An Earthquake Fast Collapse Diary – Day 1

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 1, 2018

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As just about everybody knows, we had a major Earthquake this morning here on the Last Great Frontier.  I am still without electricity, heat or water.  The epicenter was between Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna river valley, coming in officially as a 7.0 but it felt much stronger than that around here.  This has to do with many factors, primarily the soil type, which can liquefy with enough shaking.

Damage to the infrastructure both in Anchorage and up here in the Matanuska-Susitna river valley is extensive.  Parts of the Glenn Highway which runs North-South and connects the Valley and Anchorage have completely disappeared.  The valley serves as a bedroom community for Anchorage, and many people  (relatively speaking, this is Alaska of course) do this 40-50 mile or so commute every day.

Also severely damaged were the main roads connecting Anchorage to Ted Stevens International Airport, which will make it difficult for the many Energy Industry Workers and Executives to do their shuttling down to the Bakken and up to the North Slope.  Not to mention of course this will disrupt the plans of many Alaska Snowbirds who vacate the state for Hawaii every Christmas.

Many if not most of these roads can't even be fixed before spring, and serious winter is just beginning here.  There is going to be a tremendous problem moving the goods around, and like most places the amount of food any given store keeps on hand is measured in a few days.  I expect to see shortages of many products over the winter.  I am in relatively good shape on this, I have enough Food Preps to easily carry me through the winter without doing any shopping at all.

In local infrastructure problems, I didn't do so well, although at least the building didn't come down which I seriously thought it might as I made my way to the back door to the porch to get out from under it if it did come down.  While the building did stay up and sustained very little obvious damage, our water mains and sewage pipes were fractured and we have no water, no flushing toilets, etc.  Also turned off is our NG which powers the boilers and the stoves, so we got no heat from this source either.  You really get a feel for what Collapse is like when all these things you take for granted all go out.

For me though since the building is still up this is just a test of my resilience and my Preps.  The management company for the complex ordered everyone to vacate the premises, but I refused and they can't make me leave.  I doubt I could even get a hotel room anyhow, there are so many people with worse situations than I am in who are booking them up as I write this.  I could move in to my Bugout Machine SaVANnah, a full size Raised Roof van, but I'd rather stay in my home as long as it is livable and I can make it work, which I can.

The very first thing that went out of course was the JUICE, the electricity that powers all my electronic gizmos, my lights and also controls the heating system.  Even if you have NG and Water, you don't have this source of heat until the electricity is back on.

It was pretty dim inthe early hours of the morning, and this time of year we don't get too much daylight, about 6 hours worth or so.  So out came the flashlights, and I set about reconnecting my computers and modem to my Deep Cycle Marine Battery and 1000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter.  After our last power outage I simplified this changeover to a one plug exchange, and the gizmos were back up and running after maybe 15 minutes.  Longer if you count the time I spent smoking a cancerette and calming myself down on the back porch.  lol.

Although the electricity was out, the ISP I use, GCI did not lose internet connection, so I was able to get online, find out what happened and where the quake was centered and at what magnitude, and report in to my friends on the Diner that I was OK and adapting to FAST COLLAPSE arriving at my doorstep, at least temporarily.

Shortly after that maintenance personnel showed up to turn off my water supply and my NG.  The parking lot was flooded with water from busted mains, and I have no idea when this will be fixed up at the moment.

Image result for oil filled electric heater My electricity was still on at the time though, so I fired up one of my Electric Space Heaters, an Oil-Filled model.  I didn't have any trouble keeping warm the room I most use, the Living Room-Kitchen space which is about 25'X35'.  I planned to if I had to to move into the bedroom which is a smaller space, and into the bathroom finally if necessary which is a smaller space still.  But this wasn't necessary.

Tuna Can-Tea Light 4 Burner Heater

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES[/caption]Unfortunately however, about 2 hours later the electricity went off again, so the space heater was useless.  At this point I went to Plan B, which is Candle Power.  Regular readers of the Diner know I have become a Candle Fanatic, I see Tea Lights in particular as a great Barter Item  and I keep hundreds of them on hand.  I can run as many Tea Lights as necessary to heat a space, and I started with 8 for this exercise.  It didn't completely make up for the heat loss from the room, but it slowed it down considerably.  I was going to add to this number and go up to 12 when I got another knock on the door from maintenance, who came in to make sure it was safe to turn the Juice back on.  I got the Thumbs Up and POOF power back on!  So the space heater got plugged in again.  I left it running along with my 8 tea lights for a few hours and the temperature inside the digs actually went UP to past 70 degrees Farenheit!  That is uncomfortably warm for me so I pulled the plug on the electric heater and just ran a dozen tea lights which seems to keep up quite well with the heat loss and the digs are staying at a fairly comfortable although somewhat warm 67F.  The tealights cost me about $.07 each and they burn for about 4 hours.  So I get 4 hours of very EZ and convenient heat for about $1.  I can add to this if necessary of course with more powerful heat generators, my lanterns and a kerosene space heater, but this doesn't seem necessary as long as the outdoor temperature isn't too low.  We're in the high 20sF tonight, which is relatively balmy by Alaska standards, at least historically.

With the electricity back on, besides the heat and lights I can also do my cooking utilizing my electric cooking gear, so not having the NG flowing to the stove is not a problem.  If I didn't have that back, I would go to my Propane camping stoves and my outdoor BBQ for cooking up food.  Based on this experience, I think I am good for up to around a month with no services flowing into the place whatsoever, possibly longer.  I would have to fire up my generator to recharge my batteries in that scenario though.

Is this a permanent solution to a Collapse situation?  Of course it is not, it's time constrained but if services aren't restored in a month, you have real full scale SHTF Collapse situation, which I don't expect to survive.  I think though that prior to that we will see many more of these intermittent losses of power, which get patched up and then you rinse and repeat some unknown number of times before finally they just never come back on.  In the meantime though, it's wise to prep up and be ready for these smaller collapse situations.

I am going to make a trip out of the digs today to see how my local Food Superstore weathered the storm, and if they are open load up on some more preps.  I will report again inside the Diner with what things are looking like in my neighborhood a little further than just out my front door.

6 Responses to An Earthquake Fast Collapse Diary – Day 1

  • Irvine Mills says:

    Glad to hear you are still persevering, RE. And very impressed that you didn't lose your internet connection. Here in southern Ontario, which is hell of long way from being any sort of frontier, we lose our connection if the power is out for more than a few minutes.

    • RE says:

      My guess is that GCI has backup generators for power outages, since we get them pretty regularly.  Even when the power goes down, I rarely lose either cell phone communications or internet assuming I can get my own power online.  Not sure why Ontario has such a problem with this.

      RE

  • Surly says:

    What about water? Bathing and flush toilets are pretty critical.

    • RE says:

      I answered some of this question with my update today inside the Diner.

      For pissing, I just piss in the toilet and let it rest.  When the water comes back on, I'll flush it all at once.  For shitting, I have a Cripple Commode with a bucket system.  After I poop, I lift out the liner bag and go dispose of it in the dumpster.

      For bathing, I have pre-moistened skin care wipes you use for giving sponge baths to cripples who can't get out of bed to shower.

      RE

  • tagio says:

    Damn, RE glad to hear you are okay, and here's hoping that basic services get fixed up quickly.  Thanks for the tip about tea candles.  My wife has dozens of the buggers for power outages, but I never would have thought of tea candles in a can as a heat source for a small space! 

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