Tuesday , July 27 2021

B.C. Storm: How We Survived for 10 Days on the Island of Salt Spring without electricity or water

Patricia Robitale is a resident of the Salt Island island. She and her family were without electricity and water 10 days after the big storm on December 20. This is her account of how they got through it.

The storm was predicted for the island of Salt Spring and other southern Gulf Islands. But we experienced many winter storms and did not think this would be different.

It was.

Winds, 120 kilometers per hour, a cry around the house and through the trees. It was terrifying and all I could do was to care, to pray and to pray that one of those massive trees that I watched depend on the winds would not hit the house. Eight trees fell on our property.

We lost power early in the storm, around 12 o'clock. on December 20. Later that night we lost water. We will not get water and energy back up to 10 days later.

Here I have learned that I hope it can be useful for others.

We did not have a rain of barrels, so instead we used large garbage containers to collect the rain water. (Submitted by Patricia Robitayle)


We are happy to have a hot tub and we will extract a bucket from the bathtub and we will spill enough in the toilet bowl to wash it. It takes half a bucket to wash the low toilet. Have at least one small toilet in your house. We simply renovated our own bathroom and the difference in the use of water between the old bathroom in the guest bathroom and our new one is significant. This becomes important when each drop of water counts.

I would also suggest that you fill the bathtub with water if you get enough warning before a major storm or earthquake.


On the second day after the storm, we poured rain, so that we put a big garbage bin under one of the canals, and the baskets and dishes to catch the rainwater. They were filled in a short time, and we cooked this water on the wooden stove and we used it for washing dishes and ourselves.

We also had friends who had water and power back in front of us, and we gratefully took them to invitations to shower and we charged our devices.

Our wood stove has brought a lot of comfort, not to mention comfortable foods such as cheese grill. (Submitted by Patricia Robitayle)

Eating and drinking

We had four cases of soda water on hand, and we also bought three 18-liter glasses of water.

Our flat spline on the wood stove really does not save us. The entire house kept warm warm, and made it a chef. Every morning my husband instigated the fire and put a small bowl on it to boil for coffee.

Also, cooked spaghetti, potato puree, steamed vegetables, heated homemade soup from the freezer and made sandwiches on a cheese grill on the stove. We also cook the BBQ, so it's good to have a second full propane tank as a backup.

Rat Rat. Outside the refrigerator temperature at this time of the year, but be sure to store the food in solid coolers. (Submitted by Patricia Robitayle)

The good news of the storm in winter is that in the coastal BC, it is the outside temperature of the refrigerator. I would suggest a large metal refrigerator to store items for outdoor refrigerators. At first we had some refrigerated items stored outdoors in a plastic washing basket, while one morning I did not find out that a rat made his way through a good amount of butter. So we put these items in a green container to store Rubbermaid.

A strange sound aroused me one night. I grabbed the flashlight and threw it into a food container in front of the glass door. There is no rat, but I spied on a pile of ruby-green shavings near one corner of the container. Oh, no, he was trying to eat his way into the container! We took it and put it in the coldest room in the house until the end of the night.

A collection of wireless reflectors and candles by Patricia Robitayle. (Submitted by Patricia Robitayle)

Light and communication

Do not buy traditional mirrors of the type of light type cylindrical style. They are not practical when you need to use both hands or want to brighten the surface larger than the beam. LED floodlights with a lantern can stand, hang, or cling onto things and be perfect for such situations. Do not get a flashlight with a rechargeable battery. Have a great supply of batteries on hand.

Buy more boxes of "candles" -7 "long white candles that will burn beautifully and bright for six hours. Also, a great power bank to charge your devices will come in handy. We were fortunate that the infrastructure of the mobile telephony was not damaged, as social media were my main way to stay in touch with what was happening in my community.

How did we spend time? A lot of cots. Lots of reading the voice. The wine definitely helped things to go smoothly. Even though we have Netflix once again and everything returns to normal, I will be ready if the island of Salt Spring is experiencing spark 2.0.

Listen to Patricia Robbitale's interview on the shore:

Patricia Robitayle, a resident of Salt Spring, had to live without energy and water 10 days after the strong wind on December 20. 7:20

With files from the shore.

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