After a very relaxing week of vacation in Williamsburg, my family headed up to WV to spend a week at my parent’s home. As we were leaving Williamsburg, I got a phone call from my Mom (who was in Ohio at the time) saying she had heard there was a bad storm in WV and power was out in many places and wasn’t sure what we would find when we got to their house. My husband and I tend to be optimistic, so we assumed that even if the power was out, it would be back on by the time we made the four hour trip to their home. WE WERE WRONG! The closer we got, the more crowded the gas stations and restaurants were. Electricity was becoming more and more scarce and we were seeing signs of serious damage…spotty, but damage nonetheless.
When we pulled onto my parents road, this is what we saw:
Seven trees uprooted and a yard (4 acres) FILLED with tree branches, the size of trees. It looked like I would imagine a tornado to look.
It was one of the craziest things I have ever seen! Although the yard was a disaster, the house was barely touched. One piece of flashing was loose on the front of the house…that is it. Not one chair flew off the deck. Not one basket of flowers tipped over. Not one hanging basket fell. We attribute it to the hand of God…Nothing else.
The power was indeed off, for 11 days to be exact. We learned A LOT in the 8 days we were there helping clean up the mess and vacationing (yes, vacationing…one of the most memorable trips ever).
Most of all, we learned to be THANKFUL.
-Thankful that my parents were ok and weren’t at home for the storm. People lost their lives in this storm. -Thankful we had a generator.
-Thankful for food and water.
-Thankful for help. My sister and her family were there and so was my brother and his family. “Many hands make light work!”
-Thankful for wise men who thought to get gas before the stations ran out.
-Thankful for so much more!!!!
We also learned that we need to be more prepared for something like this. My Better Half was an Eagle Scout and just has a lot of common sense so he handled this situation beautifully! I’ve compiled a list of things I think are necessities for an extended power outage and disaster like this one.
1. CASH – Without power and phone access, credit or debit cards were useless. Cash was needed to make gas purchases and anything else we needed.
2. WATER – With temperatures over 100 degrees that week, drinking water was so very important. Water to pour in the toilet so it can be flushed and water for cleaning are necessities as well.
3. NON PERISHABLE PROTEIN – Peanut Butter and canned beans are good sources of protein and are great for a situation like this.
4. BASIC FIRST AID SUPPLIES – Bandages, alcohol, peroxide, and an antibacterial ointment are all good to have on hand when cleaning up a mess or for any mishap.
5. FLASHLIGHTS or LANTERNS – When street lights are out, it gets really dark at night. Make sure you have some flashlights and batteries or lanterns and fuel for them.
6. PROPANE BURNER – We used this all week long to cook for the family. It was fabulous to have a cooked meal after a long day’s work! Obviously you will need to have propane bottles on hand as well. Don’t forget the pot to cook in, too!
7. SOAP, WIPES, SANITIZER, and TOILET PAPER – You know why, right?! Things get pretty nasty in 100 degree temps…this IS a necessity!!
8. FUEL – My Better Half quickly thought of this and went to the nearest gas station that still had gas and filled up our van and gas cans to run the generator. This was priceless as the week progressed. Without gas in your tank, you can only get so far if you are trying to get out of the area. We saw people stranded at gas stations. The gas stations were either out of gas or not running on generators and the people’s cars were out of gas and couldn’t make it to the next station.
9. GENERATOR – I am listing this as a necessity although I know MANY people did just fine without one. We were EXTREMELY BLESSED to have one and have fuel to keep it running. We were able to flush toilets, have lights at night, and save everything that was in the freezers and refrigerator. It’s important to run your generator regularly to make sure it has no issues when a situation like this arises.
10. PATIENCE – Everyone responds differently during a situation like this. Some consider it good practice. Some, a great adventure. Others…just no fun at all. Be patient with one another. It can be a great memory making experience.
These are 10 things I am going to put in my stockpile for situations like this one. I hope we never have to go through anything worse than this, but I hope I will be more prepared if we do!