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Preparedness/Survival Skills/BOBs/Kits/Gear If it will help keep you going when TSHTF, talk about it here.

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  #1  
Old 06-26-2015, 01:09 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Default Grid Down Exercise

The solar storm yesterday was downgraded from a G3 to a G1. Grid down worries relaxed.
At 2:20 AM the Farmerette poked me awake - the power was off. When we got up at 5:30 it was still off. It was crisis time.
The automatic coffee pot was not working and our stove top percolators are down at the Tick Farm. It was raining - had been all night - and the basement sump pump was not pumping the water out of the new under-the-house indoor swimming pool.
At 6 we started checking with the neighbors to see if anyone had an idea of what the problem was and if they had heard how long it would be out. The answers we got were not good - our little town was dark, and the big city up the road was without power as well.
The power came back on at 6:42. We are still not quite sure what the problem was with the regional power outage, but there were reports of numerous lines down from trees falling on them.

We reviewed our planned response for a grid down scenario, natural or manmade, and came up with a couple oversights in our plan. There will be a new coffee pot in the cabinet this afternoon, and the battery backup (with solar charger) backup sump pump will be installed shortly.
You can also expect a shortage of canning jars, lids and rings locally. There are 3 freezers that need to be emptied, preferably at our leisure, not in one big gulp.

Have you looked at your planned reaction for a medium to long term power out event? Got everything ready and in place? We don't...

The TickFarmer
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:01 PM
CountryMom22 Female CountryMom22 is offline
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We don't have everything in place but Super Storm Sandy gave us a good wake up call. We were without power for 10 days. Kids were out of school for 2 weeks. We already had a wood stove, so I cooked on that. Knowing that the storm was coming I kind of cheated and did a lot of baking and took a lot of items out of the freezer and put them in a cooler before it hit.

My husband thought I was being paranoid. Not anymore. He was very thankful for my closet full of candles, matches, flashlights and batteries. For the pantry full of canned food and the manual can opener that I kept when he told me to throw it away. He was also very grateful that I had filled up all the vehicles and any empty gas cans, so we could keep the generator going. We only ran it 4 hours a day total to recharge the freezers and let everyone take a quick shower...but it made a huge difference in our comfort levels. I also had the foresight to fill the propane bottles for the grill so we could cook outside as well.

I want to get some rechargeable solar lamps to add to my cache. I also kept an old push button phone that we used after the storm when our cell phones died we were able to unplug the cordless phone and use the old one, so our cells were recharged and used only when we left the house so we could stay in touch. We always have bottled water and extra animal feed on hand, so we were ok there, even if we couldn't have used the generator, at least for a couple of days.

I'm sure there are a lot of other things that we need to do, but I was pretty pleased with the way we made it through. Of course, if the power was out longer we might have had more problems.

My husband doesn't think I'm paranoid anymore!
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:21 PM
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rubyyarn Female rubyyarn is offline
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"Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear..."

Power outs are not fun, especially if they don't happen often. Our power goes out for several hours at least twice a year and we always just put up with it. We invested in an Alladin lamp when we first moved to Virginia and seldom needed to use it. We lost stuff in the freezers one winter when the power was off for a couple of days and still didn't think much about it.

Then a thing called a derecho came through a few years ago and knocked power out for 6 days. In July. Fortunately a lot of the stores still had power so we were able to get ice and water. We already had a humungous cooler that we take to the races so we were able to keep milk, butter and all that.

Flushing was an issue so we got water from a local stream for that purpose. There is also a spring on the edge of town where we could get water for boiling noodles or veggies, and for bathing.

After the first day we got used to the heat. We also started talking about rain barrels and learning to can meat (we lost everything in the freezers). Come to think of it, that was about the time I started subscribing to Backwoods Home...

Don't know if we are fully prepared, but we know more than we did before.
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:27 PM
Nickathome Nickathome is offline
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We have a good deal of gear to get us through several days if a storm etc knocked out power. We always have plenty of batteries on hand and keep several lighting sources at the ready such as oil lamps solar powered lanterns candles etc. I always have several gallons of gas on hand for use in the tractor or for emergencies . The only thing I wish I could do is convince the wife to buy more nonperishable foods like dried rice corn meal flour etc. We have enough food on hand at any given time to last maybe a week if we stretched it. I'd like to have at least a months worth.
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Old 06-26-2015, 04:48 PM
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rubyyarn Female rubyyarn is offline
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Nick, do you folks enjoy eating rice and things made from corn flour? It's real hard to eat things you don't like. But if you do like these things, you can save a good bit of money by buying in bulk. We have rice, pinto beans, noodles, macaroni...not enough to last to the end of the world, but enough that we don't have to buy these things for several months.

Maybe the idea of fewer trips to the store would appeal to your wife?
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Old 06-26-2015, 07:51 PM
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Having spent many years in "Hurricane Ground Zero", I've had many shakedowns that lasted at least a week. Usually we were well prepared and, although inconvenienced, did not suffer. I do think, however, that you can always learn, and refine your plan. I remember one of my best purchases - although not an essential - a battery powered fan. When it is 90+ degrees with high humidity, that fan can make the difference between no sleep, or a relatively pleasant night.
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Old 06-26-2015, 11:45 PM
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Storm blew in tonight and the power went out with no warning. Usually we get a flash of the lights and if it happens three times we know its going to go out for good. When it went out there was no lighting at all. But when they got around about an hour or so later to our house they found the lighting arrestors on the transformer had blown. The Neighbors had as well. They said quite a few had blown. We got power after a couple hours except for my neighbor he was the last on this circuit and they had ran out of arrestors so his was out about three hours. For short term outages I have one of these but really would not want to use it as a permanent solution as it burns a gallon an hour of diesel. Did not bother to fire it up tonight I would wait until about 8 hours before I would need to in the summer. Winter time maybe 4-6 hours depending on the weather and if the fireplace was keeping the house warm enough.

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Old 06-27-2015, 01:38 AM
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How big is that thing Bones? Looks about like a 40-45Kw unit. Am I close?
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Old 06-27-2015, 01:38 AM
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We cook with propane and have a generator
We went 4.5 days with no power from Hurricane Irene.

It was mostly a big inconvenience instead of a real "emergency".

We ate well and could heat water on the stove to bathe, and all the freezers and refrigerator ran enough that we lost no food
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Old 06-27-2015, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmaidnc View Post
one of my best purchases - although not an essential - a battery powered fan. When it is 90+ degrees with high humidity, that fan can make the difference between no sleep, or a relatively pleasant night.
Plus one on the fan. I have some that fold up fairly compactly and use D cell batteries. I tested and found that the fan can run for more than 24 hours straight on one set of decent brand batteries. That translates to a few nights sleep.

Re: Generator power -- We don't rely too heavily on a freezer and other than A/C and battery charging I hesitate to crank one up (we have two) because they make so much noise.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:05 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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My project this summer is to go under my house to run some wiring. Fortunately my crawl space is 5' high so it's not too bad working down there. I plan to go through the floor and put a set of plugins by the fridge, freezer, and a couple other spots around the house. I will tie them into a plug outside the house on my covered deck. Now I can set a generator on the covered deck, plug in, and have power where I need it.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:06 AM
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We don't have a plan to review as we live through many power outages every year. The power has gone out on a perfectly still sunny summer day for no reason - and will likely go out with just about any variety of thunderstorm or winter storm. And there is no way to tell how long it will be out - 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks? The very minimum of an outage for us is 3 hours since first it has to be reported somehow - we have no way to report it since without power our phone doesn't work. Then the nearest line crew for our area is ~30 miles away and are probably already busy at other places.

We have the wood stove for heat and a spring 20' from the front porch for water. Always have plenty of food stores. We have a couple Aladdin lamps plus an Amish high pressure gas lamp for light. And of course I have to have coffee - have a peculator that I heat on a propane cook stove.

So there really is no "plan" when the power goes out - most our regular activities just carry on the same with the exception of wasting time on the internet.....

Just always make sure I have a gallon or so of kerosene and Napth gas on hand.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:31 AM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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not part of the grid, the only things i have that run on electric are some lights, the tv (antenna based), this old laptop, and a track phone. i use solar pannels to charge some 12v batteries to run things off the inverter, but 95% of the time the inverter is disconnected and nothing has power to it. there is some dc lights, but i have plenty of oil lamps and candles that i used as my staple before i had enough solar to use reliably. so i would just be going back to that stuff. all my electric is a luxury, i would be bummed out if i lost it but its not going to bug me too much
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:59 AM
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Since 1989...
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Old 06-27-2015, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jjr View Post
How big is that thing Bones? Looks about like a 40-45Kw unit. Am I close?
Nowhere near that big. Military has it rated at 10KW Civilian model rates at about 15kw they say but others have said they have loaded it up to 20KW and were only close to the 75% rated load on the meter that comes with the unit. I like that it has a handy gauge to tell you what kind of load you are putting on it.

And I love how 12V man continues to rub it in. Yes I am jealous, got a spoiled wife I love a bunch who loves her creature comforts. She does not stop me from playing with solar and enjoys the fans from 12volts in our out building she is not ready to go all the way.
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Old 06-27-2015, 03:35 PM
CountryMom22 Female CountryMom22 is offline
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I gotta get me some of those battery powered fans. Not only would we be more comfortable sleeping, but I would be more comfortable not having to listen to the kids complaining!
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:53 PM
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So true - it is too quiet when you have no electricity. The fan helps!
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
Nowhere near that big. Military has it rated at 10KW Civilian model rates at about 15kw they say but others have said they have loaded it up to 20KW and were only close to the 75% rated load on the meter that comes with the unit. I like that it has a handy gauge to tell you what kind of load you are putting on it.
Being on the trailer may make it appear larger, but it dwarfs my BIL's 25Kw whole house generator. I have a 8800 Watt (8.8 Kw) or roughly a third of the BIL's 25 Kw but it is nearly as large as the 25 Kw so size may not always be indicative of power with a generator.

Your generator appears to be about half the size of the 85 Kw John Deere generator the local blood bank has for back-up power, which is why I estimated the 40-45 Kw size.
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:00 PM
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We have a 7.56 Kw grid tied set of solar cells. We hope to add battery storage to the solar panels when the batteries are just a little more efficient.

In addition to the 8.8 Kw generator mentioned above some friend who moved to Oregon recently sold me a number of things including a 1.2 Kw generator.

It was small, but for $50, the offer was to lucrative to refuse. It is fairly quite as generators go, and it powers lights and small fans quite nicely. When I purchased it, I really did not expect to use it much, but it really shines in allowing the use of electrical power tools great distances from the house without having to have miles of extension cords.

We also have a fireplace, wood stove, gas & propane Coleman camp stoves, two kerosene heaters and recently purchased a twin burner high out put propane/natural gas (depending on jet in use) cooker. We have both Coleman lanterns & oil lamps, stock candles and the other normal things for just-in-case of power outages. In addition to the five pound propane cylinders for the bar-b-que grill/smoker we have a 100 pound propane bottle for the recently acquired cooker. And we have natural gas service, which has never previously been interrupted like the electrical service has been over the years.

Winters are not that severe here, but we have a number of 5# wool blankets, down blankets & comforters both.

We make every effort to keep extra canned, packages and dry products on hand for those unexpected emergencies and try and stay home during any ices storms since no one knows how to drive on ice & snow here.

We normally do well during emergencies and power outages, but those times still produce some moments of trepidation when these events occur.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:04 PM
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The military 5kw are about the same size. These are diesel engines so they are bigger than a gasoline one. The 5kw the engine weight 490lbs and the 10kw the engine weights 690 lbs. I traded a 5kw engine a little cash for the whole generator and I have a spare engine for the that I got years ago. New Old stock still in the box from the military. The big control box helps in the looks big dept. These are 3 phase or single phase generators. They make them pretty soldier proof and should give me years of no problems. I have to build a load bank out of a couple water heaters as these units need to be loaded when you fire it once a month for testing.

We also have smaller gasoline generators, kerosene heaters and lanterns, propane tanks 20lbs and the 100lbs as well. Candles, flashlights, Plenty of water, MRE's canned food etc.

I did not go with a natural gas powered generator as we are on a earthquake fault and pretty sure if we get a earthquake the NG lines will be shut off or broken.
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