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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Preparedness Planning, While Slummin' at the Laundrymat

"What in tarnation does a laundymat have to do with emergency preparedness, Backwoods?  And here I thought this was a good blog!"

Well, friend, you might be confused about that latter assumption, but my experience at the local laundrymat today does indeed have to do with emergency preparedness.

As we have talked about a lot on this blog, humans have seven basic categories of needs: 
  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Shelter
  4. Energy
  5. Security
  6. Health & Sanitation
  7. Spiritual and Mental Health
#6, "Health and Sanitation", means (at least occasionally) wearing clean clothes.  Dirty clothes, especially dirty socks and underwear, promote growth of disease-causing bacteria, yeasts, mildews, and fungi.   Especially in the case of the feet, but also in the pelvic region, diseases caused by these pests can be debilitating, to say the least.

"Duh, Backwoods.  I learned to take care of my feet in 'Nam."

Stick with me, here, friend.  Backwoods is about to make his point.

Ol' Backwoods and family are in the beginning stages of relocation to a freer state than the one I am leaving behind.  (Parenthetically, both are very free compared to the prison states of New York, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts.)  My rental house, which I will occupy during the transition, and during the time I am preparing my homestead for living, is very sparsely furnished at this time, which is by design.  I am trying to minimize my costs for this move, and most of the furniture and appliances are back with my wife at the house we are preparing to sell. The timing has to be right to move those, is all I will say about that.  

The laundry machines are at the old house, and are being used by my family.  I do have a used washer and dryer coming for the rent-house next week, but I have need for clean clothes now.

Hence my visit to the washeteria, the laundymat, whatever you want to call it.  Rows and rows of coin-operated laundry machines, and some mostly nice folks, from what I can tell, sitting at tables, or folding laundry.    Some black, some white, some Asian, some of non-descript race. Some non-English-speaking people, babbling in Spanish or whatever.    But all human, and thus partaking in #6 of the Basic Human Needs list above.

But it got me thinking: how will these nice folks do their laundry if the grid power is down for an extended period of time?    Caused by, say, a hurricane (this state touches the Gulf), or an earthquake (ever heard of the New Madrid Fault)?  If they had their own laundry machines at home-- at very least, a washing machine-- it could be powered via a generator.  If they had one.  That's what I plan to do.   

They could do laundry in a sink, by hand, if they had water.  But how would they get water?  At my rent-house in town, I would be limited to the same municipal supply that these folks are: a couple of water towers around town, served by electric pumps.   I don't actually know the capacity or usage (I intend to find out), but I expect the whole water system could not withstand more than a week's loss of electricity.

Granted, the town sits astride a river, and is bisected by a hydroelectric dam, so grid power should be very reliable (and is, or so say the residents I've talked to).

But it is good to think these things out ahead of time.

Besides, what else are you going to do at the laundrymat?  Watch the dryer spin?

1 comment:

  1. There are a couple of better options than just doing your best to hand wash in the sk. The sink will do in qa pinch, but there's better ways out there.
    1- you can get hand washing machines from amazon and other places for about $40. Will was sh a shirt or pair of pants in a couple of minutes, and better than you could do in the sink. I bought one as an in-case thinng and was pleased enough with it that I'll r.ecommend it
    2you can make a serviceable hand washer for about $10 of stuff from the store. Get a 5 gal bucket with lid, and a (new) plumbeer's helper. Put a hole through the center of the lid large enough to pass the handle of the plumber's helper.
    To use, fill bucket with a gallon or so of water and suds up some soap in there. Add clothing, put in plumber's helper and all the lid over the handle. Pump away. The plumber's helper will agitate nicely. I have since made one of these too, and it's almost as good as the purpose-built unit for less than a quarter of the cost. Much less likely to break, too.

    By the way, keep going on the Appleseed! I attended my first one last summer and am now an IIT2 orange hat, working towards the red hat.

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