We’d like to share our experience in hope it may help owners and sitters in the future.
We’re doing a 3 weeks sit presently near Petersfield UK. We’ve been hit hard by Eunice storm last week and we have been left with no electricity for now 5 full days and 4 nights. Unfortunately everything in the house is powered by electricity! It means we have no heating, no hot water, no way of cooking whatsoever… It is now around 10 degree Celsius inside the house…
We are very fortunate because we’re traveling with our motorhome so by 4pm we take refuge in it with the dog where we have heating, a fridge, a shower and a gas cooker. Hopefully, electricity will come back before we run out of gas! Otherwise we’ll have to go to the trouble and the cost of buying a adaptable gas bottle in UK (we’re french and so is our motorhome therefore gas bottle… Yippee for Europe where each country has a different gas bottle+adapter!)
This made me think: what would have happened if we wouldn’t have had the motorhome? Yes there is a small wood burner in the big living room but it’s more decorative than useful and it is fixed inside the wall so useless for cooking or heating the big house. The owners are away of the country, they can not come back…
So… what would you do as owner and as a sitter? Would you stay? Would we be at fault if we’d leave?
It makes you think of a all new range of questions for our next sit!! Have you an alternate source of heating and cooking in case of a natural disaster?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, thank god we still have our personal internet to get a little bit of entertainment!
Virginie & Eric freezing!
Virginie and Eric
Wow, my thoughts are with you. I’m sitting in Tewkesbury now, about 100 miles north of you - there has been lots of rain and some flooding in the town, but fortunately for me, nothing like what you are experiencing. And I was in Hayes, south of London last week for the very windy days.
Having lived through hurricanes in the US when I was growing up, I do think about natural disasters but not sure that I have any answers. Fortunately you all have the motorhome.
I’ve applied for and done sits in fireprone areas of California. I’m scheduled for 1 in June-July and this is the first HO who has mentioned the potential in the listing - I complimented him - the sit will allow me use of the car if we need to evacuate and the cats have ‘go baskets’ and carriers prepared should we need to evacuate.
I wish I could contribute more.
What have the HOs said when you contact them? I would expect them to agree to pay toward the cost of a hotel that you can take the dog/cat to?
Hi @Virginief68 Welcome to our community forum, I’m so sorry that your first visit is to share your current obviously very trying experience.
Thank you for managing this in the way you have and as you say how fortunate that you have your motor home, you can at least have refuge from this totally unforeseen situation. I’m sure the owners are very relieved that you are there and able to be a presence in the home, are you in contact with them?
There are areas and locations around the world where residents and local government have plans in place to cope with natural disasters, residents are aware and reminded constantly to be prepared but unfortunately, as you have discovered, the unexpected can and does happen and having a conversation about “what to do in the unlikely event” of xyz is important but it’s finding a the solution which prevents a situation from becoming a major challenge.
Many homes are 100% electric … I also live in one and have considered purchasing a generator, “just in case”
One question during pre sit conversations for many owners and sitters is what would you do in the event of a personal emergency and owners are asked to provide emergency contacts in the area.
Again a very good topic to discuss and to help create awareness on.
Meanwhile have you heard when power might be restored? The provider in the area normally will give regular updates on the situation.
I’m so sorry but also very relieved that you and puppy are safe and well, albeit a little chilly and while we cannot help too much in a practical sense we are here for support and I know there are other members who have gone through similar, challenging situations to do with hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.
I hope power is restored very soon.
Angela & The Team
Alcohol stove: you can make one with a knife and soda can (lots of youtube videos out there). Even easier if you have a cat can.
Gosh, I really feel for you and hope that things will be restored soon.
If that happened to me and I had no mobilhome, I think I’d check what neighbours are doing. (I assume many are in the same case) Maybe some of them have spare gas cookers/ heaters?
If not, look for a cheap, dog-friendly place to stay in the meantime ( to be refunded by the home owners)
Not easy, wishing you the best of luck!
I live in the USA – and Im experiencing a huge storm tonight, in fact!
I have several phone battery packs and rotate them through use & charging. I also have a “jackery” powerbank that I keep in the car. It can charge over the car 12-volt, or plugged into a wall outlet, or with a solar panel.
I hate roughing it, so if an emergency comes up, I want to have a few creature comforts like hot food, hot coffee, warm socks, I have an Esbit Pocket Stove with fuel tablets, and a portable Coleman Folding Stove, with a couple of cans of sterno. (be careful with open flame around pets!)
I always have flashlights – but the best thing is a headlamp that you can strap to your head, which is GREAT to be hands-free, and you can get them for so cheap. You can even find rechargeable ones for a little more, but if you don’t use it often, you’re better off just keeping it in a bag, with some fresh batteries in a waterproof baggie, ready to assemble when you need it.
I have so far only had local sits where I have access to my car, so I have all this stuff (but not the jackery or solar panel) in a backpack with wheels.
Don’t forget – TEST THIS STUFF. I’ve never had to rely on it yet… but If you have never made coffee on an esbit stove with a moka pot, you don’t want to learn how to do it with a lack-of-caffeine-induced migrane!!
Thank you for more great tips @MissChef and stay safe
Running/biking headlamps, survival blanket/ survival bag, mini water filter, first aid kit, a buff, rubbish bags (use as a jacket if need be), charger packs, come in super handy & have them in our vehicle when on a sit.
You’re welcome! You’d have such a laugh: I’ve made fried eggs and a pot of espresso in the parking lot of my cooking lesson studio, because I wanted to test my setup and it’s the least impressive meal but it was still fun!
When I know something esoteric like this, I’m happy to share.
I once posted a photo of my cooking kit… but my emergency kit would make an Eagle Scout proud!
How do you delete a comment? without doing the 10 character thing?
@Petermac Click on the three dots to the right of the edit pencil → trash/rubbish/garbage can/bin (multi-lingual translation ) - will show as deleted, rather than disappear altogether.
Thank you @Snowbird It has only taken me a year and half to find out that - you learn something every day.
Thank you Angela, you’re lovely ! So to answer your questions: yes, we’ve been in contact with the owners, at first they didn’t take it seriousely as they had mentioned, they themselves stayed 5 days without heating system a few weeks before we arrived but I beleive they did not realised the difference between “no heater” and " no electricity"!! Which is quite another story ! After getting in contact with their neighbours, they realised the magnitude of the problem and they have been really kind and grateful that we stayed despite the situation since then.
And the wonderfull news is: power is back since 1 pm today !!! I sware It feels like paradise !!!
Yes we had headlamp in the motorhome and they have come very handy indeed !! The owner also had à few candles that she offered
Thanks !! Power came back an hour ago !! Thanks for the alternate ideas !!
No they did not propose an hôtel but they told us they’ll give compensation… We’ll see
The neighbors were nice and one of them offered his microwave use as they have a generator
Oh and I forgot to mention! They also have been broken into their gardening shed which is located at the entrance of the property during the first night without power! Apparently it’s not the first time that happens and we had to make a police report on internet for the insurance! The neighbors were great to help though!
I’m surprised to hear that you had to be the ones to file the police report for insurance purposes. Sounds like you have gone above and beyond on this sit–hopefully it is appreciated. It sounds dismaying that the HOs needed to verify the situation with their neighbors–as if your word is not sufficient.
As for what would I do in the case of no power/no heat (!) on a sit, I’d give the HOs a few days to implement a new plan* while I moved to a pet-friendly hotel.
*such as arranging for the dog to be set up in a kennel and cutting the sit short, or setting up the sitter in a pet-friendly hotel or Airbnb until the power came back on.
Edit–typo–pawer for power!