these addressed before everything falls apart. Meaning they’ll be deployed before everything falls to pieces.
    The Central offices and swtiches that terminate all the circuits and handle traffic also have significant battery and generator backup.
    A couple days without power is no big deal. Rolling blackouts will be easily handled.
    A week without power and you’ll see areas lose coverage. Rural areas are a crapshoot. Key sites along interstates and other main through roads have generator backup and many rural sites are little sites that will run for days on batteries.
    I have sites on the south side of Chicago that will kill their batteries after 9 hours.. I have sites on the Indiana/Illinois border that will milk 50-60 hours out of those same battery stacks.
    And in the case of limited generators we’ll plug/charge/run.. Meaning we’ll hook up to a site for 2-3 hours.. get it to 80% of battery charge then hit the next site to do the same.
    It would be interesting to see how “essential seervice” employees will deploy and remain in the field in such a scenario.

  4. R.D. Walker says:

    The small generator is interesting but how many hours can you get out of a small engine before it burns out? It couldn’t last more than a month, could it?

    If you have a big LP tank, this might be the way to go.

  5. Jim22 says:

    RE small gasoline powered generators: Honda makes one of the best – whichever model you choose – but Yamaha makes just as good a product and they are frequently cheaper.

    The real advantages to them are that they are really economical on fuel; much more so than the cheaper models. Also they have good mufflers. Quiet is a virtue if you have a generator and your neighbor doesn’t.

    As far as life expectancy of the generators I think the same thing holds true with them as with cars and trucks: diesels last at least twice as long as gasoline engines. Of course diesels are more expensive to buy.

  6. Roy Ryder says:

    Good reading, RD. I’ve avoided the intertubes this past week so as to focus on family and eating too much, and I’m glad I waited to read this. It would have put a cramp in my guts out of concern (not fear, mind you, but concern). This reads like some of the better stuff available on for the Kindle. You should consider expanding this to an actual book.

  7. notamobster says:

    One need not run a generator all day to keep their fridge and freezer cool. Remember this.

    You can also buy a plug in thermostat control (kegerator control):

    Micro Matic E26 Mechanical Thermostatfor 120V/

  8. notamobster says:

    Also, the easiest way to wire your generator into your house quickly is to replace the female end of your extension cord, with a male connector. Then, try different outlets to figure out which pole you’d like to power. Backfeed the electricity into your home through your chosen outlet.

    Always make sure that your main is disconnected! If not, power will leech to anyone else on within a reasonable distance (next door neighbor, etc). No sense in giving away power.

  9. R.D. Walker says:

    “No sense in giving away power.”

    Or electrocuting power company crews who think the line is powered down.

    You gotta be careful with that approach, however. You could easily overload a circuit and start a fire.

    I have a transfer switch, draw from both sides of the generator and send power though the breaker box. Furthermore, it prevents me from backloading. I did what you said with a double male ended four prong 220 volt cord. I have special input on the back of the house. Roll out the generator, plug in the cord to the house and the generator and flip the transfer switch. Power to the furnace, the kitchen, the lights in the living room and the main bath.

  10. R.D. Walker says:

    Thanks Roy. More to come.

  11. notamobster says:

    You could easily overload a circuit and cause a fire.

    Absolutely. I go into a plug in my pantry, which feeds my freezer and 3-4 lights throughout the house (total amperage draw is minimal and protected by the 25 amp circuit breaker I’m plugged into). I have to switch to a plug in another room to power my water pump.

    I didn’t include the electrocution aspect because of the subject matter. Systemic power less and all that…

  12. R.D. Walker says:

    Agreed. In the scenario it wouldn’t matter.

    A few years ago, however, my house and two others were out of power due to branches down following an ice storm. When the repair crews heard my generator, they wouldn’t do anything until I shut it down… transfer switch or not.

  13. Rockheim says:

    Also make sure that you have all your other breakers turned off.. You may only want to power that Fridge but if you still have lights, computers, stereo’s, wall warts, etc plugged in they are going to try to draw power as well putting you into an overload situation quickly.
    Theoretically the breaker your feeding should trip first.. But better safe than sorry.

    I currently backfeed with my generator from the 70a receptacle for the arc welder in the garage when I need it. But… as the saying goes.. I am a trained professional.. Don’t try this at home… and actually lock out/tag out our main when putting the house on generator.

    Also of interest.. Frost. Do you still have a freezer with 3 inches of frost accumulation? That has to hold the temps for quite a while as well..

    Aside about the cellphones.. Everyone should have one of those backup/spare battery power device to charge your phone.. Not the rechargable ones.. But the cheapo’s that take a couple AA’s and can be used to charge your phone in a pinch..

  14. notamobster says:

    Rock – there’s always this option: Survival Tips: Cook & Power Gadgets When The SHTF!

  15. Rockheim says:

    THAT THING was awesome. I showed that one to the Mrs’es.. Cool as all get out.

  16. Ray Davies says:

    Helluva good story Mr. Walker. You ought to think about getting this into book form. You can keep the diary but just expand everthing else going on. When you get it done you might think about
    HarperCollins Authonomy website:
    Keep up the good work,you have a following. Where you at,anyway?

  17. R.D. Walker says:

    Thanks Ray. I am in Iowa.