Author Topic: Ice Storm Survivors  (Read 16585 times)

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Ice Storm Survivors
« on: February 03, 2009, 05:04:27 PM »
Would like to hear from you folks that have been affected by the ice storms or know of those who did.  I know that a lot of you may not be online now, but tell us how it all went when you come back online. 

BTW, has anyone heard from KYFarmer?  He was in KY and I understand that they got hammered pretty good. 

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KyFarmer

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 10:16:56 AM »
HOLY CRAP....WHAT A STORM!

I've been through tornadoes in the Southwest, I've been through hurricanes, I've been through blizzards, I've even been in an earthquake - but I've NEVER seen anything like this.  This was worse in my area than most people had predicted of prepared for.

Here's kind of an update of the events and the lessons learned.

Storm came in last Monday night with freezing rain.  The impact and the damage varied greatly if you went 50 miles in any direction.  Where I live was among the second hardest hit areas.  Freezing rain continued into Wednesday morning then the snow started.  By the time all was said and done, I had about 2 to 2.5 inches of ice (I measured) and about 3-4 inches of snow. 

Monday when I got home from work, I cleaned the flue on the woodstove, moved a bunch of seasoned firewood from the barn down to the house, moved the generator down to the house, took the suburban to town and gassed up, and stocked up on perishable provisions (milk, lunch meat, etc).

Our power went down Tuesday morning about 9:00 am.  No flicker, no drama, just dropped off.  That's never a good sign - but we fired up the generator and away we went.  I've a 5500 watt unit hooked up on a whole house relay switch.  It'll run about 10-12 hours on 4 gallons.  It will run everything in my house except the electric furnace (which I don't need because of the woodstove), and the cooktop.  If I shut everything off, I can run the water heater, and then turn it off and everything else back on so my water pump works (house is on a reservoir, I can't get county water where I am)

Temperatures never got above 25 until Saturday when it hit 40.  Sunday it was about 50. The temperatures were a curse, because they caused all the fields and side roads to turn to soup and made it hell for the power guys to get in an work.  They were/are pulling work trucks with dozers across peoples fields.

At one point on Wednesday, there was a 5 county area around where I live with 100% power outage.  The ice took down a trunk line and 10 substations. 

My grandfather lives about 15 miles away, and it was Thursday before I could get to him.  Keep in mind I've got a 3/4 ton suburban that's outfitted as a hunting buggy.  Lifted, re-geared, the whole deal and it still took me that long.  The damage from falling trees was enormous.  The "major" roads were difficult due to trees and lines down, but the secondary roads were impassable.  I drove through fields at some points to get to my grandfather

At one point on Tuesday it sounded like the army was having artillery practice in the woods behind my house.  If you've every heard the top on a huge 100 yo oak hit the ground - it's an awesome sound.

Biggest problem in my area proved to be fuel.  There was ZERO gas, diesel and kerosene in my county and two neighboring counties for most of the week.  If you got lucky and the station had enough power to run the pumps, there was a huge line of people.  I have a tank on the farm so it wasn't a big deal to me - but it was a major problem.  Tankers couldn't run until late Thursday or Friday and shortages were still felt as late as Monday.  You could drive 50 miles and get all the gas you wanted, but people panicked.

Several towns and counties lost water supply because the water substations went down when the power substations went down and the fuel supplies on hand wouldn't run the purification and pumping equipment for a long enough time.  As I said - I have a reservoir, but it's something to think about.

There was/is an entire county that the state has essentially asked people to leave.  It'll be at least the end of February before they get power.  I'm really remote within my county - so I probably won't have power until valentines day.

I had, at one point, 14 people in my house, not counting the people that wandered through to take showers.  It's awesome to see people help each other out!  I had a cousin in Missouri that once he finally got in touch with the family, went to Lowe's and bought 8 generators and drove them all night to get to us on Saturday.  What the family didn't buy, we took to town and sold for cost.

So ...long story and sorry to bore you with the details.

There were a lot of lessons learned.

Lesson 1 - My wife and I learned that we're not nuts for doing this.  We're more convinced than ever that  12 months of lockdown supplies is a necessity. 

Lesson 2- We may have to reevaluate how much we need to accomplish our goals in light of the extended family.  We have to make some hard decisions on who and how much we're willing to help if it gets really bad.  It'll be very easy to be taken advantage of - we've got to put some serious thought into that.  Part of the planning from here is to make some hard decisions on others.  We're going to have a talk with my extended family.  They know what we're doing, and poke a little fun at us - but the tune has changed.  Problem is that the neighbors and friends know what we have stashed.  We're going to have to tell the family what we are and aren't willing to do in another situation like this.  If you have supplies and a plan, and your friends/family do not - it's best to consider that BEFORE there is a crisis.

Lesson 3 - Pack Mentality is DANGEROUS.  A PERSON is smart, but PEOPLE are scared, panicky and not real bright.  The fuel issues in town really drove that home.  There was gas 50 miles away, but we had fights and lines and a shooting over fuel.  In a crisis - if you are going into a situation where crowds are likely, ALWAYS have an exit plan and a weapon.  Probably - you should give serious consideration to whether the trip is a NEED or a want.

Lesson 5 - Protect/Guard your stuff.  People were stealing generators, siphoning gas out of neighbors cars.  Nuts.  Hell I chained my generator to the support beams on my deck and joined the chains with a bolt not a lock so it couldn't be cut easily.  You have to look objectively at what you have - am I a target?  Is the placement of this item, the use of this item, or something I'm doing putting me at undue risk of attention (grey man!)

Lesson 5a - Decide NOW how far you are willing to go to defend your stuff and your home.  After my issues with fuel, my wife and I had a talk about "what if".  She told me that is someone was taking food, firewood, fuel, generator, etc then they were threatening the health and safety of our family and she wouldn't hesitate for a moment to shoot them, and she wouldn't expect me to either.  I was glad to hear her say it out loud.  Decide that up front..don't get into a situation where you have to decide that under stress.

Lesson 6 - Location REALLY matters.  My house is in a REALLY bad location.  I've got to build a cabin and storage off the road.  My house sits right on a paved road.  You have light and smoke when no one else does, and you're gonna have trouble.  I had some trouble with people trying to steal fuel.  I've got to reevaluate where my stuff is.

Lesson 6a - DIVERSIFY!  If you have substantial stores - spread them out in multiple locations.  We're going to spread stuff out among several locations on the farm until we can get an isolated storage location built.

Lesson 7 - STORE FUEL.  If you don't have the capacity of a large tank like I do - have AT LEAST 7 days worth of fuel in cans for your generator.  Get a siphon hose and learn how to use it.  Keep the tanks on your cars FULL, and buy LOCKING gas caps for them.

Lesson 8 - Cell phone's are NOT your friend.  You don't realize how much you depend on them until you don't have them.  We lost cells on Monday and they didn't come back up until the following Sunday.  We've got some 10 mile two-ways ans we're going to distribute them to friends and family as an alternate means of communication.

Lesson 9 - KEEP CASH ON HAND.  When we finally made it into town, there was no power and no phones in the businesses - hence no credit or debit cards.  My wife and I keep cash on hand just for this reason.  We have the advantage of living in a community where everyone knows everyone, so you could in most cases write a check - but in a more heavily populated area - that's probably not the case.

Lesson 10 - Things can get REAL bad REAL fast.  I would say I got a brief glimpse into a total SHTF scenario.  It was short, but it was bad.  No power, no heat, no fuel, dwindling food supplies, people with no preparation - and it can get scary quick.  This was just three or four days, you take these things away for two weeks?  Three Weeks? Longer?.

Lesson 11 - Rural is better (in my opinion) and people are GENERALLY good folks.  There was a group of us that went around on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday on 4wheelers checking on folks.  We had to take chain saws and log chains to clear some stuff - but we did it.  There were groups of people what got together with 4WD's and took the elderly to the shelters.  A contactor in town took three HUGE gene's to several churches to help set up shelters.

I learned some great lessons, and got a great test run.  We're making modifications to the plans based on the lessons.  I hate that it happened, but it was an excellent teaching moment.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 06:21:28 PM by firetoad »

Offline firetoad

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 10:54:44 AM »
Just a downright awesome post KyFarmer!  And no, you were not boring me with the details.  I thought that there wasn't enough details.

Glad to hear that you are OK and seem to have come out the other side that much more knowledgeable and powerful!

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 11:03:30 AM »
KYFarmer, +1 to you as you have earned it!

I posted this on the photo/vid board the night of the storm.  Here is a radar shot of the storm on Tuesday night.  As you can see the storm streached over 2000 miles long, it did modest damage in Texas and as you have read the further north the worse it got.  I have a friend in Indiana who said he just got power back yesterday!

This just goes to show, we preppers ain't crazy!  No matter how the media paints us.


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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 11:37:55 AM »
Just a downright awesome post KyFarmer!  And no, you were not boring me with the details.  I thought that there wasn't enough details.

Glad to hear that you are OK and seem to have come out the other side that much more knowledgeable and powerful!
It was fun!  If there's something you want more detail on - just say so.  I'd love to share as much as you guys want to hear. 

I went back to work today, and it seems like every customer I talk to talk about this.  I've had more of an opportuntity to share survivalism today than I can deal with.  Jack should get some itunes traffic from this one!

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 11:40:50 AM »
one other HUGE lesson.  We lost land lines and CELL lines from Tuesday am until Sunday pm.  You've NO IDEA how dependant you are on a cell phone until it doesn't work.  We've got some 10 mile two-ways, and we're going to distribute them to friends and family to be ready for this the next time. 

Offline Beetle

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2009, 11:52:46 AM »
That was an AWESOME post, you have me glued to your story. I highly suggest HAM radio's for you. Can you post some pictures. So what did the guy on the quad do? Did he just walkaway or RUN. Stay safe....+1

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2009, 12:15:32 PM »
GREAT TO HEAR KYFARMER!

That is just about as good a lesson learned as any.  It also goes to show that you have to have situational awareness at all times.  It would have been very easy to not hear the quad and see the shenanigans he was up too. 

The fuel situation is a real attention getter!  I've put up 20gls of diesel and 25 UL and after hearing your situation, I want to put up some more! 

Glad to hear that all turned out well. 

V/r Berserker Prime

Offline Beetle

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2009, 12:35:13 PM »
How was the cash situation? Did you have cash on hand?  Was anyone able to buy or sell anything during the storm?

Offline Roswell

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2009, 04:42:22 PM »
awesome post!  way to be prepared.  any other lessons you learned?   what did happen to the quad guy?

KyFarmer

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 05:01:17 PM »
How was the cash situation? Did you have cash on hand?  Was anyone able to buy or sell anything during the storm?
We keep a good amount of cash on hand anyway - so that was fine.  Thursday when I made it into town, some stores were taking checks and "credit" (everyone knows everyone) but the majority of stores that were even open were cash only.

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 05:19:24 PM »
That was an AWESOME post, you have me glued to your story. I highly suggest HAM radio's for you. Can you post some pictures. So what did the guy on the quad do? Did he just walkaway or RUN. Stay safe....+1
The dude on the quad apologized all over himself and left.  I didn't round the corner with the gun up and a light in his face screaming at him to get down.  I racked the shell and stepped around the barn with the gun up at my waist and politely said "son, what the f*** do you think you're doing?"  He was a kid - maybe 25 if that old.  Scared the hell out of him.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 06:20:41 PM »
Keep the details coming! It's real world examples like this that we all learn from others through.

You mentioned that the generator won't run the furnace.
Gas furnace? I am thinking blower, fuel pump and igniter for electrical needs?

My folks have a wood fireplace and a pellet stove to supplement the gas furnace they have at the new house. But on a really cold night, all three are running. No power means that the furnace and pellet stove are down. No power also means the the blower for the wood fireplace is out and thus the fireplace isn't near as efficient. I can't convince mom to swap the pellet stove out for the old cast iron parlor stove we had in the old house. A good thing for me I guess, as I got dibs on it for when I buy a house.

What are you planning on doing about the fuel tank? Is it gas or diesel?

The old place, we had pines planted around 3 sides as wind-breaks (farm country, snow used to bury the front door to the 2nd story window before the trees got big) which also works as a visual screen. The front yard along the road has really thick Lilacs about 6-10 foot tall now. Really great visual break for 3 seasons. I know the new place will get more lilac hedges planted. It's on the list to do first thing this spring.

Offline Beetle

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2009, 12:46:56 AM »
KY any way to get some pics posted?

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2009, 03:20:05 AM »
Fantastic post!!!!!!!

Thanks for sharing your experiences.  A textbook example of why we prep.

Offline AGreyMan

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2009, 08:36:01 AM »
Congrats KY Farmer:

It's a nice feeling knowing that your plans have paid off.

Thank you for the After Action Report. Please do not worry about boring us with details: I am certain many hear would like to knoe all you can tell us. We will think about what you said and see how we can apply it to our locations and situations.

Stay Safe,
AGreyMan

Offline aakelley

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2009, 10:10:10 AM »
Another post from KY.  We live in Northern KY and got hit with about an inch of ice on Tuesday night on top of 4 inches of snow and then another 5 inches of snow (nice sandwich) that knocked the power out at about 1:30 AM Wednesday morning.  First thing we learned was the the two is one, one is none things applies to everything including generators.  After the windstorm we had last fall (from Hurricane Ike...yes, we had a Hurricane in KY this year) I bought a 5.5 KW generator that would run off the 1,000 gal propane tank I have buried in the back yard (that also runs our furnaces) and installed a transfer switch to run the basics.  At 6 AM on Wednesday morning, I rolled out the generator, hooked it up and fired it up.  All seemed fine for about 2 hours and then it just stopped putting out power.  It was still running, but when I got my multi-meter out, all I could get at the terminals was 2-3 V.  not really enough to run anything :-(.

So we went truly without power for most of Wednesday.  Wednesday night, we broke out the sleeping bags for my son and I, and my wife and daughter shared the bed, all four of us sleeping together in the extra bedroom in the basement, figuring even though it was low (heat rises) it would stay the warmest longest.  When we woke up the next day, the house was at 47 degrees!.  We lost a degree about every 90 minutes through the day and night (something good to know for future reference).  That wasn't going to do, so I got out 'field and barn project generator' (A very old 2KW briggs and stratton powered genny I bought to provide power when I was building stalls in the barn and painting the fence), cut the end of an extension cord and wired it in to power the A side of the transfer switch (the side with the furnace on it).  That did the trick and I was able to get the temp inside back up to a relatively balmy 64 over the course of the next 6 hours.  Only downside with the smaller generator (besides only being able to run the furnace, fridge and one set of lights in the kitchen) was that I had to fill it up with a gallon of gas every four hours.  Fortunately this little genny ran without fail for the remaining 1.5 days that we we were without power.  The power came back on around 7 on Friday night.

Other lessons learned:

  • Need to rethink where the generator(s) are positioned.  Had them both in the workshop and that made it really hard to get over all the now and ice to hookup to the transfer switch.
  • Only had 5 gallons of gas on hand for the other generator.  Definitely need to get a few more cans if that is going to be the backup (although thinking about getting a few big batteries and an invertor as a backup and relegating the 2KW genny to third string)
  • I did end up making extensive use of the coleman white gas cookstove (pancakes, macaroni and cheese, coffee) through the day.  You really don't appreciate how much better warmed carbs can make you feel when its cold outside (and inside!) until you are there.
  • Need to get some more things in place for the kids to do.  Day 1 of snowball fights was fun, but day 2 without the Wii started to make them a bit crazy.  Crafts, books and boardgames are on the list

Overall it was a good 'test' and had only strengthened my resolve that we are on the right track.


Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2009, 11:05:13 AM »
Another fantastic post.  Thanks for sharing.

Maybe we need a General lessons Learned thread where people can post this kind of info about any event.

Offline firetoad

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2009, 11:11:09 AM »

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2009, 11:15:08 AM »
I did see that thread.  Is it only mod's that can add to it?

Offline firetoad

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2009, 01:21:57 PM »
Yep, only mods in the Repository TB.  What I was planning on doing was snagging the AAR's, etc. and putting them in that thread.  Members are more than welcome to post their stories where they see fit with all of the responses people would like to post.  With the specific thread in the Repository, we have made it mod only editing to maximize content and keep things easily accessible.  Now, having said that, if anyone has any specific suggestions for posts or information in the Repository, send them to anyone of us mods/admins. 

Not sure if that is quite the solution or answer you were looking for, but it is what we have right now.  If you have some comments or suggestions TB, please feel free to contact me through PM.  HTH

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2009, 01:58:20 PM »
aakelley, Thanks for sharing! 

Glad all came out well.  Can you report on how other issues like:

- how others fared?
- how long did gas stations stay in operation?
- did businesses stay open, did they go to 'cash only' ops?
- what did you do to secure your genny?

Great addition!

Berserker Prime

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2009, 02:46:16 PM »
Yep, only mods in the Repository TB.  What I was planning on doing was snagging the AAR's, etc. and putting them in that thread.  Members are more than welcome to post their stories where they see fit with all of the responses people would like to post.  With the specific thread in the Repository, we have made it mod only editing to maximize content and keep things easily accessible.  Now, having said that, if anyone has any specific suggestions for posts or information in the Repository, send them to anyone of us mods/admins. 

Not sure if that is quite the solution or answer you were looking for, but it is what we have right now.  If you have some comments or suggestions TB, please feel free to contact me through PM.  HTH

That works fine for me.  I thought I might be going crazy because I couldn't find the "reply" button. ;D

Offline aakelley

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2009, 03:48:32 PM »
BerserkerPrime - sure thing.

Pretty much everyone in my neck of the woods has a generator, so they all had at least basic power for the duration. The few that didn't doubled up with neighbors.  Food was another story.  One of our neighbors had to borrow milk and bread from us. And I must admit that we ended up trading them for some sugar.  If we couldn't have done that, I did have some in 5 gallon buckets in the basement, but I thought it would be a waste to open those for what was going to be over soon.  Maybe another lesson learned...have two stages of backups.  One you can access for short term emergencies and one for long term so you don't have to break into the long ones and use them up for something that should pass soon.

The roads were pretty much impassable for the first day.  After that they were still really bumpy from all the ice that stuck to the road despite the plows, so it was pretty much only trucks out on day 2.  So by the third day (when I ventured out for the first time), one of the three gas stations near our house was open (may have been open the whole time), but was cash only.  The local grocery store was open, but wonder of wonders Walmart was closed!

As far as securing the generator, I used a combination of being far away from all but one neighbor (we are 1/4 mile off the road), putting the genny behind the house (can't hear it when you are 100 feet in front of the house) and my coon dog (who does stay outside in her igloo even when it's cold and icy) to protect the genny.  I also have a MURS Alert on the driveway that lets me know if anyone is coming down, day or night.

Any other details you guys want, let me know.  Again, it was a nice test...and I learned alot from it.

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2009, 06:38:29 PM »
Awsome!  Good call on the short, long term storage.  Maybe rotation can take care of that?  What...Wally World not open?  I'll bet that screwed up a lot of folks. 

How do you think you all would have done if the roads and electric were out for 2 or more weeks? 

Berserker Prime

Offline aakelley

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2009, 07:39:57 PM »
2 Weeks would've been tough only because I was thinking the little genny would crap out any minute for the 1.5 days it was keeping us warm.  Also with only 5 gallons of gas for it on hand, I would have had to resort to siphoning from my wife's truck (all over vehicles / tractor are diesel).

Fortunately the larger genny was still under warranty and I got the parts to replace in it yesterday and its cranking out juice again.  Its headed to craigslist though now...too unreliable.  Any thoughts on what I should replace it with?

Offline firetoad

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2009, 07:49:41 PM »
I am a new fan of the Honda EU series of super quiet generators. 

They sell them in a 1000, 2000, 3000 and 6000 watt sizes.  I know the 2000's are super fuel efficient too!

I know you can get gas conversion kits for them too.

Offline Roswell

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2009, 08:34:12 PM »
where do you go for gennys firetoad?

Offline firetoad

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2009, 09:19:30 PM »
I picked my 2000 up from a local Farm & Home store that is a Honda servicing dealer.  Price was just as good, if not better than anywhere else, net included.  Besides, I love going into the Farm & Home store, I always walk out with something I didn't go in there for.   ;D  Our 2000 at work was purchased through a small engine store that is a Honda dealer.

Offline ChromeMtn

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Re: Ice Storm Survivors
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2009, 07:04:07 AM »
Hello everybody this is my first post
I live about 25 miles south of Louisville KY
about 80 percent of our county was without power.There was some things that I learned from the past week that I thought I could share will everyone.
1st If you depend on Kerosene for your backup heat you better keep enough on hand to last you a while.Every station within 20 miles was out the first morning.This did not apply to me I use wood for my backup heat.
which brings me to point #2
We burn about 5 ricks per winter mostly to cut back on or heating bill during the cold months.using wood only to heat 24 hrs a day we went trough over 1.5 ricks in a week that was a real eye opener if I would have had to do that for a extended period of time I would have exhausted my supply quickly
3rd We live in a small rural subdivision with 20 houses on 5 acre lots most everybody bugged out .I was the only one with a generator so I stood out like a sore thumb it was a very uneasy filling especially at night .I was glad I had my weapons just for the piece of mind.
I hope this might help someone in the future