Let me warn you up front that, if you decide to accept the challenge, life will be inconvenient for a while. Things you had planned for today and tomorrow will be left undone. Sorry about that, but in all fairness, disasters strike without advance warning, so you must enter this challenge in the same way, with no warning. If you're not already prepared, you'll find that out almost immediately. This is a test that will reveal to you the weak spots in your emergency preparation. Trust me, this is a huge favor to you, even though you who accept the challenge will be cussing me before it's over. Suck it up and tough it out. I'm trying to save your life.
Okay, so here's the test. Let's pretend that right now, right this very instant, some kind of catastrophe hits your area. I don't care what it is — a tornado rips up your town, a massive earthquake makes rubble out of your community, a hurricane blows your region to shreds. Miraculously (because I am going to be kind and gentle with this first test), your home is still intact. However, beginning right this very minute, there is:
- no electricity
- no community water supply to your house
- no natural gas
- no sewer system
- no telephone
- no grocery stores
- no restaurants
- no gas stations
- and all the roads are impassable, so you can't leave the area
Okay, that's your scenario. Remember, I've gone easy on you this time, because I didn't factor in that your home or apartment was destroyed. You can still live there in perfect comfort and safety. This is a test of how well you are prepared to survive without outside services. If you are bold enough to take me up on this challenge, you must live for the next 48 hours (again, I am being exceedingly kind and gentle to limit the challenge to such a short time frame) using only those supplies that you already have on your property. But remember that you cannot use any municipally-delivered water, nor anything that uses electricity (this means you have to unplug your refrigerator, freezer, electric stove, microwave, TV, etc.), nor natural gas (no furnace, no gas stove), and you can't use the telephone. You are allowed to use any battery-powered or solar-powered items you have. And you can also use a power generator, if you have one, but are restricted to using only the fuel you have now on your property.
Sound fair enough? This is Disaster Role Play 101. It gets harder later on when I factor in the total destruction of your home and your vehicles. So for now, kick back and be comfortable and see what you can do with the scenario I've outlined.
At the end of the challenge, I would like to hear back from you who are courageous enough to actually take me up on this little test. Leave your comments and I will publish those that are appropriate. Let me know how it all went, what you discovered about your existing level of emergency preparedness, and how you creatively solved the challenges of living totally "off the grid" as it were for a short time. Give it your best shot for 48 hours. Make notes about deficiencies that you will correct later. Have fun.