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December 01, 2007
MORE ON PREPAREDNESS: In response to yesterday's post on wet-dry vacs and other homeowner stuff, reader Peter Gookins emails:
I've never denied being anal retentive, which has been a help with all the disaster recovery / business continuity work I've done over the years (big difference between the two - disaster recovery fixes what
broke, continuity keeps the business operating, and, hopefully, the money coming in. You can't have continuity without disaster recovery, but having a recovery plan doesn't necessarily mean continued business operation). Your recent water emergency reminded me that it's s beneficial for homeowners to take some preventive steps.
I've attached some pics if you're interested. The shot of the garage electrical panel shows a flashlight, a 10 lb ABC fire extinguisher, the T-handled thing is a curb key for shutting water off at the meter, and
the map shows where everything is. The curb key has had the handle ends ground to large screwdriver-tip size so it can be used to open the meter box cover. No additional tools needed. (And, while the garage has a large fire extinguisher, there's also a smaller one in every closet. Extinguishers are cheap.)
Why a map? Not everyone will always remember where stuff is, and if Uncle Harry is visiting he won't know at all. On the map is the address and subdivision name (the blue tape is covering my address) along with
emergency phone numbers. Critical tools are all right there. The pic of the water shutoff shows a 1/4 turn ball valve; faster and easier to use than the typical round-handle gate valve. The gray pipe is a "safety sleeve" to prevent a weed wacker from cutting through the plastic water supply pipe.
The picture of the electrical receptacle shows a number; that's the circuit breaker number that controls the circuit the outlet is on. If one has to shut down a circuit quickly because of a dangerously malfunctioning appliance it's pretty helpful to know which breaker to flip.
Yes, it took some time to get all this together, but a couple of hours spent leisurely assembling the info over the years will pay off if one has an emergency and time becomes critical. And, I do have a wet/dry
vac. Two of 'em, in fact.
Sounds like good advice! Meanwhile, James Rummel notes that this is a neglected side of preparedness: "Most gunbloggers like myself like to write about the big stuff, like emergency supplies needed to keep yourself and your family alive if you have to abandon your house and run for the hills. What is neglected is the little nitty-gritty details on how to handle the costly and potentially dangerous problems that occur inside the house that make it difficult to live there, instead of the huge disasters that come from the outside."