Thursday, 22 September 2011

epershand: Commie Batman swoops in! (Commie Batman!)
Currently working from home while the maintenance guys from my building management company replace my hot water heater and (surprise!) my doorbell. But have definitely been thinking about emergency preparedness in general.

At [personal profile] sassbandit's going-away party, a big group of us wound up settled in the living room talking about emergency preparedness and how our different backgrounds led us to think about it differently. One woman had lived through a 7.0 earthquake; one man pointed out that as a Londoner, he was prone to thinking of the sort of disasters that halted service as being human-made only, and not something that could come from the earth.

I grew up in an area where power outages were a regular winter event--the combination of windy rainstorms, trees with relatively soft wood, and standing powerlines meant that going for a few days without power over the course of the winter was expected. (This was, of course, after we got back "on the grid"--there were several years of my childhood where we relied on a generator for power on an as-needed basis because the power lines didn't run that far out into the woods.)

All this means that I don't treat electricity as a given. I have candles and matches easily accessible, I try very hard not to live anywhere that depends too much on electricity--gas oven/stove is mandatory, gas water heater is an excellent bonus. In a real post-earthquake situation, of course, the gas lines would likely be out along with (or even sooner than) the electricity, but my model is preparation for power outages.

What I'm not used to substantial preparation for is WATER outages, which is precisely what I've been dealing with for the last twelve hours or so. I turned off the gas and water supply to the hot water heater to stop the leak, but since apparently all cold water as well as hot is piped through that system, I've been completely without running water.

I've had sufficient resources to get me through it in the short term--several glasses of water scattered through the house, a few water bottles, the water left over in the kettle. The standing water in my unwashed pots and pans from dinner two days ago (procrastination WIN) for washing my hands.

I haven't had to dig into the official water supply in my Fancy-Schmancy Earthquake Kit, but I'm suddenly hyperaware of how little water there *is* in that kit, probably half a gallon at the most. So an item that has moved up several notches on my to-do list is to buy a few flats of bottled water for my "in case of emergency" stash.

And if you don't have water on hand, I'd strongly advise you to do the same. Because it *doesn't* take a major disaster to take away your water supply, just as it doesn't take a major disaster to take away electricity. (I've seen probably five DW friends post about water or hot water issues in the last six months, and [personal profile] melusina commented on my previous post that she's going through the same thing right now. It's an entirely mundane occurrence, and if it happens to me again I don't want to have to think about the trade-offs of brushing my teeth.

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epershand

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