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Author Topic: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't  (Read 3004 times)

Offline Multimode

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Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« on: November 06, 2012, 10:21:17 AM »
The powers back on, everyone's ok, no major damage and one hell of a mess to clean up around the homestead.  That said I figured I'd take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons learned in this storm.... 

Summary:
My prepping strategy has been focused on the long game: debt elimination, permaculuture, homesteading type stuff.  I was WAY better off then a lot of the people around me, the major lesson I learned is not to let political or personal philosophy interfere with my practical every day preps. 

I've been listening to TSP since 2008, consider myself a prepper, and I have only skipped a handful of episodes.  Some of you are going to say "well duh" but I'm posting this here so maybe others can avoid over thinking themselves into these kind of mistakes.

Some Lessons:
1.) Have Generator and Gas Preps.  I had been avoiding this investment because frankly I can't decide on a realistic budget and list of requirements.
 
I know I won't be particularly good at fuel rotation... gas goes bad on me and small engines are a lot of upkeep,  this has caused me to lean towards leveraging the propane I already have on site for heating and cooking.  This has me looking at full house generator units with automatic cut over... any peppers wet dream... but dreams have price tags.

I justified not having a small generator by having ample firewood and other preparations that mitigate danger.  In my lust for the perfect long term solution, and in trying to avoid yet another homestead maintenance routine, I ended up cutting off my nose to spite my face. 

You don't need a generator...  but there is a good chance you need gas....  You probably want a generator.... If your avoiding a generator just because of fuel upkeep, maintenance...  Look,  you ultimately can survive in the stone ages, but volunteering yourself, spouse, and family for that isn't prepping.  (Just turn the lights off if you want a night by the fire with your favorite people)

2.) My scanner was the best prep I had on hand.  In the wake of sandy there was a mild dose of insanity.  Crazy gas lines led small outbreaks of violence over fuel scarcity.  These weren't roving hordes of raiders.... These were desperate people exchanging angry words, getting into fist fights, and an over zealous gun owner shooting someone over a place near the end of a gas line.  I have yet to hear about ANY of this in the news but there are damn good reasons why the national guard and local police are stationed at the gas stations enforcing fuel rations.

The news just isn't going to report things like this because it will only make the mobs of people fighting over fuel bigger and harder to manage.  Even though many local PD's have switched to encrypted radios, the scanner is the difference between having situational awareness and getting yourself in trouble.

Get a scanner and learn how to use it.... program it with every local frequency you can find... even power companies and dpw's.

3.) 4 is 1, 3 is none. Test everything because these are some "duh" things I didn't want to learn during a hurricane:
  • 3 of the cheaper stashed flashlights broke upon trying to get some new batteries in them.
  • The new and amazing stove we just had installed had a "Safety" feature that shuts off the gas when power isn't applied to the stove.  (this came as a complete surprise and could not be safely overridden)
  • The propane grill (back up cooking plan #1) wasn't burning efficiently just after the storm
  • The backup camp stove works great... (when its not raining outside)

4.) You absolutely need to have an emergency plan/protocol if for no-one else for your loved ones.  When Jack talked about this I was like, "hey we're smart and we all know what to do"....

Until I was running around checking downspouts, rounding up flashlights, making sure phones are charged, I just didn't appreciate a CHECKLIST that includes the most OBVIOUS things. Like...
  • "hey power may go out, lets use paper plates with dinner and keep the house as clean as possible in case running water is an issue"
  • "lets fill up our gas tanks before the storm so we all have less to worry about"
  • "lets bring the bug out bags inside"
  • "lets dig out the camp stove in case we can't use our other stuff"

4.) The desperate people doing desperate things wasn't as bad out here in the rural areas but desperate people started pouring into this area much faster then expected..  People were using social media tools to locate and bounce on available resources, my rural gas stations 14 miles from a major highway was out fuel just as fast as the rest...

5.) Nobody was busting down doors taking stuff, but the last place you wanted to be was anywhere but home.  Most peoples emergency plan is to bug out to wallmart and go fight over the last box of Twinkies...   Best to already have what you need....

Wrap Up:
In the end...We all did know what to do,  we where fine.  It was just another storm and we're all alive to see the next. 

Now I know that Generators and Solar grids fill very different prepper niches, preferring one over the other is a good way to get burned because you don't choose your disaster.  A bird in the hand is worth three in the ...... and all that jazz.
--Multi-Mode

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 10:52:29 AM »
Thanks for the great report.  I also put off getting a generator for the same reasons.  But seeing the dependency on phones after the storm and listening to Steve Harris on the podcast I decided to at least get an inexpensive power inverter: Whistler Pro-800W 800 Watt Power Inverter from Amazon.  They are out of the Duracell that Steve recommends but I found this one for $49.  I like that it is portable and could be lent or used on any car or truck.  It is enough to power our phone chargers, laptops, radios (to save batteries), battery chargers, etc.  Not very efficient use of a car engine, but it would only be needed for an hour or so per day.  And the car engine is 10000% more reliable than the majority of generator engines because it is used regularly, is much larger and the load is insignificant, and there is fantastic redundancy in being used with any available car/truck.

I plan to get another one in 1500-2000 watts in January, and then a gasoline generator in March.  Probably an inexpensive 4000W generator such as Jack talks about (his is 6500W) to start with, and eventually an inverter gas generator for redundancy and more quiet.

In some of the postings and news articles I read how people learned NOT to run the generator at night as it is a dead giveaway who has power and something worth stealing.  And to NOT run it all day long as that is a waste of fuel and you run out soon.  The advice was to run it for 1-2 hours during the day when there are other generators or machinery running and making noise, and you can keep an eye on it so it does not get stolen.
There have always been times like this, and there will be again. Will we rise to the challenges or get run over?

Offline NassPrep

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 11:04:14 AM »
Sounds like a great learning experience you had! Personally, my plan is to have propane for cooking as well as food that doesn't require prep (high energy bars, peanut butter, etc). Where I'm at personally (WI) I'll likely just bug out by vehicle if it gets too bad.

That advice about only running the generator for a little while is dead on.
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Offline Saint-TyR

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 11:12:19 AM »
Awesome reflection! It is very helpful and keeps us on our toes to keep improving our preps.

Thank you for your time and stay safe.
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Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 12:27:39 PM »
I have a generator and inverters. Our power is still out.
I mostly use the 1000 watt inverter which runs the Fridge and chest freezer along with a couple of lights (low wattage) and charge what I needed. I am running the generator only when I have big loads, which hasn't been much.
The car running is a lot quieter than the generator. At night I hooked up a 400watt inverter and ran right off the battery for a light and chargers etc.
I used another 400 watt inverter to power my outside security lights off of a spare battery. There were reports of people trying to siphon and steal gas.
The other useful prep, head lamps. I do everything with one at night.
I also had a big buddy propane heater which is coming in handy.
I have a double burner propane camp stove i have been using to boil water etc. I use the grill more as an oven, it doesn't boil water anywhere near as well as the camp stove.

Marinade, helping you enjoy your steak, if the steak gets tough or even If it don't. :)

"Go forth and be manly!" - T.Ghee

So I have power and underwear.

Offline GrizzlyAdams

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 07:49:06 PM »
Hi All,

I have been documenting my lessons from Sandy on a daily basis.  Below is my list of observations, things I did correct, and things I did wrong:

Things I Did Wrong and Need To Fix
1. Too many people have gas generators.  Lines for gas were long and not comfortable.  Need to invest in a propane generator and get a large tank on the property (500 pounds or more).

2. Need to get a HAM radio and my license, along with other family members.  Mobile phone service declined during the storm, and is still not fixed in some areas.  Had the storm been worse, this may really hindered communication.

3. Need to get a dedicated police scanner.  I was using one of the police scanner applications on my phone, but my phone became too valuable for checking the web, facebook, twiiter, and other places for information. 

4. Need more MURS sensors.  By day two, reports of looting in NJ were already starting, and reports of people stealing generators were out.  Any home alarm systems were most likely dead by day 2 or 3 once the backup battery died.

5. Need more of the battery-operated outdoor motion lights.  With all of the crimes the news was reporting, it would be very helpful to see who was at the door (before opening it) because there were several firemen and other people who came by to check on the residents.

6. Need to make note of all of the gas stations in my area that still had power after the storm.

7. Need additional Mr. Beam whole house battery lighting systems.  If someone breaks into your home, you need a quick way to light up everything and this system can do it pretty inexpensively at the touch of a button.

8.  Need additional 12VDC batteries to have a dedicated "charging station" for laptops and phones, one for lamps in different rooms, and running the pellet stove. 

9. Need more instant coffee and creamer as the coffee lines were too long.


Things I Did Right And Will Improve On
1. Had up-to-the-minute updates by subscribing to twitter and facebook pages of various organizations, and people.

2. Had plenty of clean water for washing hands, faces, brushing teeth by filling a food-grade plastic bag in the bathtub, that had a siphon on it to take out water.

3. Had hot food by using a camping stove in combination with Mountain House pouches.

4. Had an extensive checklist already made before the storm that I ran through which included things like checking the gas stove propane tank was filled, water buckets for flushing toilets were filled and in place, fuel for cooking was in place, etc.  This made declaring "we are ready" very easy.  I just need to add my learnings to it for the next one now.

5. Only ran the generator during the day for pumping water from the well, showers, and charging the batteries.  At night with generators being stolen, it was too risky to leave it out there even with chains.  There was one report of thieves damaging a generator simply because it was chained and they could not steal it.

The other positive thing about the storm is that my wife is fully onboard now, and understands the value of being prepared.  She is a very smart woman, and now that she is "on the team", she will make us even better.

GA
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Offline microdevil45

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 08:12:50 AM »
Thanks guys for this good info.




Offline Cedar

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 11:10:21 AM »
The powers back on, everyone's ok, no major damage and one hell of a mess to clean up around the homestead.  That said I figured I'd take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons learned in this storm.... 

+1 for riding out the storm and for posting your reflections.

Cedar
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 11:11:59 AM »
I have a generator and inverters. Our power is still out.

+1 for riding the storm out and for having to live in that situation right now. You deserve some kind of reward, no matter how little.

Cedar
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 11:13:23 AM »
I have been documenting my lessons from Sandy on a daily basis.  Below is my list of observations, things I did correct, and things I did wrong:

+1 for riding the storm out and documenting your experience.

Cedar
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Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 07:30:44 PM »
Thanks, everyone -- very good posts!

3. Need to get a dedicated police scanner.  I was using one of the police scanner applications on my phone, but my phone became too valuable for checking the web, facebook, twiiter, and other places for information. 

Also, the phone scanner app is dependent on some local guy with a real scanner radio who is piping the audio into the Internet for you.  If he goes down, the app fails.

Offline Hootie

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 09:23:10 PM »
Personally, my plan is to have propane for cooking Where I'm at personally (WI)
I am also in WI. Be a little mindful that propane flows slower in winter tempatures. I have found that is enougth to slowly boil water, not really enougth to sear my steak the way i like  :P

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Offline Nate

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 06:41:22 AM »
I use the grill more as an oven, it doesn't boil water anywhere near as well as the camp stove.

I would be interested in how you do this.  Being able to bake some bread in an emergency would be a huge morale boost.


2.) My scanner was the best prep I had on hand.


What model/brand of scanner do you have?

Thanks to everyone for posting your experiences.  We can all learn a thing or two from you.  If anyone had a checklist that worked well for you, I would be interested in seeing it. 
NATE

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Offline Saint

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 09:14:29 AM »
hey folks,
I'm finally back "online" (8 days without power) and here's the short and dirty on my Superstorm Sandy and follow-up Nor'Easter sucker punch:
(quick background: Long Islander, suburban/.36 acre lot, 2 cars, 2 kids, 2 pets, single income)

where I succeeded (partially or fully):
had a generator (2300 watts), gas (1 of 3 cans full), propane (1 full, 1 empty) for the grill, food preps, black-out bag, firewood, great neighbors, social media for info (gas stations, where power line workers were)

where I failed:
I was gone. Yep, had to travel overseas for work, left on Sunday (day of the storm) came back on Friday.
House lost power midday Monday, didn't get it back for 9 days;
Wife dragged out the generator (um, yeah, "I was gonna build a small trolley for that") and got the fridge and toaster oven going.
However I did NOT cover how to measure draw/load and what she could plug in, so while she was being very conservative (rationing power use and gas), she could have had much more to comfort the girls (3 and 11) TV, DVD, internet etc.
Also, we have a very efficient fireplace insert - only the blower needs juice to share the heat - she could have plugged that in, but I failed to go over the power use).
When I got home I hooked my natural gas burner up to the generator so we had heat and hot water, but I never showed the wife how to do it. Why? Because, like your everyday Schmuckatelli, I "assume" I'll be there and/or be able to do it all.
have 3 chain saws...all currently in various states of dismantledness...."yeah, I was gonna get to that"
I could go on and on, but even "believing" I was prepping sequentially, I didn't prepare the team. My biggest lesson is the most basic we preppers know "1 is none" - I made myself the single point of failure.
The great, great news is, since getting home (and getting ourselves in order) we've been able to assist 5 families on our block with 1. firewood 2. gas 3. hot meals 4. laundry and 5. hot showers
and finally, while the wife was "more or less" on board with dedicating surplus/discretionary income to preps before, now she's "dedicated" to the cause - we have real time, real world, working results.
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 09:40:22 AM »
Wow Saint.  that is a different perspective.  thanks for the thoughts.
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Offline Adam B.

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2012, 10:01:14 AM »
Reading some of this triggered me to chime in on one small item of "prep" I am using now that would be very effective in a power outage.

I cut the cable cord (TV and internet) and switched to a Clear Wireless 4G hotspot instead. It is a tiny little battery powered WiFi router and 4G internet tranceiver that runs off the same 4G network as Sprint.



So now in the event of a power outage I still have full internet capabilities — where my old setup would be knocked out completely.

The service is $49.99 / month and you pay anywhere from $25 to $50 for the device based on what sale they are having that day. There are stores where you can buy them as well if you need to see it in person.

NO hidden fees or taxes or other surprises on your bill and it is unlimited. You can take the device anywhere you can get a signal (I carry it with me all the time). It charges with a standard micro USB cord, and the battery lasts SEVERAL hours.

It is fast enough to stream HD video from Netflix on 2 or 3 simultaneous devices without buffering issues (if you have a good 4G signal).

I am saving $100 /mo based on getting rid of my Internet / Cable combo from the cable company and have NO problems with this. In fact I prefer this even though it is slower than a land-based cable line.

The fact I use nothing but macbooks (and one iMac for the family computer) now for my computer needs — I have about 8 hours of computer time and internet with NO power source — and even a simple SLA battery bank I have in a power pack will let me continue running this laptop AND charge the wifi device for an entire DAY before I would need to worry about finding power.

The Macbooks have the best power capacity of any laptop I've ever used. And I assume the newest ones are even better in that regard than the 3 year old one I use.

Granted Netflix movies are not NECESSARY for survival — but it is quite convenient to have access to the internet wherever you are and without needing power.

I can use my Sprint Cell phone tethered with a USB cord to the laptop as another form of redundancy — but since it uses the same network as the Clearspot device, if there is a problem with the network itself BOTH devices will be rendered useless.

That is the only negative aspect I can think of with this current setup.
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Offline endurance

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2012, 10:37:45 AM »
Great thread.  It's already got me thinking about a couple of holes I need to plug.
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Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2012, 11:32:11 AM »
+1 for riding the storm out and for having to live in that situation right now. You deserve some kind of reward, no matter how little.

Cedar

No reward.
My "reward" is knowing if this was worse I would have still been ok and that all the prepping I have done over the years has paid off.
It always has here and there, but this time it has been huge. And I am sure there will be more situations in the future.
AndI am happy that I am not one of the idiots on TV complaining that they have been without X,Y & Z for so many days and someone needs to help. Especially the people that were told to evacuate and didn't.  I guess that's for the airing of grievances thread.
I just can't imagine what it would be like if this happened without any warning.
Marinade, helping you enjoy your steak, if the steak gets tough or even If it don't. :)

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So I have power and underwear.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2012, 08:24:02 PM »
The great, great news is, since getting home (and getting ourselves in order) we've been able to assist 5 families on our block with 1. firewood 2. gas 3. hot meals 4. laundry and 5. hot showers
and finally, while the wife was "more or less" on board with dedicating surplus/discretionary income to preps before, now she's "dedicated" to the cause - we have real time, real world, working results.

+2. One for you and one for the wife. (not sure I can do 2.. but in good thoughts I did).

Cedar
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2012, 08:25:26 PM »
No reward.
My "reward" is knowing if this was worse I would have still been ok and that all the prepping I have done over the years has paid off.
It always has here and there, but this time it has been huge. And I am sure there will be more situations in the future.
AndI am happy that I am not one of the idiots on TV complaining that they have been without X,Y & Z for so many days and someone needs to help. Especially the people that were told to evacuate and didn't.  I guess that's for the airing of grievances thread.
I just can't imagine what it would be like if this happened without any warning.

And that is what the +1 is for. For learning in real experience.

Cedar
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Offline osubuckeye4

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2012, 11:30:31 AM »
Awesome post(s).

It's amazing the simple things that we sometimes forget until we're atually faced with a situation.

Reading your post makes me realize that I should probably stock up on some more sterno or other heat generating sources, as we did fondue a month or so ago and used up some of our sterno on hand.  (whoops!) :)

(A lot of other really good ideas, but, unfortunately I live in a relatively small condo and there is no space for a generator or large propane grill)

Offline rikkrack

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2012, 01:04:42 PM »
+ 1 to all of you posting your stories. I leaned A LOT. More than just reading what to do. You gave REAL stories, as written by preppers, and not only the good but the bad and your own lessons learned. Some I had done, some "i was gonna get to that...", and some I didn't think of.

I would really be interested in a tread from anyone in a disaster who after starting to listen to the podcast, changed their ways/habits, and what worked and didn't. How did they apply what they learned, what did they wish they had done etc.

Glad you are all safe, and on the way back to normal lives.

BTW did any of you see/get ANY government help during all of this? Did you see any relief efforts?
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Offline 1/8th of Ton Man

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2012, 01:29:20 PM »
Being on Day 11 or 12 of now power/heat (depends on if you count the day the power goes out as 0 or 1 - wife and I disagree about this), I have learned a few things that I need to do better next time:

  • Cash: Like others have said, cash is king.  With the phone lines down, we have been able to purchase supplies, but only with cash.  We were preemptive and took cash out before the storm.  But, we made the mistake of keeping large bills ($50s from the ATM).  Fortunately, most places were OK, but it could stand to reason that people would not be willing to break large bills in a more 'unorganized' situation.  That $10 case of water may turn out to be $100 if that's the smallest bill you have.

  • Heat: I live in a house with oil heating.  Without power, the heat turns doesn't work (the hot water follows suite).  In the short term, I plan on remedying this problem with the purchase of a generator. Having a generator on hand will also help with the ~$300 of food we had to dispose of from the refrigerator/freezer (both this year and as a result of Irene last year).  A longer term (and more expensive) solution will be the installation of a fireplace or wood burning stove.  It will also act as an indoor cooking location as we have an electric oven/range.  Gas grills work great...as long as you have propane.  We may also invest in a Coleman style camp stove for cooking purposes.  However, the use of one of those in the house does concern me...

  • Fuel: We topped off the tanks, but weren't expecting the gas shortage that ensued.  Again, most people are pretty amicable and, if you were patient, there is enough gas to go around.  I'll plan on having enough gas on hand to fill each vehicle at least once as well as run the above mentioned generator for a certain number of days.

  • Communication: Phone lines were down and cell phone coverage was affected.  The ability to call for help was greatly reduced for multiple days (even up to this AM).  I need to come up with a plan for communicating that relies on alternate sources of energy. 

    As a general practice, I don't listen to too much terrestrial radio. I tend to listen to podcasts when I'm driving in an effort to broaden my knowledge base. Anyways, the major problem I had when the power went out was where to get information. Watching the TV during lead-in to the storm, the stations on TV kept touting their station as the one to watch and kept giving contact information for their website. Hell, even the FEMA ads you'd see would tell you to contact their website for more info. I believe even the POTUS pointed to the web for more info.

    But, when the power (and, subsequently internet and TV) went down, all we had available was radios - either battery/hand-cranked or in our cars. What channel has the most useful information? What channel will give me information on shelters, safety zones, etc? Same goes for phone numbers. If my cell died and I only had access to landlines (assuming their still working), I should have a list of emergency contact numbers available.

  • Protection: Every night I feel as though we're in a fishbowl.  With no curtains on the windows, the entire world can see in and I can't see out.  Curtains need to go up and some form of self-protection needs to be procured.  Although, having two large dogs does give some sense of security, if only to alert of of potential danger (they bark when people get to the door and are not super friendly to folks they don't know).

  • Training: The family is during remarkably well given the circumstances, but we need to be better prepared as a unit. I was the only one who knew where the flashlights and batteries were.  I'm the only one who knows how to throw the main breaker or turn on/off the furnace.  We need to plan and prepare as a unit better.  I'll need to make this into a bit of a game since the kids are little, but it's something we can do as a family and learn from.  I will also need to make sure my wife is trained on whatever protection we obtain (shotgun, rifle or otherwise) in case I am incapable of protecting the family as well as taking care of all the backup power generation/heating methods.

I'm sure there's more to be learned - the wife and I have actually talked about sitting down and doing a kind of After Action Report once we're back up and running in the next day or two.  But, these six things should be a good start.  We will also reassess the medical kit situation (fortunately, we didn't run into any major problems) and the food storage situation.



Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2012, 02:01:12 PM »

BTW did any of you see/get ANY government help during all of this? Did you see any relief efforts?

FEMA has been setting up PODs  (Points Of Delivery)and giving out food etc. They also were reported as giving out gasa at some of the stations.
The Nassau County department of OEM has been active in assisting with shelters and PODs.

Bloomberg told the National Guard that he doesn't want them because "The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns."
That's not comforting.

I haven't received anything from the government or had any contact.

My only "issue" is no "heat". I have the fireplace and propane heater that I have been using judiciously.
I have been running the blazes out of the fireplace.
My furnace is on the fritz. So it's make do and  so far it's been ok. With warmer temps in sight.

I have plenty of food and supplies. I've gone out to get gas but most times I was getting gas for relatives and neighbors. People on line always want to know how much gas everyone has used.
When i tell them maybe 15 gallons or so they can't believe it. They just don't get you don't have to run everything in your house 24 hours a day and use a generator.

The best lesson is my wife. She learned I am not a kook and that I do have reasons for the things I have. And that maybe an insert for the fireplace would have been a good idea. We will be looking at them in the near future.

Still rolling along on the North Shore.
Marinade, helping you enjoy your steak, if the steak gets tough or even If it don't. :)

"Go forth and be manly!" - T.Ghee

So I have power and underwear.

Offline 1/8th of Ton Man

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2012, 02:06:45 PM »
The best lesson is my wife. She learned I am not a kook and that I do have reasons for the things I have. And that maybe an insert for the fireplace would have been a good idea. We will be looking at them in the near future.
Haha! My wife "saw the light" as well, even the point of getting nervous and agreeing that we maybe needed some form of protection (read: firearm) in the house.  My Boy Scout "Be Prepared" mentality has definitely kept our kids comfortable and well fed.



Offline GrizzlyAdams

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2012, 06:24:26 PM »
My town has their power back now, and with it a sense of security has come back to us.  Looking back, the biggest weakness in our preps was security and communications. 

By day #2/day #3 there were reports of looting, home invasions/break-ins, and theft of generators.  Our house alarm system battery backup had ended by day #2, so we felt very vulnerable.  Also, by day #3 there were many reports of unreliable mobile phone service due to tower problems.  I experienced this when traveling with not being able to make a mobile phone call, or an immediate dropped call.  Had this been a more powerful storm (for example a category 2 hurricane), I believe communication would have been extremely difficult via mobile phone.

I already ordered (and received) additional IR sensors from murs-radio.com.  Rob (the owner) is awesome and I highly recommend him and his company!  During the outage I went to one of the large hardware stores and purchased door security braces (didn't even know they made them!), and the battery-powered door alarms for intrusion detection and prevention.

I already have the MURS receivers and a CB radio.  If anyone has any suggestions for communication (maybe an easy to use DC-powered HAM radio for a beginner?) it would be greatly appreciated!

GA

"There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally."~Don Miguel Ruiz

You are the master.  The mind is your servant.  This is the correct relationship.~Mooji

"We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains."~ Li Po

Offline NevadaMan

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2012, 01:37:20 PM »
Sandy was a real wake up call for my brother.

He was completely unprepared in every sense of the word.  His ordeal was the reason I've started visiting forums like this one to get into the survival mindset.  He had no extra food, water, anything.  Total nightmare.

I hope I can learn something from you guys so I can teach him.

Offline doublehelix

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2012, 02:24:21 PM »

... by day #3 there were many reports of unreliable mobile phone service due to tower problems.  I experienced this when traveling with not being able to make a mobile phone call, or an immediate dropped call. 

Most cell problems are due to the puny 600mw hand held cell phones now used, that can't reach distant towers that may be still operational.  If you have some spare $$$ and an external power source (like 12vdc gel cells and a solar charger), a cellular amplifier/repeater with a good directional antenna would get you through to an active cell.  These have been used for years by off-grid folks and truck drivers.

Some suggestions here.   :oWarning.  they aren't cheap.  Range from $200 to $1K
http://www.accessorygeeks.com/home-office-buildings-antennas.html

Quote
If anyone has any suggestions for communication (maybe an easy to use DC-powered HAM radio for a beginner?) it would be greatly appreciated!
GA

Drop into the communications sub-forum.  A good all-around hand-held radio is the Wouxun with a clamshell battery holder that can take AA batteries, and a 12vdc car adapter and magnetic mount antenna.

A good public safety scanner is also highly recommended for situational awareness.

YMMV

Offline GrizzlyAdams

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2012, 05:18:01 PM »
Doublehelix - thank you for the suggestions.  I had no idea they made cellular amplifiers.

Do you have to hook your phone up to the amp with a cable? or do you just power the amp and that is it?

Thanks again - I will drop by the communication section.

GA
"There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally."~Don Miguel Ruiz

You are the master.  The mind is your servant.  This is the correct relationship.~Mooji

"We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains."~ Li Po

Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: Hurricane Sandy: What worked and what didn't
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2012, 07:32:30 AM »
We got our power back last night.
2 hours later the power company sent a text message saying it was going to be another day.

The one thing I forgot to mention that worked:
a 5 day cooler. I kept things in there that I knew I would need when the fridge wasn't plugged in so i didn't have to open the door.
Marinade, helping you enjoy your steak, if the steak gets tough or even If it don't. :)

"Go forth and be manly!" - T.Ghee

So I have power and underwear.