It took most of the day for you to realize the hot water tank even existed and even longer to comprehend that it was full of water? You paced by the utility room at least a dozen times before you noticed the spigot on the bottom of the water tank. Forty gallons of tepid water was in the tank and you wondered about purity. You decided to err on the side of caution, filled up a pot, and put it on the gas grill to heat.
You cobbled up a filtering system by placing a coffee filter in the filter basket of the coffee pot and set in on top of the carafe. The water was full of sediment and much had settled to the bottom of the pot after heating. You poured the hot water over the filter to get rid of the sediment and while doing this you realized you could make coffee in the French press you had somewhere in the cabinets. A few minutes of rummaging and you had the press and not long after a hot cup of coffee was in your hands.
You tackled the refrigerator, pulled out the obviously spoiled items like eggs and milk, and bagged them up. The produce and sliced cheese you set aside for eating later as well as the breads and a bottle of orange juice that had not been opened.
The food in the freezer was still frozen so you pulled some meat out and decided to toss it on the grill in hopes it would cook while still mostly frozen. You realized you either had to cook the rest of the frozen items and hope that once cooked they would last a few days or throw all the food out if the power was not restored soon.
The bathroom situation was a problem, which was solved quickly with a shovel and twenty minutes of digging behind some bushes in the backyard. Actual bathing would have to be put off and the hand sanitizer you had would have to do for now. After some thought however you realized a quick sponge bath by heating some water would be ok because after all this was not the time to act all uncivilized. Four cups of hot water and some liquid soap took care of that problem.
Now that you had water for the time being, some food and was able to brush your teeth and wash off you felt human again. The despair and panic has subsided somewhat because you have a plan and some goals. You had no idea what calamity had caused the water and electricity to go out but it had been over eight hours and no workers along the road so something major had happened.
Prosperity is fleeting at the best of times and you realized your water and food supply would likely be depleted before the crisis was resolved. It was time to begin thinking ahead, and you where not looking forward to the darkness.
It Can Happen
One day of no electricity or water can be devastating if you are not prepared. Hundreds of dollars in food wasted and only a small portion of it edible. Most people have less that a three-day supply of water and non-perishable foods on hand at any one time and even if you think you have a three-day supply much of it will be consumed the first day because of stress and panic. People turn to food in a crisis so a 72-hour supply in reality is only 24 hours.
If you awoke one morning and the power was out would you have any idea about what caused it. You would wait for hours assuming it was temporary and that nothing out of the ordinary happened. What if an attack had taken place somewhere that caused a regional power grid to go down, you are sitting in your kitchen waiting on the power company that will never come.
People always make assumptions based on what has happened in the past, they use the past as a template and naturally say to themselves this is what happened last time so of course it will be the same this time. This is what caused all the devastation during hurricane Katrina and super storm Sandy. Citizens and the communities prepared for what they thought would happen based on prior events and of course, everyone was surprised and ultimately overwhelmed.