11/2/12 9:19 AM – Important Lessons for You from Sandy

How much cash do you carry? If you’re like me and many other people, almost none. I can go a week with the same $10 bill in my wallet. That’s because I pay for almost everything with a debit card.

Now, think about having no electricity in the stores and gas stations because a storm like Sandy has hit. Stores in New York and New Jersey are accepting only cash because without electricity most cannot run the debit and credit cards. If you have no cash, that means you can’t buy anything like food or gas. That’s a big problem.

“Well,” you say, “I’ll just run to the ATM.”

Wrong. The ATM also runs on electricity so you can’t get any cash out of your bank.

You might want to think about setting aside an emergency stash of cash when you hear reports of a major storm or just keeping such a stash on hand. Yes, I know; we are back to keeping some cash in a hidden can or under the mattress.

The other big problem is that gas stations have no electricity to pump gas and those that do have monster lines of cars waiting to get gas – makes you think an electric car or hybrid might be a good idea, but then, how do you charge it unless you have a generator and unspoiled gas to run one? Storing gas a long time is problematic, as anyone knows that owns a chain saw or trimmer they haven’t run for a long while. The gas gums up over time.

This is a more difficult problem to solve. Of course, having a highly fuel efficient vehicle like a hybrid car or motorcycle helps, particularly if you were smart enough to fill it up at the last minute. It also helps to live near a bus line or close enough to work, stores and church to ride a bicycle. You can also car-pool, basically sharing the gas consumption.

Then, how about light and most especially, heat? How do you cook your food? Again, you need a generator. Or at the very least, some camping gear. Check out REI; they are the camping experts with very knowledgeable salespeople. While you’re getting batteries and lights and the means to cook food without electricity, pick up an emergency radio.

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