Emergency Arrangements for Difficult Times


In these challenging times, certainty and security go out of the window. We cannot predict what will happen; however, the worst-case scenario might lead to a breakdown of services and possibly a breakdown of law and order.

It is a good idea to consider the services we rely on: electricity, water, gas, internet connection and security. We also need to consider a breakdown of a vital piece of equipment that we rely on, what if we have a fault and a water pump stops working. A distribution pump we can work around but a bore pump could give us a difficult problem. For troubleshooting pump problems see here: www.mrfixitbali.com/water/water-systems/water-pump-problem-solving-220.html

Doubling up on services is a sound approach so that, if one item or system fails, we have alternatives.

Energy

If the power goes out, you will lose water pumps (bore pump and distribution pump) lighting, AC, pool recirculation.

Having a generator, an off-grid solar system or a battery backup protects you if the PLN power goes out. For information on generators see here: www.mrfixitbali.com/electrical/electricity-supply/electricity-generators-33.html

If your power does go out, the first thing to do is to go and check the distribution board and the electric meter. If the large blue switch on the front of the PLN meter is in the off position, try switching it on. If it cuts out immediately, you know that the PLN supply is still on, but there is a fault in the house. Go to the distribution board and switch all the circuit breakers off. Switch the PLN blue switch on (it should stay on) then switch each of the circuit breakers on one by one, if one makes the blue switch off you know the problem is on that circuit. Switch all the other circuit breakers on so you only lose power on the one circuit. You should also check if you have overloaded the circuit by plugging too many things in once (especially air conditioners).

Consider cooking arrangements and remember you may need to boil water for drinking if you run out of bottled water. Use gas for cooking but have electrical appliances such as a micro wave oven, electric rice cooker, water kettle, grill and jaffle iron so you can still cook if you run out of gas.

Make sure you have emergency lights and batteries and the ability to recharge them.
A chest freezer is a good idea to stock up on food for the long term but remember, if the power goes out, you may lose the lot.

Water Supply and Storage

Having PDAM (government reticulated water) and a bore well gives you two alternative sources, very useful should one fail.

Having a water storage tank gives you a buffer supply in case PDAM fails or the power cuts off. Set the tank high off the ground so it can “gravity feed” water to your taps and showers. Install a tap so you can draw water directly from your water tank.

It is also a good idea to install taps to enable you to turn off the supply to toilets and other fittings so you can isolate problems such as leaks and so preserve your precious water. If your water pump starts cycling (turning on and off continuously) this means you probably have a leak and are losing water.

If you have a water tank set above ground level it is a good idea to have bypass with a tap fitted to your distribution water pump so that, if the power goes off, you can open the tap and allow water to gravity feed to your house.

It is also a good idea to have an electric switch for your water pump so you can manually turn it on and off in case of problems with the pump’s automatic on/off switches.

Make sure you have a reasonable buffer stock of drinking water and gas cylinders and try and use them sparingly – make them last. Using water filtration systems can make tap water clean, perhaps even drinkable, but make sure you have the most important item – a UV water steriliser to kill off any bacteria particularly Ecoli that can often contaminate your water from nearby septic tanks, animal faeces or pig farms. When boiling water, you need to make sure the water is actively boiling for at least a minute to kill bacteria.

Internet

At times like this, our internet connection is vitally important for news, communication and entertainment. It is a good idea to have at least two methods of connection. Indihome promised to provide high-speed internet, phone and television but, probably due to system overloading, has become less and less reliable. I have a Telkomsel Halo account for my phone with a data package added (Rp100,000 a month) which I find is far faster and more reliable than the Indihome connection. Another emergency connection can be a second phone with an XL data package (Rp90,000 for 10 gig data and 10 gig Youtube), cheap and effective and sometimes works in places Telkomsel doesn’t.

Security

I am sorry to have to say this, but it is important.

One thing that could happen is law and order may start to break down with opportunists roaming the streets looking for houses to rob or perhaps, as happened in 1965-66 and in 1999, people with a grievance wanting to take the opportunity to settle a score. We need to think about security, and the best defence is the community around you. People who live in a local village, such as I do, who have developed a good relationship with their community should find that this greatly improves your security. It is always a good idea to build a strong relationship with your local banjar.

The next best thing for security is a reasonably sized dog with a deep bark but just be wary of people throwing things over the wall to poison it.

Bars on the windows can be a visible deterrent for the opportunist thief but be careful, make sure that if someone gets in, you can get out. An idea is to put a “dummy” barred window at the opposite end of the house from the front door. This “dummy” window has bars on it like the rest but can be quickly and easily opened from the inside to allow escape.

If you live in an ostentatious house, you will stand out as a target, and it is advisable to check and double check your security arrangements with a safe area in your house and an escape plan. Don’t fight back; it is best to let people take what they want, so they will not hurt you or your loved ones.

For more on security issues see here: www.mrfixitbali.com/building-design/security-and-safety/security-strategies-for-your-home-168.html

In these troubled times, please take care.

 

Previous “Fixed Abode” articles can be found subject indexed on our website at www.mrfixitbali.com. Opinions expressed are those of Phil Wilson. He can be contacted through the website or the office on 0361 288 789 or 08123 847 852.

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