Living Your Own T-REX / SHTF Scenario
An after action report by Fox519
As most of you know, in the Redoubt we had a whopper of a storm come through on Wednesday this last week.
It was apocalyptic. Whole neighborhoods were severely damaged by the storm.
In the aftermath of the storm, several things happened:
There were a large number of people without power, and still are, at the time I write this article.
Due to the loss of power and damages, cell phone towers were jammed and calls couldn’t get through due to people checking in on other people. I couldn’t get a call into home to check on the status of my family, but my portable HAM radio worked.
Within hours, literally hours after the power was out, looters were being reported by the community to local law enforcement. I had my own experience with this, and I’ll tell you about it later.
Water in the utility district I live in is now being rationed. Due to the lack of power, pumps cannot run, and therefore, cannot fill the local cisterns. In other water districts close to mine, there is no water at all. This has caused a relative panic to set in. I say it was “relative” due to the fact that it was isolated to certain neighborhoods and mainly related to gasoline shortages and water shortages.
I want to share with you my insights from my 48-hour experience and how I plan to improve my SHTF scenario.
Concerning the Loss of Power
We had this one covered but many, many folks didn’t.
I left work at 17:10 and didn’t arrive home till 18:50 due to the loss of power in the traffic signals. I normally arrive back at my farm at 17:45. The loss of power and downed trees and power lines caused traffic to be tremendously backed up, and because of the backups and road closures, I couldn’t take either of my two alternate routes home. Local law enforcement had both of those blocked out.
Fox519 action item # 1 will be to find several more additional routes home.
When I arrived home, Mrs. Fox519 had already switched to our outdoor kitchen and was using it to cook food. We primarily use a propane stove, along with two rocket stoves, in the case of the loss of propane.
We immediately hooked up our 8700 watt generator to our fridge and freezers and had it running. There is nothing worse than losing last year’s hunt due to a power outage.
Now I was kicking myself through this process due to the fact that I didn’t have my solar panels already in place. I have my panels. I have my charge controller, my batteries, and my cable. I just haven’t hooked them up.
Bad move on my part, so this will be a Fox519 action item # 2 on our list of things to complete.
I left my farm to go assist my father and brothers in storm clean-up. Their homes are 5 minutes away from mine. Just a side note – we purposefully planned to live close to each other so we could mutually assist each other if and when we have SHTF problems.
Power was out at Grandma and Grandpa Fox’s house, as well as at my brothers. They had a major, major issue. They don’t have alternative means of generating power. This is an action item for them.
As Grandma Fox put it, “This was really bad planning on their part that constituted an emergency on someone else’s part”. Needless to say… solar panels and a generator are on the way.
Others in the surrounding neighborhoods of my brother were even less prepared. Their typical biases seriously affected them, and only a few “hunters” and hard core “RVers” even had generators or other means of power production and fuel to go with them. The neighborhood where my brother lives is still without power as I write, and though I have loaned them a smaller generator, many of his neighbors have lost the food they have in their freezers and fridges.
The other item under this category that was very interesting was that I worked till 0100 hours clearing debris from other homes in my area, and afterwards, I took several of my gas cans to get fuel at 0115, and when I arrived at my local fuel pumps… it was packed with people!
The local burger joint was packed too! Cars were lined up around the parking lot to get food. There were lots of people who had no other means of alternative cooking!
The only thing I can figure was that everyone was tired and hungry from the clean-up efforts, so they went for fuel and burgers. But there were many people just like me who were picking up extra fuel “just in case”.
As a side note… I keep and store a large quantity of fuel with sta-bil in it for just this situation. I figured that it was late enough at night to not be interrupted, but Fox519 isn’t always right…and Mrs. Fox519 can attest to that!
Concerning the Loss of Communications
Cell phones and cell phone systems were down for a short time, but that didn’t affect us. Early on in our prepping plans, Mrs. Fox519 and I decided to make sure we had a robust communication system, and it paid off this time. I always carry a Wouxun KVD-1UP with me, as well as I have a car top antenna. The range on it is fair, and it really did the job this time around.
While I was stuck in traffic, I tried to call Mrs. Fox519 on my cell phone, and it didn’t go through. I texted, but I wasn’t sure that it reached her. She obviously knew that there would be problems and turned on her radio and our base station at home.
It worked like a charm.
We were able to communicate and lay out our strategy for the evening and through the next day. This took a huge weight off my mind knowing that she and our little Foxes were doing ok. Grandma and Grandpa Fox also had their radios on, and we were all able to coordinate the clean-up efforts between the houses!
Now once I arrived home, I turned on our CB and our HAM base station and set both to scan… no traffic in the local area… no one using MURS, no talk-abouts being used, no other HAM users… nothing local to my area of the Redoubt… and to top it all off, the cell system was jammed up!
Here is the # 3 Fox519 action item: Establish a regular net with a comms group for my area!
By the way … if you’re a listener and you’re in the North Spokane / Deer Park area… contact me at Fox519@RadioFreeRedoubt.com, and we’ll connect and get a net going.
Concerning the Reports of Looting
Like I said above, within 3 hours of the power going out… the local law enforcement had reports of looters. I found this absurd that this was happening so quickly until I had two experiences with them.
The first incident was when I was headed to Grandpa and Grandma Fox’s house to help with their clean up.
As I pulled onto their dirt road, a real nasty child molester white panel van was pulling out… Now I know all the neighbors that live around our area and these guys didn’t belong. This probably wasn’t my smartest idea, but I pulled my car in front of their vehicle to block it and got out and stood behind my engine block for cover and asked why they were back there.
Their response was typical, and they told me they were driving around and looking at the destruction.
I told them (very forcefully) that if they didn’t live around there, they needed to leave… now. They asked me what my problem was, and I told them I they didn’t want to find out, and they should move on now.
I wrote down their license plate and got back in my vehicle and followed them off the road and back to the main road. I immediately called the Sheriff’s Department, who said they would take it under advisement and would try and get to it when they had a moment.
I immediately called Mrs. Fox 519 to ensure that she was properly armed, and to double check the locks on the chains for our generator.
All was well. I didn’t worry much about those two, but it was the next situation.
At 0400 hours I got up to go check on the status of our generator to make sure it was still filled with fuel.
When I got to the farm yard, where I had the generator chained up, I began to fill it with fuel when I saw a pair of headlights begin to proceed very slowly down my ¼ mile driveway. I stopped my fueling and called the Sheriff’s Department to see if they had units in area. They didn’t. I called our local utility to ask the same thing… they didn’t either.
By this time the car was 150 yards from me, and I knew that this wasn’t anyone that was a friendly. I pulled my weapon and stepped halfway into the light so that the car could see me, but I still had cover.
I made it very clear that I had my gun drawn, and I was at the low ready position should I need to fire.
The car immediately backed up and backed up more rapidly after I began moving towards them. The car sped away and pulled out of my driveway. It was a rush, but it was scary, and the thought immediately was, “It has only been 18 hours without power… and criminals are already scoping out houses and looking for opportunities already…”. I am darn sure it was the generator noise that attracted them; noise can work for you and against you.
I stayed up the rest of the night in the house at a place where I could listen and hear for any cars pulling into the driveway. During these quiet moments, I came up with another Fox519 action item # 4. Get an early warning system put in place should your team not be in place to guard your retreat.
This was a harrowing experience, and really caused me to take a good hard look at my security plans and the holes I have in them. Praise God everything went well.
Concerning the Loss of Water and the “Relative” Panic Created by It
Water obviously is a big, big issue, and without it, life ceases… and as far as water, we aren’t in that dire of a situation yet. But since our water district has lost power to their pumps, they are having a hard time keeping water pressure up. They are now asking everyone to conserve water. They have asked for us to limit doing laundry, as well as bathing. This is forcing the residents of my area to severely limit how much water we are using.
However, there is an area close to my part of the Redoubt that doesn’t have any water right now… it’s small, but the group of people who live there, upon hearing the news, went to the local Albertsons and Fred Meyer/Kroger and cleaned them out of water! Those stores have restocked since I wrote this, but it still showed that losing water can cause immediate panic.
Now … in this circumstance, my Foxes and I had this covered, and there is plenty of drinking water to be had, and we even have pumps to pull water off the river to be able to do laundry, should the need arise!
Water is life, our Lord told us so… And this experience just proved that in any circumstance, you have to make sure you have plenty of water! Nothing would be more horrific than watching my little Foxes die of dehydration!
All in all this was a great learning experience. Living your own T-REX/SHTF experience is great, it stretches you, it teaches you, scares you and makes you brave. It shows you where the holes in your planning are, and shows you that you must rely on God and yourself to make sure you’re provided for!
I have taken away so many other areas in which I can improve my preparedness plans. I hope all of you will have learned from me as well and will build off of my experiences.
To Summarize, Here are My Action Items
# 1 – Find additional routes home – 2 isn’t enough.
# 2 – Stop delaying, get my solar panels hooked up.
# 3 – Get a local Comms group established, and practice with it!
# 4 – Get an early warning system for my perimeter security, and use it until my team arrives!
Thanks again for reading!
Signing off and God Bless!