*Saferoom Test Report*
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!
By Green

If you'll bear with me, I'd like to break up my saferoom test results into several subsections. That said, here goes the beginning... my start....

Room Selection and Supply Gathering
12:00mn -1:20am - Supply Gathering

I have had plastic, real duct tape, a variety of fans, some filters and filter materials, foods, and general saferoom stuff ever since it was first mentioned... how hard could it be to put up a saferoom? If you have all the stuff, all you need to do is put it up, right?

Well... it was not as easy or fast as I'd thought it would be, at least not for me. Having all I needed 'somewhere' in the house, I printed out the Saferoom Checklist I had posted earlier on what to take into the saferoom. At that point, we began. We went through the list and gathered everything into a spare room in the basement where we could set up a saferoom that would not be 'in the way' of my husband's daily work routine for the duration of the test. This room was one of 3 areas I had identified and the easiest to 'learn on'.

This room has been used for several things over the years, an office, library, guest room, schoolroom and extra room. Today, it was our safe room. The room is approximately 10'X12' with only 1 window, bifold doors, a floor to ceiling bookcase on half of one wall, various shelves in other places in the room and 2 small closets. There was a queen sized bed stored upright along one wall, a dresser along the same wall and some school desks. It could be taken out of service without disrupting my husband's schedule. It was the smallest of the saferoom options and a good starter space upon which to build. The size is reminiscent of the fallout shelters, tight.

Next, I'll go into the transition from extra room to saferoom.

Doing the Plastic
1:20am - 1:30am - Planning
1:30am - 3:00am - First Plastic
3:00 - 4:00am - Second Plastic

We began our saferoom project at midnight. My husband was in bed and our sounds would not interfere with his sleep.

Using the checklist, we divided it up and each gathered parts from all over the house, food from storage and the kitchen, bedding from our bedrooms, cooking supplies from our storage, my newly purchased but untested deep cycle battery from its place atop the steps awaiting this day. Working in a tight space, we had to remind each other not to put things in the walking space. We did not want to paint ourselves either into or out of the room, though at times, we did. We designated one hour to gather all our needed supplies, but then extended it so we could get our pets situated for the night and assure hubby had needed things for the morning. That added 20 minutes of which I allowed each of us to do a quick walk through to see if we noticed anything that we should have included on the list.

Once everything was inside, we considered ourselves 'started'. At that point, we voted on how we would progress, whether to organize or put up plastic first.

Putting up plastic first won the vote.

Good! That should be easy enough. Get plastic, measure windows/doors and tape it up.

Easier said than done. We had a narrow pathway in which to move at this point, and much of it was filled with supplies. First thing we noticed we did not bring was a yard stick for measuring and a ruler for reaching hard to reach areas and flattening down tape. We looked around for improvised measuring ideas and opted for using an air conditioner filter. We decided to start with putting plastic over the small closet door.

From then until many hours later, it was rather stressful. We were stuck in a room together (that is, my 2 sons and I) with too much 'stuff', not enough room and work to do. First, I could have sent them to bed to stay out of the way, but for the things needing to be done, they were capable of being an asset and I knew that no serious issues were at stake at this juncture. Second, there was no place to send them...we were 'there'.

We agreed it would be best to begin with the easiest jobs and move to the more complex/difficult, so we picked plasticizing the smaller closet. We had minimal room to stretch out the plastic. It comes folded about 4 or 6 times lengthwise, then folded blanket style and then rolled until it fit into the plastic bag. There was not a good surface to spread out on to cut nice straight long lines, and as mentioned above, no yard stick.

We used the fold lines and managed to get a pretty good width cut. It took about 30 minutes to cut out the first piece. Everyone was psyched and wanted to take part. This was not expedient. We'd have been dead if we needed the safe room immediately. After cutting the height of the plastic, we placed it over the door. Guess what.... one of us was counting squares from the top of the grid covering the filter, the other from the bottom. Needless to say, that piece was too small, so it was folded and reserved for who knows when later. We restarted and cut a second piece using 2 people instead of 3 this time. It went faster taking only about 5 minutes. Still tough since we lacked workspace. At this point, we regretted not doing the plastic before loading up the room.... youth and enthusiasm collided with old and tired. This was the hard and inefficient way to work. It would have been fine had we done it a day earlier when time was not a factor, but as the hours ticked by, we were missing sleep time. Finally we cut the plastic perfectly and managed to hold it in place for taping. Here was where 6 hands were welcome. Here is where I figured out why Maddog put tacks on the list. Holding up the plastic straight and just the right distance from the molding was more difficult for youth than for oldth to conceive of. Our first piece of plastic took about an hour and a half to get right to my satisfaction. At this time, Pup was begging out for sleep. There was hardly anywhere for him to lay down yet... so he kept working.

Next we measured and cut the piece of plastic for the bifold doors. Unfortunately for both doors, the wall bookshelves came right up to the molding making sealing the 4th side difficult and time consuming. On the bifold doors, I had the boys make sure the plastic was touching the floor before making the final cut since the loss of THAT much mis-cut plastic would be more noticeable from our supplies. We got the top taped, which was a big job since I had poor access to about a foot of the top edge of the plastic. It is good I did not wait until I heard that the bio-cloud was overhead when we began cutting plastic.... course, had it been, I would have cut all the plastic myself. I hate to say, but I could barely reach the wall to the left of the door to put on the tape, so I was cutting it in 1 foot lengths just so I had control over where it went. I preferred the silver duct tape recommended by Brian over regular cheap duct tape sold in coated cloth rolls of tape. If you 'missed' an edge, you could easily remove and restick the good tape. It 'folded' when you needed to crease it lengthwise and held its shape. It 'rode' up the wall (or down or across) by just sliding it off the backing in the direction you needed it to go. Once you had it where you wanted it and pressed it down, it stayed there. Accessing hard to reach areas with regular duct tape would have been a total nightmare. The worst part was that by the time I got to the bottom, for some reason, half of it came up 1/2" short of the floor. I was about ready to quit fooling with this in the middle of the night over that, but I pressed forwards and finished up the seal using 2 rows of tape to reach the floor.

Once we covered those 2 areas, we determined that the triple pane windows would not likely need plastic since they were well sealed. The fan test would be our deciding factor. The other closet was needed and had a distinct back wall, so we left it accessible.

Now, we were very tired, plastiqued in and standing still amongst our 'stuff'.

I determined in doing this that anyone who had not cut their plastic before the 'bugs' came would be dead.

Organizing the Stuff
4:00am - 5:00/5:30am - Organize Supplies

We were tired but anxious to get organized for our 16 hour adventure. We planned for 16 hours so we could maximize our awake time in the room, get in 2 cooked meals, sleep adequately and be awake enough to do more than just get set up.

Once the plastic was up, we felt we were really started and it gave us a boost of energy. Four hours had passed since we printed out 'the list'. There was so much left to do and we were getting sleepy.

I looked over the piles, the empty places on the shelves and the available floor space. I made a mental note of the major categories of items we'd brought in and determined to put like things together. We started with the food items. Pup cleared off 2 shelves from a corner bookcase and neatly organized what we'd brought in for meals and snacks.... oatmeal, chicken and rice, soda, nuts, popcorn, fruitcake and chocolate (2 small Reeses cups for Pup), not to mention about 4 or 5 gallons of water in sturdy plastic juice jugs. Once this was done, again, our spirits lifted at the progress. As we were first gathering supplies and the weight of the project at hand fell full force, I ate about a quarter cup of cashews and drank a generic mountain dew. This was partly out of nervousness, partly out of hunger. The boys weren't snacking at that point. We each had a drink open in varying stages of completion somewhere in a nook or cranny in the room.

Afterwards, we organized all the things we'd brought in to pass the free time. A gray tote (probably 2 gallon sized) was filled half full of games, batteries, rechargers and printed lists of 'game hints'. I was starting to see a floor.

Next we moved the water jugs along the wall in front of the small closet. Before beginning, we'd switched out a desk for a 'potty chair' (if you were at the 2000 VA campout, you saw it). We set the potty chair in front of the bookcase where the desk had been. At this point we realized that the bucket to the potty chair was sitting in the hall just 4" on the other side of the plastic. It could have been miles away for all it was worth. We decided to use the waste basket if needed in its place, lined with heavy duty plastic trash bags of course. Since we'd all taken care of business before we came in, we used the space under the potty chair to store backpacks with our gas masks and filters. Someone had grabbed a heavy duty crib mattress for comfort sleeping in close quarters. Curled up slightly it was not too bad for a short person. We put the mattress on the floor between the small closet and the upright queen sized mattress leaning against the opposite wall. Next, we moved the water again so there was room to stretch out on the mattress. One end of the room now felt complete. Later, we felt that the crib mattress was not worth its space and other camp style mattresses would have stored with a smaller footprint.

Next we gathered and organized all the battery powered supplies into an area on and in front of the dresser. Some books from the desks were moved to a higher bookcase for the night. A third desk (antique sewing table) was moved in front of the dresser to provide a now open floor space adequate for 2 more sleepers. The remaining items were moved to suitable places, clothes folded and stacked on top of the upright mattress, an easel placed between the larger closet and the  dresser, a metal folding chair placed behind the easel.

We put down bedding at about 5:00am, five hours after we had begun, and still had things left to do.

As we put down the bedding, it was noted that no cushion of any type (egg crate mattress, foam cushion, nothing) had been brought in for the other 2 of us....nor sheets. We had 3 comforters and that was it. Due to a miscommunication, a third pillow was left upstairs and I was left pillowless.

As the boys laid down under the bright overhead fluorescent lighting, I reached for the rechargeable AA's to put into our touch lights. We had moved to phase 3....power off, and it was finally time to sleep.

Sleeping & Waking in the Safe Room
5:00am - Bedtime for Boys 5:30am - Bedtime for Me
7:00am - First Visit By Husband
8:00am - Second Visit By Husband
10:00am - Wake up, Devotional
10:30am - Breakfast

As I laid down to sleep, I brought 3 sweatshirts to arrange under my head. I wrapped the comforter sleeping bag style around me and prepared to quickly doze off but it did not happen. The sweatshirts were no match for a pillow and my shoulder was feeling smashed under the weight of my heavy body on a carpeted floor. The room was dark and sufficiently warm despite the lower temperatures outdoors. I thought through what was left to do and how we would get it all done before 4pm when we would need to come out. In the process, I dozed off without realizing it.

What seemed to be far too soon afterwards, I heard a skritching on the plastic by my feet. Our cat had come down looking for mommy, her preferred bedding. I bopped the plastic by my feet to keep her from ripping through the 6 mil plastic wall between us. She was not fazed by it. After a few futile attempts at this, I sat up and bopped her forehead through the plastic. She finally retreated and went upstairs. She did not return at any other time during the 'lock in'.

Not long afterwards, I was subconsciously roused by sounds outside the room. Soon, the familiar silhouette of my husband appeared getting ready to untape the top of the door. As if wide awake all at once, I urged him to stop. It took far too long getting it up to allow him to remove it so soon. He asked what we were doing and I informed him we were camping in. He said we were going to suffocate like that and wanted to know why I needed plastic for it. I suggested I'd be able to talk about it more after I had woken up fully, so he went on to work, or so I thought.

About an hour later, he came back asking for my pager which needed to be repaired. The repair would require a 2 1/2 hour trip. I slipped it under the short side of the plastic. He reached under, lifted up his hand about 6 or so inches, slid it both ways a few inches, and once he (in my interpretation) felt we had a hole big enough at the bottom to get air in so we would not suffocate, retrieved the pager and headed out informing me he'd be back in 2 hours. I fell back into a deep sleep immediately making dreamy plans to fix the opening upon awakening, being glad this was just the test run. I was sure this was not causing good thoughts to go through his mind. Two more hours of sleep hardly seemed like it would be enough.

At some point around the 'two more hours', I aroused and folded my comforter, placing it back on the top of the upturned queen sized bed. That would have been much more comfortable to sleep in, but would have filled the room quite a bit. My bladder called out softly to me, but I ignored it seeing no real floor space in which to work. I awakened the boys and we put their bedding away too. For the first time, we had what seemed like useable floor space. We had a metal folding chair, a school desk and a 'potty chair' (a chair frame to which a real toilet seat had been bolted where the seat used to be). We all situated ourselves for our morning routine... breakfast, prayer/Bible reading and planning out the day's activities. Water was heating on my 'safe heat' stove for oatmeal and cocoa. This would be the first of our two 'cooked' meals. The room was still adequately warm, so we opted to skip the hot cocoa and labeled and opened a soda each to sip on for the next few hours.

Water doesn't boil using safe heat, it just gets very hot. Upon emptying a package of flavored oatmeal into a disposable bowl, hot water was stirred in using a plastic spoon. The oatmeal softened slowly but never really 'cooked' in the bowl, so when it had become sufficiently edible, we proceeded to eat it. We talked about what remained to be done.

After breakfast, we cleaned up. A package of oatmeal missed part of the bowl and landed on the floor between the desk and the upright mattress. A vaccuum would have taken care of the visual mess, but instead, we ignored it. The part powdered mess was hopelessly embedded in carpet fiber for the time being. About 4 feet away, the carpet was drying from a water spill...again, it would have to just evaporate.

After breakfast, our bladders cried out. We had decided on using a large mouth juice jug for 'pee'. Each of the boys turned their backs and emptied their bladders into the previously slightly used jug (from the previous night). It was apparent by the dark results that they were becoming dehydrated. Mountain Dew was not cutting it and drinking water while minorly stressed did not seem enticing. We should have packed tea or Koolaid.

My bladder was singing loudly by now, but I could not think of a sufficiently private means of emptying it in a reasonably sanitary way. This was not like 'going' in the woods. Finally, I remembered an empty 18 oz. plastic peanut butter jar in the craft area. I moved the crib mattress towards the door and propped it upright and cocked it so it leaned steadily against the book shelf. The area provided sufficient privacy to begin relieving myself. It took a bit of arranging and rearranging before settling on a 'dry position' to hold the jar in between my legs. Well seated, up tight and held between my thighs, I was able to stand and pee successfully. Once done, I carefully removed the very full jar and capped it. After wiping the outside, down my leg a bit and my hands, I tossed the tissue into a waste basket rather than in the urine jug. The golden fluid was carefully poured into the larger jug and capped. A bottle of alcohol was on the shelf behind me, so I afforded myself of its use for cleaning my hands more thoroughly, then the outside of the jar for its next use. The relief was instant and the feeling of satisfaction at improvising a private moment pleased me inwardly. I planned on trying a slightly larger jar in the future.

Set for the day, we planned on completing our safe room preparations.

Powering Up Chicken Style
11:00am - Battery Setup

We had wanted to complete the battery hookups before dozing off, but never having done it (only having read about it), I did not want to risk having something go boom in the night while we were asleep.

I had brought in a deep cycle battery, an inverter, a trickle charger (for later recharge), a lamp, a fan in a well fitting bucket (for test purposes only since it failed the air flow test), a battery charger for the AA's and C batteries, a small TV/Radio and one or two other things for use if needed. I changed over the wire on the inverter that allowed it to be used in our vehicle's lighter to one which could be attached to the battery directly. This very simple procedure of hooking up 2 wires to a battery brought all kinds of irrational fears. I had read that hydrogen gas was formed by the battery when it was recharged, so the thought that it might defy the laws of nature and spontaneously ignite and explode in my face by merely hooking it up to the terminals flooded my mind. I grabbed my glasses and put them on and wished I'd have brought the full face mask near the saw with me. I double, triple and quadruple checked the positive and negative terminals and wires before actually sliding them gently down the terminal posts. It sparked when I touched the negative post, but I did not freak since I knew that happened sometimes with batteries and was normal.

Fearfully, I reached over and turned on the fan to the inverter backing off quickly in the event it might blow up too. I was ecstatic. I actually WORKED! :) :) :)

I knew the room fan would work on the battery without overloading it, so after I gathered another bit of courage, I plugged it in and turned it on. I had placed the fan bucket in the gap left by the morning visit making a mental note that this was not a final arrangement since it would suck air from the floor, a bad place for bio/chem agents. There were 2 small gaps next to the bucket, so I grabbed 2 sweatshirts and filled them. I unplugged and replugged the fan several times to see if the plastic was bulging or not, and to my pleasure, each time I unplugged the fan (the switch was on the outside of the plastic), I could see the plastic distinctly swoosh back inwards towards the room. My fan setup was NOT sufficient to make this a bio-safe room. This was used to simulate that portion of the test until an appropriate setup could be made.

I knew it was not filtered, but knowing I had bought the right battery, hooked it up to an inverter without having 'seen it done' in person and without having a man there to oversee anything that might go wrong, and having watched that plastic move in and out on command just filled me with joy.

I DID IT! :) :) :) :) :) :)

And I didn't blow up!

When I first learned to drive, my brother hooked a battery up backwards and it exploded in his face. That fear has haunted me since... but today.... I hooked up a simple deep cycle battery ALL BY MYSELF and I am alive to tell about it.

Pretty corny, I know. I'll move on.

After that euphoric experience, we all cheered because we finally completed the last part of what I could remember of the safe room test requirements... for the plastic to bulge outwards. I knew we also needed to cook a second meal, but we had that planned out already.

I took note that my inverter said 350 watts, so I figured since both things I'd plugged in used wall volts (120), that twice that would be 240, and if I added another appliance, that it would put it up to 360V, too high. I thought it strange that they would not make it go to 360.

You guys in the know see what I did wrong. About an hour or so later, it hit me when Zoom requested plugging in the battery charger to the inverter, and I thought it sad that I could not add anything else, that it hit me... 350 WATTS, not VOLTS! I had room I could have added in more. At this point, I felt confident enough that I could have done the math to figure out how many other things I could have added on the inverter and how long the whole setup could have run on the 115 amp/hour battery.... all because of lessons I'd learned on the Rubicon.

This major fear being hurdled, we set to the task of 'structuring' the remainder of our day of 'camping in'.

That will be next.

The Good, The Bad & the Ugly
What We Did & What We'd Do Differently
11:30am - Quiet Reading
12:00nn - Playtime
1:00pm - Debriefing
2:00pm - Games
3:00pm - Review Alt Power, Security Needs Addressed
4:00pm - Cook lunch, eat, cleanup
4:40pm - Clean and leave saferoom

We had a saferoom, albeit small. We had water, food, power, plastic (bulging plastic!), bedding, toileting and a number of other issues covered in a space that normally would be considered a good sized walk-in closet.

The space was small and minor things became major irritants, but more of that later. For now, we still had time left before our saferoom test was complete. We were sure this would need to be repeated, perhaps several times, before getting all the pieces in place. Setting up a saferoom is a complex project involving many stages. At first it resembles camping indoors, but because you are limited to the resources within the room, you can't make do on many of the things you might if you were outdoors.... such as heating, foraging or bedding down comfortably. All the needs were the same, but the supplies at hand were completely different...manmade rather than natural materials.

It is hard to mention 'filling time' without mentioning the effect our time together was having on each of us, so I will go ahead and tie them together here.

I'll move back to the 'gathering supplies' part. As we gathered supplies, I could hear bickering over choices being made on what would fit in the space we had. Toys had to meet each others' approval for being willing to be shared and for not being totally obnoxious to the other occupants when you weren't the one enjoying it. This was an unspoken criteria. At the heart of one argument was the value of bringing in a small remote controlled monster truck. Granted, it was a fun toy, but we had minimal floor space and the noise could not be tuned out. We finally agreed that there would be times that something as 'fun' as that would be a nice break to an otherwise monotonous existence... but that it could ONLY be used during 'active' time, and then it would need to be shared in a reasonable manner. That was agreed on and it was allowed in.

I mentioned the pillow issue earlier. A pillow is a simple thing. It can be improvised readily with other things, but for comfort sake, there is nothing like a few 'familiar' items to smooth life over. Being the 'adult', I opted out of getting a 'real' pillow and tried the sweat shirts. It was a miserable setup and made an already difficult sleep that much harder.

I know the issue of gas comes up in posts fairly regularly at campouts. I saw the gaseous incidents of others in their saferooms (no names mentioned T.C.) I thought, we wouldn't have that problem. People have gas. No big deal.

When we were putting up the plastic and walk space was minimal, we were working at different levels, that happened... OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER!

What is it about enclosed spaces? Do we have THAT much gas all day and not notice or is there something about stress that increases it?

I have a personal rule about gas. Ignore it. If you have it, say excuse me as loud as it was so those who heard the gas hear the 'excuse me' afterwards... or in the case of SBD's, say 'EXCUSE ME!!!!' rather loudly and apologetically as a warning to others of the fate that awaits them. Other than that, gas is gas... who cares.

Last night, I wanted to CORK a couple of boys.

I know the difference between forced and natural and none was forced, but good grief! Is there no OFF switch to this stuff? I am with my sons 24/7 most of the time, but not in a 10'X 12' shrink wrapped space! Needless to say, Beano (Simethicone) is going in our saferoom supply box in the future!

While on the subject of irritants (yes, I have gotten off topic of our free time schedule, but bear with me as I vent), we sat down and listed the things about being 'stuck in a small space' with others that irritated us. We noticed that things that might irritate us minorly under normal circumstances caused us to loose it under close quarters. Knowing hands weren't being washed well, having someone touch my food sent me through the roof. Having someone 'look at you' was more irritating because there was a lack of physical privacy, but more, there was no place to just 'think', reflect, daydream without being 'noticed'. So being 'not looked at' mattered more when you were deep in thought. Bumping into stuff and knocking it off bothered me more. ANY little mess bothered me once we had things in order. Every piece of trash had to go directly into the trash can right away as it was polluting my visual space. Touch was irritating between the boys. They touch thousands of times a day normally with no thought of it at all, but in the room, they did not want to be touched at all. Perhaps it fell into the same category as invading the ever so small personal space of others.

There was like this little bubble of space that you did not want anyone else to violate around you... visually to the space in front of you, auditorilly to the sounds within your hearing, touch-wise, even brushing up against someone in passing was undesirable. And even though we normally do not have a problem with drinking or eating after each other, the 'ownership' of the food and drink we had was strong(er than normal) and sharing was just plain cut out. We wrote names on the sodas so no one drank from another's can. Being in a semi-dark room was not good either. At one point, the curtain had been knocked off balance and a stream of sunlight came through. We all instantly responded to that accident with 'leave it off!' Sunlight was GOOD! Dim light was not good. Zoom was irritated by the non-stop activity of set up. He wanted time to 'breathe'. Once things were set up, we had that opportunity and things began to look up after that.

There were 'good things' too. Pup found a large handful of colored craft sticks and managed to make a variety of things from them which amused us all. Craft items were good! They combed the bookcases for puzzle books and novels on their level. A favorite comfort food available at the peak stress times (determined by each of us individually) to eat at will was good. REAL silver duct tape was VERY good! Having high places to stick things to free up space lower in the room (especially the floor) was good. Triple pane windows were real good about the 2nd hour into cutting and taping plastic in place. Bounty paper towels and grocery sized bags for trash were good. Munchable foods (non-cook) were good. Flat surfaces for cooking and writing on were good. Chairs that folded flat were good. TV trays that folded flat would have been GREAT! Natural lighting and a window view were the best. Pup sat in the window for a few hours looking at cars, planes, helocopters and people passing by after we got situated.

In our discretionary time, we altered quiet time/activities with more active ones. We designated activities by about the half hour/forty five minute range.... such as, let's all find something to read and NO TALKING or making any sounds (there are thousands of non-talking sounds a boy can make when he is bored.) Afterwards, we pulled out the monster truck and played with it a while. Later, the boys used Gameboys for a limited time, then cards, then reading out loud from a novel. We spent a good while evaluating our saferoom experience, including the 'what was good', 'what was irritating' info contained here.

We all agree that it was not enough to just do this once. We need to do it again to get it all right.

We need to have supplies pre-positioned, plastic pre-cut, a thorough list of what to bring in and locations on where to find it if it is not pre-positioned. We need a fan/filter arrangement and a means of keeping it up off the floor. We need better choices in oatmeal flavors. Cinnamon Roll oatmeal just plain tastes sickeningly sweet (read that as NASTY) to all of us and no one was willing to take it at any price. We agreed that there was NO NEED to bring foods in unless they tasted good to us. We need to remove excess furniture if we are to actually stay in the room for any length of time. In that vein, shelves were considered good as were folding TV trays. Desks are out, folding metal chairs and camp chairs are in. Better bedding is needed, something that packs small when done. The pads that allow a limited amount of air in them and then deflate fully and roll up were judged an option worth trying next time. We woke up sore, stiff, uncomfortable and congested after sleeping directly on carpet without padding, sheets or filtration fan running.

Safe heat is not adequate for quick meals. The MSR whisperlight backpacking stove would have done a better job at boiling water, not to mention a faster one. Soda was good, but plain water was not. Tea bags and a little sugar would have gone a long way, not to mention lemonade or Koolaid. We all dehydrated a bit, and once the fan came on, it increased. At the end, Pup had a nosebleed from the constant blowing of dry dusty air. He has what may become a fever blister on the edge of his mouth. The few I have gotten could all be traced back to dehydration and stress, and I am sure this one could be too.

Touch lights eat batteries. We got one hour of light from 4 rechargeable AA's. Overhead lighting is worth 3 or 4 floor lights. Natural light beats them all.

I will be much more confident about using alt battery power next time.

It would have been good to have all the Alt Energy and Solar Power articles printed out and put together in the saferoom.

Pup wished he'd have brought a pair of shorts in for when it felt warm. Once the fan came on, the room got a bit cooler where it had been plenty warm. We had only brought in cold weather clothes.

We purposefully crated the dog with food and water so she would not tear up the house to get to us. A few times she howled pitifully. It was heart wrenching not to be able to let her out. We discussed what we might have to do if that happened in a 'real situation'.

We left the cat out, but decided she could have stayed most likely. She keeps us warm at night, is very gentle and purrs nicely when you pet her and would have been good for morale. The litter box could have even been placed up high on the book shelf as she is able to climb and jump. Here as with other little messes, a push sweeper would have been a nice addition.

We finished up our day with a late lunch of chicken and rice. We took one can of chunk chicken, 2 cups of instant rice, water and a can of cream of mushroom soup (my kids hate mushrooms, but they eat this soup mixed in with stuff), mixed it in a single pot, let it heat on the safe heat until the rice was soft (forever) and ate it. They are picky about some of the stuff they eat, but they have no problems with this meal.

We cleaned up our mess, packed up our trash, dishes, bedding, clothing and many other things and returned to the rest of the world after a debriefing.

We have decided that deadlines are a good thing too, because they force you to bring to the forefront those things you put off until you have to do them. Having a saferoom day was a good thing, and we hope to see another one scheduled soon so we can do all the things we didn't really touch on fully, like air filtration, more alt energy, security and other topics.

My husband came home moments before we were finishing up and asked if we were still downstairs. We hollered out that we were almost done. He had to return to work after a day of fixing cars, trucks and pagers, so as we crossed paths on my way to football practice, we arranged to meet for dinner at his office. I knew what we did make him uncomfortable and made him have to face a reality he preferred not to. Two hours later when we met, it was as if it never happened. He did not bring it up further, so I did not pursue it. A seed was planted and given time, it will grow. Surely he will think, if it comes down to THAT, I'm not going to settle for a tiny little safe room. I want to do it right....and we'll move our tested operations upstairs, where there are real beds and sunlight and space.

All in all, this was a good thing.


The End.


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