I spent the weekend of 09-Feb in Vermont with my wife’s college roommates, their husbands and assorted children. One of the roommates (our hostess) has been sufferring a nasty stomach flu for the past 4 days, and finally decides its time to enlist medical assistance, and thus pregnant roommate #2 takes sick roommate to the emergency room. In the meantime, 5 husbands (myself included) and one roommate grab skis and head to the mountains. Three remaining roommates (including my wife) package up skiing roommate’s 7 month old baby and head to outlets, where they will meet sick roommate & driver for lunch and shopping. My wife takes my jeep, with “all [my] survival crap”, as she calls it, in the back. While they’re out, a good snowstorm begins, which ultimately drops about 10 inches of snow.
Returning from shopping, pregnant roommate loses control of sick roommate’s Tahoe, colliding sideways with a plow-packed snowbank. Fortunately, no injuries occur, but the Tahoe is rendered undrivable. My wife, who was ahead of the involved vehicle, does not find out about until arriving at the house and being told by sick roommates husband, who has been home the entire time with his 15-month old. My wife divests her vehicle of two roommates and baby, and returns to accident to await tow truck with involved roommates.
Thanks to my gear, wife was able to:
a) deploy an effective flare pattern to warn traffic, and ultimately signal the tow truck driver.
b) provide everyone with water.
c) provide toilet paper for sick roommate.
Now, this is far from a SHTF, end-of-the-world scenario. But my wife, who has barely tolerated my prep efforts in the past, was forced to concede she was pleased to have the gear available and vowed not to disparage my efforts in the future. (This vow held for almost a full hour before she again managed to mock my gear to her friends.)
This mostly non-event reinforced a couple of points in my mind:
- Communications are key. While everyone in our party over two years old carried a cell phone, coverage was virtually nil. It took us about 30 minutes to get everyone off the mountain, during which time the extent of our knowledge was “there’s been an incident”. I was surprised at the amount of near hysteria this caused amongst the men. Sure we’re all concerned, but stop, think, and don’t jump to conclusions. We’ll deal with whatever we find, WHEN we find it, not before.
- Most people will not take responsibility for themselves. The two involved roommates both commented how impressed they were that I had thought ahead, and said that I now needed to make them survival packs. (Of course I’m happy to guide them in building their own, but I refuse to do it for them.)
- Wife and I need to have (another) discussion regarding OPSEC. While her friends realize that I am a prepared individual, wife needs to stop discussing our “stores”, guns and precious metals. I’ve been getting the “if something happens, we’re coming to your house” routine from some of this crowd. That I’m NOT prepared for, which requires further evaluation.
The Jeep performed admirably in the snow, BTW. Barely knew it was there.