When Irma’s SHTF: Lessons I Learned

A lot of times in the prepper community, terms like SHTF, EOTWAWKI, Zombie Apocalypse, and others are thrown around. People outside our community think we are nuts preparing for some “end of the world cataclysm” that will never happen. We listen to their comments knowing that at least we will be ready when it goes down.

SHTF: Hurricane IrmaWell last Sunday, it went down where I live. I am in Florida, and was in hurricane Irma’s path. Although we didn’t get hit nearly as hard as the mainstream media kept telling us we were going to, it still is not pretty here. How bad is it? Well, I am writing this on Wednesday afternoon using my laptop as I listen to the sound of my generator running outside. I have no power still, and the news reports are optimistic that it will be back by the end of the weekend. How did my prepping work out for me? To be honest, not bad… but not great either. As I mentioned, I have a generator running outside that is keeping my fridge on, lights and charging my devices. But the generator isn’t strong enough to run the air conditioner. I also did not have enough fuel, or fuel containers for this extended outage. Luckily for me, most gas stations are back up and running, and have started receiving new fuel. (on Monday most gas stations were out of fuel).

I am well armed and have plenty of ammo. There have been reports of looting, strong arm robberies, and even generators being stolen in the middle of the night. I haven’t seen it first hand, but I am prepared to defend my home and neighbors home if necessary.

I have enough food and water. I have been averaging a gallon of water per day which is to be expected. As far as food goes, I can get by. But I will be adjusting my supplies for future events. I have supplies to make a camp fire in case I need to bug out, and I have some cans of sterno to heat up my soup (I have a lot of cans of soup). What I don’t have is a way to cook inside my home. I need a small propane camping stove. I can’t boil water, or cook eggs unless I want to pull our the charcoal grill. I am also shy on more snack type foods. For the next time, I will be sure to have a supply of jerky, granola bars, and other non perishable, easy things to eat because soup gets old.

This may seem like I am crying over nothing, but I am just thinking of how to make the next time go easier. And there will be a next time. If not Hurricane Maria, then another one. Possibly not this year, but maybe next, or the year after. You see, this wasn’t a direct hit for me, but it was still enough to knock the power out for a week.

I have also decided to buy a decent sized UPS for future events so that I can keep a fan running at night (I turn my generator off at night to preserve fuel… my freezer is quite good and I have seen no thawing as a result of this.) I also need more lanterns. I thought I had enough, but it is amazing how dark it gets when nobody has power…

The main lesson that I learned from hurricane Irma is that my prepping has paid off, but when faced with a prolonged “bug-in” situation, some creature comforts, that I have not thought of, would be nice. Most of my prepping was for a larger event. Sleeping bags and tents do me no good when I am still in my home, but a camping stove and a few more lanterns would have been a blessing. I am prepared to make a camp fire to cook with… but that wouldn’t go over so well in my living room.

SHTF in many ways, and sometimes the effects are small, but just as dangerous. As preppers, we need to think about all possible scenarios, not just the Zombie Apocalypse.


I finally got power back on Thursday afternoon after it went out at 10:45 Sunday night.

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