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Emergency Preparedness: What are you doing for the next one?


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#1 Eddie Z

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:49 PM

Oct 2011, without power for 5 days. Oct 2012, without power for 7 days. I've accepted the notion that epic weather events (and possibly manmade events) are bound to happen from time to time, bringing with it widespread extended power outages, gas lines, and food shortages.

Fortunately for Sandy I didn't experience any damage, and I was relatively prepared for it. I skated by nicely with the equipment onhand, and life has more or less returned to normal. But while the lessons learned are still fresh in my mind, I want to lean forward and prepare for the next one. I encourage you to do the same.

What have you done so far? What will you do differently? Here's what I'm doing....

-Today I bought a Honda E2000i Companion Generator. When linked to my existing Honda EU2000i generator, it can generate 30amps.

-I bought 5 Five gallon gas cans...4 red, and one yellow (for my diesel trucks). I want these cans on the ready so I can be well poised for a 6 day hunkering down without the need to resupply.

-I have arranged with my electrician to install a transfer switch system, which will allow me to power selective circuits with the generator. Will include an exterior outlet for the generator plug in. Will eliminate random extension cords in the house, and heat loss thru doors left open due to extension cords. To be done in a few months.

-Chainsaw Upgrade. Not fucking around anymore. going with the Stihl Farm Boss MS 290.

-I'm going to keep investigating alternative non-petroleum based systems. I don't want to be so dependant on fuel. I'd LOVE to have a wood burning stove installed, but I simply don't know where it would go in this cramped house.

-WIll call the tree company in in the spring for a general cleanup...cut trees back away from the house.

#2 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:56 PM

IS the ATS you're looking at designed to start the generators you purchased?

#3 Eddie Z

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:06 PM

IS the ATS you're looking at designed to start the generators you purchased?


No. My transfer switch is not intended to be automated. This is basically a big manual switch that isolates the entire panel from the street service, and re-routes it's power source to an exterior mounted outlet. I would manually plug in a generator to that outlet. Before startup, I would still have to manually go thru my electric panel and kill everything that's unecessary, and unplug a bunch of stuff indoors. This would allow future generator upgrades if I feel that my pair of smallish Honda's aren't cutting it. (But they will...as long as I'm not a power hog during the event).

There's a few approaches to transfer switches. One way is to run a few select circuits to the switch. (ex. Fridge, heating system). My approach wires the entire panel to it. The advantage is that I have max control over what I want to run. If I just wire some select circuits to the switch, then I might regret at a later date the things I forgot to include....

I've decided not to go with a whole house generator. This would be a permanently mounted natural gas powered beast that would allow life to continue as if nothing ever happened. I assume that's linked up to an automated transfer Switch. That's a $10K investment. Not gonna happen.

#4 sarah b.

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:51 PM

We now own a generator. I've been trying to convince the homeowner to put the heater, boiler and future new washer and dryer on the ground floor, rather than in the basement, so it doesn't get flooded next time this happens, but why listen to me? I'm only being logical. :lol:

Living on an island is concerning for a number of reasons. I love people here. If I didn't, I'd be back in Jersey, or elsewhere in NY.

#5 Chip

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 12:20 AM

I rent in Boston, but have a family home in the the NH mountains as my fall back for any weirdness be it natural or man made or combination of both that could happen.

I keep my truck fully gassed always, I have in my truck emergency food/water rations for 6 days without any effort. I keep stored in it always my primary camping and skiing gear, I have backpacker stove, water purification, fire starting and suppression, first aid, car repair, tree and large object removal, solar battery charging, at two day supply of firewood, etc. you get the picture.

I also know how to drive to the NH house from Boston on mostly back roads, and in NH I am pretty familiar with ski mobile trails and railroads, which my 4x4 truck does pretty well on.

This is nothing I just started recently though.

#6 Java Time

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 12:33 AM

buying a gennie...love my bro but long periods at that house can be taxing.

extra gas cans and a coupla Coleman camp heaters and I'll be set.

#7 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:09 AM

C'mon, Java. ou need to install a full blown submarine under the house. And have a few genny Lights in the fridge.

#8 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:10 AM

No. My transfer switch is not intended to be automated. This is basically a big manual switch that isolates the entire panel from the street service, and re-routes it's power source to an exterior mounted outlet. I would manually plug in a generator to that outlet. Before startup, I would still have to manually go thru my electric panel and kill everything that's unecessary, and unplug a bunch of stuff indoors. This would allow future generator upgrades if I feel that my pair of smallish Honda's aren't cutting it. (But they will...as long as I'm not a power hog during the event).

There's a few approaches to transfer switches. One way is to run a few select circuits to the switch. (ex. Fridge, heating system). My approach wires the entire panel to it. The advantage is that I have max control over what I want to run. If I just wire some select circuits to the switch, then I might regret at a later date the things I forgot to include....

I've decided not to go with a whole house generator. This would be a permanently mounted natural gas powered beast that would allow life to continue as if nothing ever happened. I assume that's linked up to an automated transfer Switch. That's a $10K investment. Not gonna happen.


Thanks so much. I was curious if the generators were Nat gas and perm fixtures. That is now the huge pull in LI from the well to do folks.

#9 Eddie Z

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:12 AM

I rent in Boston, but have a family home in the the NH mountains as my fall back for any weirdness be it natural or man made or combination of both that could happen.

I keep my truck fully gassed always, I have in my truck emergency food/water rations for 6 days without any effort. I keep stored in it always my primary camping and skiing gear, I have backpacker stove, water purification, fire starting and suppression, first aid, car repair, tree and large object removal, solar battery charging, at two day supply of firewood, etc. you get the picture.

I also know how to drive to the NH house from Boston on mostly back roads, and in NH I am pretty familiar with ski mobile trails and railroads, which my 4x4 truck does pretty well on.

This is nothing I just started recently though.


Man, it's interesting that your emergency preparedness is more "get out of town in a hurry" rather than "Hunker down at home for a while". It's not wrong, but it's a whole different mindset. I have all of that stuff, but just not prepositioned in my truck. My assumption is that if I had to abandon ship in a hurry, I'd have the time to pick and choose what i thought i needed. However, much of my stuff is so modularly packed that the packout would be fairly quick.

#10 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:14 AM

^ This. I'm stationary and informed enough to know when to pack and head out. The first thought is stay put in medium disasters.

#11 Eddie Z

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:19 AM

Thanks so much. I was curious if the generators were Nat gas and perm fixtures. That is now the huge pull in LI from the well to do folks.


The perm fixtures can also be diesel, but then you need a 275 gallon oil tank to support... But yeah, a natural gas whole house generator is certainly a nice way to go. Very quiet too. But I heard that it can be surporisingly expensive to operate. Somebody suggested that a $700 natural gas bill for a week of normal household operations is on the order of what you can expect. (Not sure if this is true or not...I've heard lots of half assed information this week!).

#12 Java Time

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:28 AM

C'mon, Java. ou need to install a full blown submarine under the house. And have a few genny Lights in the fridge.


:funny1:

sub is on back order @ amazon.com....Noooo no genny in the fridge...perhaps warm storage for when the Schlitz Schmidt's and millwaukees best run out!

#13 Eddie Z

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:30 AM

I keep thinking the ultimate preparedness would be to get the hell out of my crammed little town and my tiny little house and find a small farmable plot of land somewhere. I love my electronic goodies like everyone else, but I'm not fond of being reliant on anybody for anything. All the commercial energy sources (Electricty/natural Gas/fossil Fuels) is dependant on society being up and running. But when society breaks down, all those conveniences evaporate quickly, and all the lambs out there are fucked. I'd rather have some Old School backup systems in place, like wood burning stoves, and windmills, and (although not old school) solar power.. I'd rather have some livestock around.. Etc. Kind of a rapid ability to live off the grid if I had to. But not necessarily shunning technology to accomplish the mission either.

#14 nancykind

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:33 AM

I keep thinking the ultimate preparedness would be to get the hell out of my crammed little town and my tiny little house and find a small farmable plot of land somewhere. I love my electronic goodies like everyone else, but I'm not fond of being reliant on anybody for anything. All the commercial energy sources (Electricty/natural Gas/fossil Fuels) is dependant on society being up and running. But when society breaks down, all those conveniences evaporate quickly, and all the lambs out there are fucked. I'd rather have some Old School backup systems in place, like wood burning stoves, and windmills, and solar power.. I'd rather have some livestock around.. Etc.


signed

#15 Julius

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:36 AM

I just keep track of where Chip's truck is so if anything ever happened, I'd wait by it for him to arrive.

#16 Chip

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:59 AM

Good luck JCS

I have ridden out a few big Boston Hurricanes and Snow Storms here, but if the City shut down for an extended time I would head North, If I get stuck here, I just use the stuff in the truck. But when it comes down to it staying in Boston with weeks of no power I'm going North. If this were my own property it would be a little different, but not much.

The NH property is acres of woodland on a hill with a lot of potable water, North of a Mountain range which could potentially block whatever is coming from the south. Not to mention my hick brother was a SEAL if things got weird up there.

#17 nikkiblue

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:17 AM

This is our list so far....We started it last night... Suggestions are welcome...

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#18 Chip

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:33 AM

Rain Barrels and store the twinkies in the tank to save on space and they will be there when you really need them.

#19 nikkiblue

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:38 AM

Hmmm. rain barrels... Didn't think of that one!

Sunshower reminded me that duct tape was missing... I added it.

#20 SunshineDrummer

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:48 AM

We're going to start looking at generators. We figure there should be one in our family so it can go to whoever loses power or if we all do, everyone goes to whatever house its at.

Gas cans. As soon as they're widely available again, we're getting some.

Make sure the cars are gassed up. I was lucky this time...I had filled up a few days before the storm but I've been known to let it run close to E.

Having our camping gear is a godsend. Lots of stuff in there that can come in handy during a power outage. Didn't realize its true value until I took stock & realized we've got battery-powered everything, 2 stoves, lanterns, sleeping bags, etc. I can cook a hot meal, we can have some decent light, stay warm. It'll still suck, but something as simple as being able to warm up soup or boil water for coffee could make it suck just a little bit less.

Better communication plan with my family. My sister and I were flipping out during the storm because we couldn't get in touch with my parents. We were ready to head out into the storm to check on them when my mom called. Turns out they were fine, the phone had gone out, they hadn't realized it, and mom had her cellphone turned off. She turned it on and was greeted with about a dozen frantic voicemails from us.

#21 nikkiblue

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:52 AM

Allright, Julius influenced this bad boy... I just have to check with the Capt. before I make such a big purchase...

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#22 nikkiblue

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:54 AM

We're going to start looking at generators. We figure there should be one in our family so it can go to whoever loses power or if we all do, everyone goes to whatever house its at.

Gas cans. As soon as they're widely available again, we're getting some.

Make sure the cars are gassed up. I was lucky this time...I had filled up a few days before the storm but I've been known to let it run close to E.

Having our camping gear is a godsend. Lots of stuff in there that can come in handy during a power outage. Didn't realize its true value until I took stock & realized we've got battery-powered everything, 2 stoves, lanterns, sleeping bags, etc. I can cook a hot meal, we can have some decent light, stay warm. It'll still suck, but something as simple as being able to warm up soup or boil water for coffee could make it suck just a little bit less.

Better communication plan with my family. My sister and I were flipping out during the storm because we couldn't get in touch with my parents. We were ready to head out into the storm to check on them when my mom called. Turns out they were fine, the phone had gone out, they hadn't realized it, and mom had her cellphone turned off. She turned it on and was greeted with about a dozen frantic voicemails from us.


I hear ya!!! our camping equipt was a Godsend... and we only have a 2 gallon gas can... We need a few more of those. I'm also lucky b/c I had 3/4 f a tank of gas, and I also usually let it run to E...

#23 KittyRocks

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:24 AM

im stocking up on canned brains for the zombie apocalypse.

#24 Depends

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:54 AM

Things I want to do:
Buy 2nd generator. The one I have can run fridge, and a couple of lights, along with hot water heater.
Xfer switch. Same idea as Eddie Z
Another 5 gal gas can or two. I have 1 5 gal, and 1 3 gal now...
I have a gas fireplace. It works when lights go out, and keeps the place at 75. No upgrade needed.
I have a 70 foot spruce tree in my backyard. Fucker would split my house in two if it fell. Maybe trim some branches, so it doesnt catch as much wind.
Have cash on hand

#25 rock n roll goddess

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:23 PM

Great, and VERY important topic folks....

We are getting ready to purchase a house, and first thing we are installing is a decent generator system


when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro ....

#26 Chip

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:49 PM

I have been getting $30 non GMO seed vaults(basically just a tin can with eletric tape sealing), I store one in the refrigerator and I buried a few around the property in NH. The seeds are a good variety could use some more protein, so I got rabbit snares too. I figure if it goes really bad having some of those seed vaults could be a good barter item, maybe pick up a cow or sheep with one if it came down to it. The seeds should be fine for decades if kept dry and cool, and they will go to seed to be sustainable, a lot US store bought won't.

#27 insolent cur

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:50 PM

my folks (77 and days from 80) have a propane fueled large generator set to start 10 seconds after power is lost. it's been installed professionally and is wired to power their basic needs: the furnace; the fridge, and basic electricity for the family room, their bedroom and the kitchen (the stove is also propane fueled).

while i don't have a generator (it's on the acquisition list), i can't tell you how reassuring it is knowing that they have that set-up. while it's not cheap, as has been noted earlier, having something is better than having nothing. you can bet i'll be looking for a used, small, quiet genny before winter sets in for a spell.

as far as preparation, it's the only thing lacking...assuming i can stay here during whatever is causing infrastructure failure.

#28 foo

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:03 PM

Since I am in Florida I do own a generator, it's in the box in the garage. We don't have snow days on the school calendar we have hurricane days! All we hear on the news before hurricane season starts is how important it is to have a hurricane "kit" Cash is the one thing i need to add to it but never do! :lmoa: They recommend you use the canned goods and water after Oct 1st and redo it the next spring!

#29 Eddie Z

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:16 PM

I always believed that being a Deadhead is already excellent preparation for such events. OK, maybe these days "Deadhead" = "Festivalhead". But anyway, just having the infrastructure you need to go to a 3 day music festival is a real good start on your emergency preparedness. And to some extent, we also have more of an adventurous spirit that really helps to cope with the unexpected..

#30 Eddie Z

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:27 PM

Oh, another step that I think is important is to be able to know how to winterize your house. If it's below freezing, and you somehow can't keep the house warm enough to protect the pipes, then it's not so much about survival as it is about damage control. It would suck to come back to a house that has numerous frozen pipes and cracked fixutres.

I know how to drain the plumbing system easily enough, but I need to figure out how to drain all of the hot water baseboards. And learn a little bit more on putting antifreeze in the toilets so they don't crack. Perhaps a jug or two of antifreeze may be on order?

#31 insolent cur

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:35 PM

I always believed that being a Deadhead is already excellent preparation for such events. OK, maybe these days "Deadhead" = "Festivalhead". But anyway, just having the infrastructure you need to go to a 3 day music festival is a real good start on your emergency preparedness. And to some extent, we also have more of an adventurous spirit that really helps to cope with the unexpected..


in situation like this, a veteran festival attendee will fare better than a civilian. they've already spent 3-5 days without power; often have sufficient camping equipment; and know how to deal with food and staying warm.

#32 Gypsy Bob

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:48 PM

So far we have 12 cords of split, seasoned firewood, a full 125 gallon tank of propane that we cook with, 15 3 gallon jugs of water used to flush the toilet and we always keep 15 gallons of spring fed well water for consumption. Also 2 5 gallon gas cans for the car, snow blower and log splitter.

A generator is next on the agenda.

#33 KrisNYG

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

Looking into plywood for the big (16') window. Where the hell I'd store it is another matter. :lol: I have a friend just north of here that is completely off the grid, doesn't even have a street address for the property. Cabin run with Army batteries, wood stoves, spring fed water, etc.. I'd pack up a bunch of gas cans, the pups, food, a shit-ton of wine and head there. :thup:

#34 KittyRocks

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 07:02 PM

Oh, another step that I think is important is to be able to know how to winterize your house. If it's below freezing, and you somehow can't keep the house warm enough to protect the pipes, then it's not so much about survival as it is about damage control. It would suck to come back to a house that has numerous frozen pipes and cracked fixutres.

I know how to drain the plumbing system easily enough, but I need to figure out how to drain all of the hot water baseboards. And learn a little bit more on putting antifreeze in the toilets so they don't crack. Perhaps a jug or two of antifreeze may be on order?


i know painfully little about this stuff.

#35 gregoir

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 07:30 PM

Not really worried about it. If the shit ever really does down I don't want to hang around for it. I've seen Mad Max. no thanks.

#36 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:06 PM

I've given this a lot of thought since getting married in 2009 and buying a house in late 2010. We're by no means set, but I am confident that my family and I will be able to get through just about any big catastrophe. Like Eddie said, I'm not fond of having to rely on anyone for much. It's not an isolationist approach as much as it is being able to take care of my family.

We're on 3 acres in the country. We have a pond and about 1.5 acres of woods that can be cut and burned if needed beyond the supply we already have cut and split for the woodstove. We're on a well, so no dependence on public water and the pond is a nice backup. Propane tanks power our cooking stove and a gas fireplace along with the water heater. Should the power fail, we can get by on candles and kerosene lanterns. And like a lot of you here, we have plenty of camping equipment and know-how.

I took up hunting (deer, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, turkey) to provide meat and we've been preserving quite a bit of the vegetables we've been gardening. We've got a good stock of food on our shelves and can provide for ourselves longterm if need be. We have a root cellar that I still need to learn to utilize so once I do that, we'll be on a better path.

We've learned lots and have lots yet to learn. But I like our chances should we ever have to kick into survival mode.

#37 KittyRocks

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

Not really worried about it. If the shit ever really does down I don't want to hang around for it. I've seen Mad Max. no thanks.


you heard it guys.... if we have to eat someone, gregoir volunteers to go first.

#38 hoagie

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

you heard it guys.... if we have to eat someone, gregoir volunteers to go first.


He isn't fit for human consumption. To many chemicals...

#39 williscat2000

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

Last year after Irene we installed a generac 7k watt standby generator (runs on natural gas), a transfer switch and hooked up the essentials. It ran for 9 days until electricity was restored. We were able to host many friends and family and provided warm showers and food. Highly recommended for the next storm likd this. In the event of the apocalypse, we'll have no natural gas, but shy of total societal breakdown, the standby generator should do us good for a while. In that case I will simply become a zombie and canibalize my neighborhood.

#40 beerzrkr

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 06:26 PM

I make sure I have at least 1 full primary going at all times. Don't want to run out of booze.

#41 PieDoh

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:23 PM

the hot water baseboard heaters "should" be drainable from one low point ?basement? ..

I have some camping equipment.

and the work vehicle, which I rough it in. I could always surrender to general monroe...

#42 Luvsdaizies

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 05:09 PM

Im buying a camp stove we have a charcoal grill which is perfect for most uses but - 45 minutes for coffee in the morning is too much work and time! and also a waste of charcoal.

I packed my freezer with ziplock bags of water and it worked like a charm - next time i will remember that the least perishable things should be on the door or in the front - AND - leave room for things that are in the fridge that you may want to save.

We didnt pack a bag for anyone but the dog and when we almost had to evac in the middle of the night, it was quite stressful. Next time, I will just pack an over night bag and not have to think about it.

Also waited too long to get gas cause I didnt want the BF to think i was a paranoid freak. Made finding gas on the day before the storm a challenge and it took longer than it should have.

#43 MeOmYo

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 05:45 PM

I have enough wire for 70 amps run out to the woodshed that I backfeed the house through. I just wire the generator to a breaker in a subpanel in the woodshed and turn the main off in the house and whatever circuits I do not need. I have enough to run the fridge, freezer, lights and the well pump. If I want hot water, I need to turn off the well pump, heat the water tank (80 gallons) and it will stay hot for a couple days so I turn it off and the well back on once hot. Wood stove (which is primary heat) keeps the house warm. only problem with this setup is I cannot see another house from mine so every once in a while I need to take a ride around to see if the power has come back on or turn generator breaker off and main breaker on. I can use the stove as long as the well pump or hot water heater don't kick on but usually just cook on woodstove if it's in winter. I think I have a 5500W generator.

Only thing I would like to do is put a permanent plug in the woodshed that I can just plug the generator into instead of wiring it into the panel. Not a big deal but is easier and cleaner. Pretty sure the way I do it is not per code but codes can kiss my ass. It works fine as long as you know what you're doing.

#44 unbroken_chain

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 05:48 PM

not a damn thing

#45 DF

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:44 PM

will buy Honda E2000i generator, 3 extra 5 gal gas jugs and a few cases D batteries.

#46 crazysage

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:51 PM

we have a generator now, as well as 2 x 5gal gas cans.
Plan on stocking up on a few more things to be more self sufficent.

ultimately when we move out west, and get our next long term place we will make more perm preperations

#47 Eddie Z

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:23 PM

I learned something about solar panels today that was eye opening... You'd think that people who had solar power laughed at the power outage, but it wasn't so. Many solar panels are not equipped with a battery array, the place where juice gets stored. A very expensive addition. So any excess solar power just backfeeds to the street....the energy is sold back to the utility company. (how lineman don't get shocked from solar panels during outages is beyond me?) Apparently Solar power homes were just as dead as everyone else.


In other news, I made an appointment with the wood burning stove experts to see what my options are. That place was a zoo, as you can imagine.