Guest Post: On September 8th………

by Thunder Bearer

On September 8th, 2011, an outage rocked a large swath of Southern California, from Mission Viejo, to the Mexican border and beyond.  Somewhere close to a million people were affected by the actions of one person who made a seemingly small mistake in Arizona which took a portion of the power grid down.  While not a cataclysmic event, it certainly provided a story that preppers everywhere should consider, and take heed of.  The actions of a prepared person wound up with them being injured, in the hospital, away from their responsibilities of protecting the family.


In San Juan Capistrano, a Los Angeles fireman started up his gas powered generator, to provide electricity for his family.  Apparently a neighbor didn’t take too kindly to the noise of the generator, and asked the fireman to turn off the generator.  The fireman declined the request multiple times, for whatever reason he saw fit to present at the time, whether medical, or simply the fact that he thought the neighbor was jealous.  without getting into the reasoning behind the generator, whether it was right to have a loud generator running, or medical or other reasons for the generator, the aftermath is the exploration of my post here.


The neighbor came back (news says allegedly, for politically correct reasons), and tried to turn off the generator on his own.  Upon finding out that some neer-do-well was trespassing, and tampering with his property, the fireman went out and confronted the neighbor, who hit the fireman over the head with what sounds like a heavy Maglite flashlight.  The fireman received severe lacerations and a possible concussion over this incident.  Obviously, the neighbor was arrested, and thrown in jail, and will distinctly have to deal with the legal system.


My exploration here, is not to cover the incident itself, but the related incidents that all preppers should be aware of.  When it all hits the fan, we who have practiced sensible preparations, will stick out like sore thumbs.  We will become magnets for awareness, attention… and resentment.  The news story distinctly mentioned that this wasn’t the only generator on in the area, and that many people were similarly prepared.  So the situation now becomes something more for us to explore.


In a major event, we need to be aware that hospitals are not our destination.  Ambulances, police support, and even neighbors may not be available, and in some situations, could make things even worse.  A recent post here entitled “Sorry, Bob. Go Die Somewhere Else.” explored the concept of what do we do in regards to the relative who shows up after it’s all gone bad, but what about the neighbors.  Think about the implications that are raised here, no matter where you are.  We’ve talked about how society may go lawless in a matter of 24-48 hours, but perhaps it bears good measure to realize that sometimes it’s far less than that before we might experience a situation that places us in danger.  Perhaps your own neighbors have already made plans to come to you when the world goes upside-down, or perhaps your actions after the cataclysm, will have the neighbors adjust their plans and make you the target.


I don’t want to instill paranoia in anyone’s heart, nor unseemly thoughts, but just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean…


So, it’s a sad prospect to think of this, but we all need to take even further measures towards our awareness of how we appear to others.  We may have all prepared well, with our large quantities of food, our trips to the ammo store, our frequent excursions to the gun range, and more.  We know of people who have prepared, but we know far more that have prepared by planning to rely upon us.  The ongoing build-up of an entitlement society, and the encouragement from certain political groups, could make us all targets for being prepared in an individualized way, in what they consider a non-individualistic society.


When (yeah, sure… whatever…  “If”…) things have turned sour, and the smelly stuff is being flung everywhere, I’ve already identified not only those that will take part in my plans, and those that won’t, but I’ve already identified specific persons who are on my list for being troublemakers.  I know specific neighbors that are unprepared, and will become resentful when they realize that I have prepared far better than they have.  One in particular, with an extreme pro-entitlement bumper-sticker on their Prius, has already been involved in a confrontational situation, and shown a distinct defiance for authority, shown a distinct neglect for property rights, and exhibited a foul-mouthed tirade that indicates he will be a vocal opponent to anything that doesn’t go his way.  He will distinctly be unprepared when it all goes bad, and will expect many of us to just blindly help him, and when we don’t, he’ll throw a monkey wrench into our plans.


You know the same style of person in your life, or at least suspect them.  The fireman’s neighbor may have already exhibited signs of being a troublemaker prior to this incident.  Had this been a real emergency, that fireman… a prepper… could have been in far more danger.  Indeed, another 48 hours later, and it might have been crowds of indignant people clamoring for his supplies, his knowledge, his expertise in whatever problems they may have.


My wife takes the position that when the evil arrives, that we (all preppers) should not be bartering ammunition, guns, toilet paper, or food… simply for our own safety.  It would advertise that we are prepared at least a little bit more, and make us bigger targets.  Indeed, it’s possible that word would travel, and many people would generate rumors that we are all far more prepared than we reveal, and make us targets for the locals, the refugees, the government, and more.  Our actions, something as simple as having a generator, being the “Have” in a neighborhood of “Have-nots”, could strike up something deeper in the hearts of men.


Questions that I ask myself all the time:  Should this incident stop us?  What could have been done differently in this situation?  What are the changes that you need to make, in order to be less of a target?  What have you done to evangelize people towards being self sufficient?  What actions can you take to ensure that you are not alone in your part of the world when trouble happens?  How will you know the difference between a simple power outage, and the complete long-term failure of the power grid?


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  1. I have more of a question. I don’t have a generator, yet (wife is starting to crack down on my frivolous spending), so I do not have anything to experiment with. Is there a way to muffle the sound of a generator? I have heard some of those things run during camping and on some job sites and they are loud. Is there the means to “silence” your generator?

  2. Generators ARE loud, and dangerous.
    Carbon Monoxide kills people nearly EVERY power outage, most do not pay attention.
    There’s the shock hazzard, and the refuling of a hot motor/muffler causing a fuel fire.

    I use a computer UPS and a bank of batteries, silent, powerful, and pre-wired.
    I have an article on my website all about it and more.

    Recharging can be from a vehicle, wind, solar, even a small steam setup.
    in full disclosure my own brother died of CO poisoning from a generator, I hate the damn things.
    I literally see locally one person or family die every outage in the news, there are much better and less expensive ways to have power, not to mention the spikes the genset sends destroys expensive tv’s and other equipment ! the UPS should definitely be used WITH a generator if you decide to go that way, the ups is not just for computers, it’s for any equipment you care about.

    The average american home gets 100 hits a month from power stations going on/off line, static discharges, accidents bringing down wires, trees etc, each hit degrades electronics one step further to failure.
    The genset introduces them en masse to your system. THINK about that.

    Nice website
    I’d be interested in a mutual link exchange.

  3. Michael, being in an position where I have planned without a generator, I can only note general observations that others have made on generators. I have heard that one can create shelters, or place them in a hole in the ground, but you have ventliation and heat issues to be concerned with there. Further, the issues of a hole in the ground also create vulnerability to flooding (one of the areas that some need to prepare for).

  4. For years we had a large 8KW genset on our boat so we had a lot of experience in this area before deciding to invest in a whole house generator. After the initial sticker shock – not the generator itself but the installation by a licensed electrician – I can honestly say that I am thrilled with the performance.

    Yes, it can be noisy but it does come in a well-insulated enclosure and the noise is no worse than the traffic on a busy city street. Last week there was a planned power outage on our island and within five seconds after the power blinked out, our generator was running. We had lights, the ceiling fan worked, and I was able to watch a movie via Netflix streaming because I had power to my DSL modem. Because the generator is located outdoors, there is no risk of carbon monoxide leakage other than the normal risk that comes with our propane heating. And for that we have installed carbon monoxide detectors.

    Regarding the neighbors: during its weekly test cycle, we have gone to the neighbor’s and explained the noise. They claimed it did not bother them but in a SHTF situation, who knows. One thing we did is tell them that if the power was out for an extended period, we would be willing to give up a bit of our refrigerator or freezer space in return for their putting up with the noise. I think the important thing is to get to know your neighbors and make sure that they are on your side so to speak. An ally is always better than a foe.

    One more thing. If you have having a generator installed, be sure to use a licensed electrician and be sure to get all of necessary permits. This will insure that the installation is done correctly and that all safety issues are addressed up front.

    — Gaye

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