In the past few months, Americans have seen a plethora of extreme weather ranging from extreme droughts in the south, tornado’s in the Midwest and unprecedented flooding in America’s heartland.Although we’ve all seen the disastrous affects of Mother Nature venting her rage over the course of our lives, at no time in recorded history have these patterns been as vast and as frequent as they are today.
Just last week an enormous tornado, as big as one mile in diameter ripped through northern Colorado, killing 1 and injuring 13 others.With hail the size of golf balls the storm touched down in several towns in the region, even stretching into southern Wyoming.The storm left thousands without power, and many businesses were left without internet or cell phone service as it is rumored that a Verizon tower which provides service to thousands was down.
I received a call from my sister who lives in southeast Wyoming, letting me know that she was leaving work for the day because the hospital where she works had no internet connectivity and many were unable to use their cell phones.As she stopped on her way home for gas, she realized she couldn’t use her debit card to pay, as the stations were unable to connect to the banks via internet to verify funds.When she stopped by the local ATM to pull out some cash, she couldn’t withdraw funds from her account either.Luckily she was able to make it home and ride out the outages until service was restored.But the situation got me thinking about just how vulnerable we really are when it comes to these types of situations.
In a country so dependent on fuel for our day to day lives, what are we to do when we can’t get it? The majority of American citizens don’t even carry cash these days and depend solely on debit and credit cards for their purchases.Even more troublesome is the fact that those of us who are wise enough to carry cash for emergencies would not be able to purchase fuel even if we had the funds, due to the fact that most modern day gas pumps are electric and will not function at all when the power is out.If power goes down when your tank is on empty and you commute to work every day how will you even get home?
This is a very frightening prospect, especially for those of us who have children we pick up from school on the way home from work.How would we get to our kids?What would happen if we were stranded with no gas and no way to get any to make our way to pick them up?Most parents do not work within walking distance of their child’s school or daycare; some of us even work several towns away depending on how close you live to work.
Rather than focusing on what could go wrong in a situation like this, let’s look at some solutions to this scenario;
Work from home – if at all possible – try to work remotely if you have a job that allows you to do so.You will save on gas, stress and a possible panic situation should disaster strike during work hours.If you have children, try home schooling if you can, or keep them in a school that is close to home, preferably within walking distance.
If working at home is not an option for you, try to put your kids in a private school, charter school or daycare center that is close to where you work.Even if you can’t travel the roads by vehicle, the possibility of getting to your children in an emergency is a lot more likely the closer they are.You’d be surprised the powers a mother can display when her child’s safety is at risk.
Never let your gas level go below a half a tank – Try to maintain as much gas in your vehicle as possible.If you stop for a soda at the 7-11 and you’re down to 3/4 tank, top it off!It may be inconvenient but it will be well worth it if the power goes down all of the sudden and you’re stuck without enough gas to get home.What’s worse?Taking a few extra minutes to keep your tank full or being stranded without access to your family and no way to get to them? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as the saying goes.
Always carry cash – Keep at least $100 cash on hand either in your glove box or in your purse or wallet.Even if gas pumps aren’t working you’re more likely to find a gas station that uses the older, non-electric pumps that will sell to those with cash when the systems are down.
Keep a full gas can in your car – This will ensure that even if all the pumps are down and you can’t find a station with non-electric pumps you will at least have enough fuel to get to your kids if you have them, get home if you can make it, or get to family or friends house if that’s your only option.
***This article was contributed by Chrystle Poss a.k.a. “Survival Girl”, a Survival Spot Blog Guest Author and devoted Prepper. She has been writing articles on survival and emergency preparedness since 2006. You can find her work on various websites and publications.***