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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
All: While it's fresh in our minds... I thought this would be a good time for us to compile our notes on what we observed from Sandy (which actually counts as a SHTF situation for millions of people). I'd like to discuss the issues that we observed and what we have or could do to overcome said issues...

I'd love everyone's input. Then, I will consolidate your inputs back into the original post so we have a consolidated summary that could help each of us evaluate our own preparedness. It would also be a good thread to direct new folks to. So... I'll start. Please feel free to both add and critique my (and everyone else's) suggestions. I'd rather have reality face me than someone being too polite to speak up. :)

***Major Issue: Loss of commercial electrical grid
- Mitigation: Personal Generators, Solar Power Systems, Wind Generation Systems (also applies as mitigation to all sub issues)
- Per Shotlady: Use gas stabilizer for long term storage of gas
- Per Watercanlady: Consider an automatic generator option (vs manual start).
- Per Watercanlady: Use of a wood burner pump for power
- Per Watercanlady: Propane cook stove (with extra propane)

Sub-Issues: (mitigation assume Major Issue Mitigation not applicable)
- Loss of light at night
- Creates unsafe living/travel conditions; increases risk of criminal activity; darkness brings "fear", etc.
- Mitigation: Flashlights and spare batteries (1 per person); Lanterns (with appropriate fuel source); Candles.
- Per Shotlady: Try Christmas lights instead of larger bulbs if using an alternate electrical source (to save power drain and fuel)
- Per Shotlady: Be aware of possible gas leaks when using open flames.

- Loss of refrigerated/frozen food
- Loss of day to day and long term food source
- Mitigation: Hold a massive BBQ

- Loss of commercial water sources - water pumps in major cities use electric pumps
- Inability to consume daily requirement, inability to bathe, wash cloths, cook certain food items; can't flush toilets (sanitation issue)
- Mitigation: Store water on location; Drain water from hot water heater; Use water purification devices on available non-potable water (toilet tank, pools, etc)

- Loss of fuel - gas stations run on electricity.
- Long lines at remaining stations. Vehicles ran out of gas while waiting for gas. People had to walk and carry 2-5 gallon containers. Gas is approx 8 lbs per gallon.
- Mitigation: Store gasoline at residence (per shotlady.... use a gas stabilizer on stored gas)

- Loss of Heating ability
- Millions of people without means of keeping warm
- Mitigation: Propane-based heaters; wood for fireplace; thermal clothing; wool blankets

- Loss of Medical Facilities
- Major Hospitals lost functionality and turned to generators; several lost generators
- Mitigation: Extensive home first aid kits; "animal" medicines as backup

- Loss of traffic system
- Extensive confusion at intersections resulting in mass traffic jams; Some bridges changed to HOV lanes (3 people per vehicle)
- Mitigation: Pre-stock all required items and don't travel unless medical emergency or collecting family members (which ideally would already be at your house)

- Loss of Communications
- Local, Long distance and cell phones useless
- Mitigation: CB's; Walkie talkies; Ham radios; Must pre-establish comm plans (like what channels to use, when to expect transmission, encrypted terminology so eavesdroppers don't show up
if you discuss remaining assets or location)
- Per shotlady: Consider a smaller solar powered charger for running and recharging comm units.

- Increase in crime (looting, robbery, etc)
- Mitigation: Travel in groups; Don't leave assets unprotected; own firearms; don't travel in unlit or dimly lit areas without light; stay low-key and don't advertise personal assets or power sources

- Strangers in need: many non-preppers showing up begging for help (some medical, some food and water, some need place to sleep, some just [email protected] bums who are waiting for the govt)
- Mitigation: Help them from your limited stores; Store extra in case this happens; turn them away; Don't let them know you are there and prepared so they don't show up

***Major Issue: Massive Flooding
- Mitigation: Study local flood plain maps before renting/purchasing and select residence based on safety, not view

Sub-Issues: (mitigation assume Major Issue Mitigation not applicable)

- Risk of drowning
- Mitigation: Learn to swim; purchase inflatable or actual canoe, kayak, boat, etc.

- Contaminated commercial water supply, contaminated rivers, lakes, ponds, etc
- Mitigation: Store water on location; Use water purification devices on contaminated water

- Inability to travel (roads and bridges washed out or vehicles under water)
- Mitigation: Inflatable or actual canoes, kayaks, boats, etc.

- Waves/water saturation knocked housed off structural supports (created broken gas lines; made houses unlivable)
- Mitigation: Establish per-determined bug out location (somewhere close and accessible considering loss of roads)

***Major Issue: Blizzard Conditions (combinations of strong winds, freezing cold, heavy snow/ice, downed trees and power lines)
- Mitigation: See individual issues below

Sub-Issues:

- Loss of Heat/Insufficient heat (see above)

- Closed/dangerous Roads (can't get to stores, hospitals, family and friends, etc)
- Mitigation:

- ????

OK... enough from me.... I'm ready for any critiques and suggestions.
 

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Well we lost our power 2 nights in a row. We have an automatic generator and it came on within 1 minute. We felt very safe and secure both nights here. We did talk about alternative ways to power our outdoor wood burner pump so that the generator would not have to run all the time. We will be working on that. We have propane cook stove so no problem there. Pump ran off generator. We are far better off in this storm than many.
 

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One of the only good things about Chicago don't have to worry about this issue.
 

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great write up!
stored gasoline needs stabilizer.
becareful with candle light as a gas line could be broken and blow you up.
cb radios are super for listening, try not to broadcast as your location could be discovered, same as ham radio you can own them but need the secret handshake to operate, but to listen in as to check points, impassible areas or danger is super. hand heald are 50 bux do get the solar charger for 30 dollars. silence will win the next phase.

being on the dl with your generator is huge, use xmas lights instead of house lights, uses less gas, energy and attracts less attention.
it serves you well to not appear too comfortable. you can be comfortable, just dont appear to be too comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Shotlady: Good calls on the gas vs candle issue and the Christmas lights drawing less power. I've never tested it... but I'd always assumed a generator uses the same amount of gas to run whether you are drawing power off of it or it's just sitting there running with nothing attached. I'll need to research how generators work. It might me worthwhile to start a new thread on ways to save gas when using a generator.

Oh... I though of another issue with no power = no water. Toilets. :) When we store water... some plan a bit extra to account for washing bodies and cloths, but I was thinking we should find a way to capture any grey water to use to flush toilets instead of letting it go down a drain or into the ground.
 

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this is a quote from a note rob sent to us as worried friends. hes in upstate new york. with a bride and three kids:

The 3000watt Honda is silently powering 2 refrigerators,2 cell chargers, a lap top for the kids to watch videos on, the battery for the excursion and about 10 strings of led Christmas lights strung about the house providing better than candle light.....all that on less than a gallon since about noon....


thinking about grey water, you can use a campers shower , mine is 2.5 gallons, you can figure a catchment to reuse for flushes of waste.
I always thought that about generators too. but they have variable output.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Generator.... Silent???? I definitely need to upgrade. Mine is about 15 years old and literally screams at the neighbors "Here I am... Here I am.... roar roar... Here I am!!!"

I'll bet his newer generator is also more fuel efficient.

But the question is: What size generator is the most logical for a household? In another thread... I'm trying to figure out how to hook a generator to a house vs. running it stand alone. And... that may determine the size.

And... should I have a smaller one in a vehicle or trailer BOB?
 
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Led christmas lights are a good idea..We only lost power for two hours so our oil lamps did pretty good. It showed us we needed extra batteries and such other things. We had plenty of water though around 400 gallons spred thoughout the house. We need to help her parents out some though. His oxygen concentrator was useless. We put him on tanks, but of course the regulator broke. We did have a spare so we avoided that problem. I was planning on rotating my generator between our 4 fridges and freezers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
WVprepper... wouldn't the generator support the O2 concentrator? Here's one I'm not positive on. How long can a freezer or fridge maintain a safe temperature (unopened) before you need to run it on a generator? And... how long do you need to run it to make it could enough so the pattern remains consistent. I've always believed 4 hours a day was sufficient. My assumption is that you open it once a day, grab what you need, then immediately close it and run the gennie for 4 hours. Then repeat the next day. Anyone have an experience with this? Just trying to figure out how to manage my fuel consumption.
 

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thats a good question. stealth these days is always a good idea. silent generators i think would be a very good investment. i know my friend has tinted his windows where they can see out, but you cant see in lights on or not as not to elude there is power there. hes all about concealment. he just built his home. so he got in on all the goodies and the spray on insulation. i wonder why he didnt go solar for power . makes me wonder about solar if there isnt sun for a while? hmmmmmnnnnn
 

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Oh, I did not realize that at the time. The first thing they did was get the tanks out. Of course we could use it for the concentrator, and then the freezers. The tanks could be used in between time. I would think running the freezers once a day for 4 hours would be sufficiant to keep things. I did however turn all the temps down to get them colder before the power went out..
 

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Generator.... Silent???? I definitely need to upgrade. Mine is about 15 years old and literally screams at the neighbors "Here I am... Here I am.... roar roar... Here I am!!!"

I'll bet his newer generator is also more fuel efficient.

But the question is: What size generator is the most logical for a household? In another thread... I'm trying to figure out how to hook a generator to a house vs. running it stand alone. And... that may determine the size.

And... should I have a smaller one in a vehicle or trailer BOB?
Woad Warrior, the size of gennie you need to run your entire house depends mostly on what you will be runnng. If you want to run your 220 range, your going to be out of luck unless you get up into the really large ones , about 15k and if you can "do" with just the refer and a few lights etc, then one of the 2k inverter / generators like honda or yamaha will be perfect. They are really quiet, thrifty and very dependable. Pure sine wave power also.
 

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WVprepper... wouldn't the generator support the O2 concentrator? Here's one I'm not positive on. How long can a freezer or fridge maintain a safe temperature (unopened) before you need to run it on a generator? And... how long do you need to run it to make it could enough so the pattern remains consistent. I've always believed 4 hours a day was sufficient. My assumption is that you open it once a day, grab what you need, then immediately close it and run the gennie for 4 hours. Then repeat the next day. Anyone have an experience with this? Just trying to figure out how to manage my fuel consumption.
Since I live totally off the grid on solar and wind, I feel I can answer this for you. We have our refer and freezer on timers. They go off about 5 pm and on again about 6 am. My chest freezer , everything stays frozen, my refer, everything stays relitively cold, as long as we don't open and close a lot. You can also suplement the refer by freezing 1 gal water jugs during the day in putting them in the top of the refer at night. Cold goes down,. Does that help ?
 

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Organism Terrestrial plant Gas Soil Carmine
Woad Warrior. Now, as for hooking up your gennie to your house. IF you connect it to your house due to a power outage and the power comes back on while your running your gennie, you will most likely back feed your current into the lines. NOT Good. Not only could you kill someone down the line while they are working, but can also create a big toaster , your house. That picture is real by the way. Something to give a lot of thought to. You can run an extension cord to the appliance you wish, but the only other way to connect to whole house is with a transfer switch. It also must be approved and inspected before installing and use. Take no chances, or should I say, can I have your food as you won't be needing it any longer ?
 

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great write up!
stored gasoline needs stabilizer.
Thank you for posting this! So many people think gas has an indefinite shelf life. That's not true. It will last you about 3 months without stabilizer.

This is why post-Apocalyptic shows drive me crazy. You see people siphoning gas a year after the event. In reality, that gas would be fairly useless.
 

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i learned this the hard way with my sport bikes and dirt bikes when it was off season or after a surgery.
i had to keep getting my damn carbs cleaned. and the fuel systems redone times that times 8 and two cars and thats quite a bill! i also had a problem with my z4 as it sat for about 6 months and no broblems with my trail blazer sitting for so long.
 

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Woad Warrior. Now, as for hooking up your gennie to your house. IF you connect it to your house due to a power outage and the power comes back on while your running your gennie, you will most likely back feed your current into the lines. NOT Good. Not only could you kill someone down the line while they are working, but can also create a big toaster , your house. ?
We have our gennie hard wired to our panel; however, my husband is a licensed electrician and has been for a very long time. He has all the testing equipment and checks it regularly, especially during outages (He is also trained in doing photovoltaic work in case anyone is curious).

It is true that your line could potentially feed back down the line and kill someone; however, only if your main breaker is still in the on position or your main breaker has somehow failed. I guess it could backfeed out to the pole if someone has a second electrical panel hooked up in their house and they failed to shut off the main breaker on both panels.

If your main breaker is in good working order and placed in the OFF position, then nothing coming through your lines will feed back into the pole. It's always a good idea to have a electrical multimeter on hand to make sure there's no electricity leaching out past the main breaker. I definitely wouldn't recommend the average Joe just going in and doing it (especially if you're someone who might be forgetful about SHUTTING OFF THE MAIN BREAKER).

There are also those who backfeed using their dryer outlet. Not something I would recommend or do myself, but it has been done. I posted a youtube video of a guy doing it over in the Hurricane Sandy thread.

Electricity is something that fascinates me, but it's also something that freaks me out because of how dangerous it is. Always air on the side of caution if you don't know what you're doing.
 
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