Sensible Measures

Today I’m going to talk a little about something most of us take for granted.

Electricity on demand.

See recent utter disaster in Texas, energy capitol of the US. One significant weather event and half the state was plunged into darkness and freezing conditions. It’s terrible.

John Birmingham, one of my favorite authors, wrote a terrifying book called Zero Day Code. A cyber attack by a hostile state pretty much guts the US, and the US retaliates in spectacular fashion. This book is riveting and horrifying at the same time. As I watched the news this week, I thought of his work. See image below.

Pretty disturbing reading.

For those in Texas, the moment to go buy a small, quality generator is too late.

For those of us who can, you may want to consider buying a small backup unit. They are relatively expensive, but so are burst pipes or spoiled food. In addition, you will also want to safely store at least 5G/20L of high-octane gasoline. Finally, you will want a heavy-duty extension cord for whatever appliance or set of lights that you choose to run.

I would suggest that you consult an electrician to find out how to run your furnace with your new generator, or the refrigerator.

Where I live, we usually lose power during violent summer weather events. Our record without power was eight days or so. Some people were pretty miserable by the end of that one. However, I am well aware that power outages can happen in the winter, too. One year we lost power on New Year’s Day; I had to start the generator early in the morning at 0F/-18C.

This is why, today, I made sure that our family generator had a fresh battery, gas, and I test ran it for an hour or so. Yeah, it totally shot my writing, but hearing that generator run gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. The feeling that I won’t be swearing and cursing the day that I overlooked sensible measures and maintenance out of laziness.

No, our generator will not defend against Zero Day Code hellish experiences. News flash: nothing will.

However, what it will do is keep us warm for a minimum of 72 hours in the winter. Under most circumstances this will do. I could milk it out for longer, up to a week using only the fuel I have stored, if I ran it only when we got seriously cold. As the article is titled, sensible measures. Not crazy-man stuff.

Even in the city it makes sense to get a generator and then learn how to use it. Learn its quirks and its limitations. Maintain it.

Maintain it. There. I think I’ve said it three times. A generator is USELESS if you can’t get it to start.

Most of the time it just sits there and you feel slightly ridiculous that you own it. Trust me when I tell you: when you need that thing, you will really need it. So take care of it.

Today I will speak of only the generator. It’s a nice to have thing.

I have said nothing about food, water and shelter.

There’s problems with that stuff down south, too. Those of you who are currently unaffected, those who still have the luxury of time and resources, you might want to do a bare minimum of planning for some type of extreme weather event.

Just a thought. I think my readers are a cut above. Y’all are big boys and girls, you can figure it out.

No need for crazy. Just common sense.

4 thoughts on “Sensible Measures

  1. I camp every summer, so I always have about a week’s worth of freeze-dried food and water, plus a camping stove to boil items. I am always suprised when I hear about my friends not have anything but chips and snacks in their pantry.


    • Yeah, for sure. I chose to just talk about electricity; this subject is way too broad for a simple web post. No need to go crazy about things, a small supply of non-perishables, camping gear plus water and you are way ahead of the power curve.


  2. I have a little 2 KVA generator that I bought in 2011 during some decent floods. I have used it 5 times since then for power outages – runs the refrigerators, TV, some light and when necessary the router and XBox. More importantly it runs the espresso machine when we go off grid camping. The ZDC scenario is not one I am prepared for though. Who is…..


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