Being prepared in brave new California
Being stuck in Tomales without power this last weekend showed me exactly where my preparations were missing important details. With climate change bearing down on us, this is our new reality. So I thought I’d share what I learned, some of it was surprising
- Get an emergency radio. It is absolutely terrible not having any information about what is going on. Does that thick smoke billowing my way mean a fire is coming? Is there a town nearby that has power? What stores are open? I thought a cell phone would work, but when there is no power, there is no cell signal, so it’s essentially a brick.
- Get UPS for your Wifi router — see above, it’s a way to get information. When power goes out it goes out for three or four days so I would keep the wifi off most of the time and turn it on when you want to get information
- Make sure you have good N95 masks, for yourself and for neighbors who don’t realize until it’s too late they really need them. It’s all fun and games until you start coughing, sneezing and heaving.
- No electricity means that even if you’re on municipal water supply you may have no water, because they may lose power and could run out of backup power. My AirBnB host kept jugfuls of frozen water in her freezer, and took them out to keep the fridge cool and then she had water. Genius.
- No water means no flushie. That was particularly concerning. My host had a pond full of non-potable water and we carried buckets to the toilet. But most of us don’t have that. So I ordered a portable toilet (essentially a bucket with bags and treatment gel).
- Canned food. It lasts forever, you can eat it cold, and it contains water
- If you don’t have them, get candles. Electric ones are better. I also got this LED lantern that you can use to illuminate a space.
- If you have an electric car, like I do, get a backup battery. I got stuck in Tomales because I was going to charge my car overnight and then they cut power. Luckily I found out Petaluma had power and could get out, otherwise I would have been stuck there for at least three days.
We have grown up depending on a grid that is not going to do well under the strains of climate change. We’re all going to have to adjust…