Preps Dry Run: After Action Review (Part 2)
As the sunlight started to wane after dinner, Sheila and I retrieved some candles from the Bug-In Bin (BiB) and deployed them to areas of the house that did not have illumination from the few GFL lamps I ran off my solar power system, like the bathroom and living room. I then stepped outside and restarted the genny after relocating it within the range of one of the motion detectors I have deployed in my backyard. With my perimeter security system running all night on stored solar power, no one was going to get within 10 feet of my little Honda without giving us ample warning. I decided that I would keep the generator running on the ECO setting until it ran out of fuel. To determine when that would occur, I plugged my computer’s battery backup into the current supplied by the Honda. This will charge the batteries as well as tell me when the charging current stops with an annoying buzzer.
While we still had a little light left, Sheila said that we should each take a hot shower while the sun-heated water was still warm. And a great idea it was! Each of us armed with a towel and a small bottle of biodegradable ‘Camping Soap’ (green liquid soap available at Walmart, Bass Pro, et al. Cheap, but very good stuff.), we hung our showers from a tall sea grape tree near the pool with steel ‘S – hooks’ from the garage and enjoyed a wonderful, warm shower (in our shorts and or bathing suits, of course). Little luxuries like a warm shower in emergency situations helps to keep your sanity and break the monotony of living meagerly on your preps. Had this been an actual emergency, though, I would have let Sheila have the first shower while I stood watch, then reversed the roles when she was done. She’s a good shot and can hear better than me, so I would have no worries about being in the shower if trouble starts.
After drying off, we came inside and plugged a box fan into one of the genny outlets and let it blow on us as we watched some tv until Mark Levin came on the radio at 9PM. I opened the fridge real quick and retrieved 2 bottles of water for us. We discussed the evening’s sleeping arrangements and decided that we would sleep down in the ‘Florida Room’ – a kind of solidly enclosed patio with windows on three sides to allow the flow of breezes through the room. Although I always feel kind of vulnerable sleeping in a room that only has solid walls (CBS) to about thigh-height and awning windows the rest of the way around the tree walls, the perimeter and home alarm provided enough security along with our yappy little Yorkie to allay my fears and bed down there. A quick trip around the house to check the doors and blow out the candles, and soon we were lying in the fold-out bed of the Florida Room sofa listening to ‘The Great One’ as the fan kept us comfortably cool. On the coffee table beside the bed, were my glasses, my 1911 and SureFire LED light. I set my phone alarm for 7:00 AM and laid down. Somewhere around 10:30, I reached over and shut the radio, kissed the wife, and set out to fall asleep. Through the open windows I could hear the soft hum of the Honda as it purred away on ECO setting, sipping on the 1st gallon of gas I poured into it twelve hours ago.
Around 3:35 in the morning, Sheila nudged me because she heard the buzzer on the battery backup in the den. I got up and pressed the switch that kills the audible alarm and marveled on my way back to bed that the generator had run nearly 14 hours on a single gallon of gasoline. Day-um! A peek into the dark garage with the SureFire showed the upright freezer was at -12 F on the battery powered thermometer I have mounted to the side facing the door from the garage to the Florida Room. It should hold out the heat until we get up in the morning, I thought, then went back to bed. A cat passing near the now-silent generator set off the perimeter alarm at about 5:20. After calling an ‘all-clear’ we went back to sleep for another hour and a half until my cell phone alarm jarred us awake.
Although the Dry Run was about over, we decided to make coffee using the camping stove again. After clinking our cups together in a coffee toast to a successful conclusion of the simulated emergency, I went out to the backyard and turned the power back on again – until next summer when we do it again.
Be safe. Be prepared.
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