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Author Topic: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem  (Read 12801 times)

Offline Cordovil

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A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« on: November 13, 2012, 03:50:47 PM »
Here in the NJ suburbs of NYC, we (my wife, three kids under 6, and me) were fortunate in that we had no injuries to our family and no flooding or serious tree fall damage to our house or vehicles.  Sandy was primarily an exercise in a large-scale, extended blackout: no electricity, no heat, no hot water; 12 days in our case.

Here in this thread I will post a few thoughts on what I learned and how we fared.  I will break it up into a few posts. 

Topic 1. Generator. 

What worked: I bought one.  Barely just in time, but I bought one.

I never owned a generator before.  For a long time, I was on the fence about buying one.  My primary reasoning was that since we don't really use AC up here, it wasn’t necessary, and that we had plenty of lanterns, flashlights, etc. 

But I remembered how last year in October we had a freak snowstorm and lost power for about 5 days, and it was not a pleasant experience.  So a few days before Sandy hit, and motivated by Steven Harris’ recent interviews on generators, I got down off the fence and bought one a Yamaha EF2000iS inverter.  And I’m glad I did. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RWK9N2/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002RWK9N2&linkCode=as2&tag=knowledgepubc-20

Some benefits of a generator/inverter that this confessed generator-skeptic discovered:

Light - First of all, when the whole town went dark, there was just something comforting about being able to light up the downstairs living area of my house at night, and carry on with a bit of “normal” light; especially at this time of year when it gets dark around 5 p.m., when my wife typically starts cooking dinner.

Computer / internet - Also, I was able to power my computers and other devices to connect to the internet (which was still working).  I became the "internet-connected" hangout/headquarters for my immediate neighbors, which I think helped to foster a better sense of teamwork between us during the outage, and helped grease the "barter wheels" so to speak.  And being able to run my computer (and internet) allowed me to work from home when public transportation went down and driving to work was not an option.

Fridge/Freezer - Being able to run the freezer/fridge for roughly 6-8 hours each day bought us enough time to slowly use up what food we had in the fridge/freezer, and we lost very little.

Laundry - We even ran a few loads of laundry through my neighbor’s energy-efficient front-load washer/dryer.

Entertainment - Being able to sit the little kids (and the neighbors' little kid) down in front of the TV and pop in a Disney DVD to keep them occupied for a few hours was priceless, and allowed the grown-ups to deal with other issues.

Phone - I dislike talking on the cell phone, and since I had power I was able to use our VOIP line with our regular phone.

Fuel - And because I had a small/mid-sized inverter that is very fuel efficient, I was able to do all of this without interruption even in the midst of the fuel shortages and gasoline rationing put into effect in our area.

What didn’t work: Well, I waited until the last minute before the storm to buy the generator, so I didn’t have time to order a tri-fuel version, which I would have liked. 

Also, because I waited until the last minute to buy the generator, I did not have the proper amount of fuel storage; more gas cans were impossible to find by the time I headed out to look for them 2 days before the storm.  I managed to store 6 gallons (about a week’s worth in my case) before the storm in the cans I had but I ended up being one of those shmucks you saw photos of waiting in line for gas.  That was not a smart thing; I’m lucky I ended up getting gas and not getting into a fight. 

And if you think that you’ll be able to siphon gas from your car, try it out first to make sure you can; I wasn’t able to get past the anti-siphon devices on my cars so that backup fuel storage plan failed me.  I'm still trying different ideas to see if I can get that to work.

Finally, because I waited until the last minute, I wasn’t able to explore connecting the generator to my central heating system (oil-fueled steam heat).

Lesson learned: Even if you don't use AC much, at least a small generator is a worthwhile investment; and a small, efficient generator/inverter like the Yamaha/Honda ones Steven Harris discussed in his interviews with Jack would be my first choice for anyone who is on the fence.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 04:16:53 PM by Cordovil »

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2012, 04:07:08 PM »
2. Internet. 

What worked: “Old-fashioned” DSL that runs on the regular phone line, once I powered up my DSL modem and router with my generator.

What didn’t work: Fiber-optic and cable modems that my neighbors had.  I don't know if I just got lucky (e.g. my phone line wasn't severed by a fallen tree, whereas the fiber-optic and cable lines to my neighbors' houses were) or if the cable/fiber-optic internet delivery systems require more power, or get their power from the main power grid.  But my DSL worked, no one else I know had internet access.

Lesson learned:  Sometimes, maybe older is better?  It might be worthwhile to have a redundant phone line with DSL service, or at least land line with a dial-up option as last resort.  The ability to stay connected to work and friends/family over the internet was very important, both for my job and for our collective sanity.  I guess I just got lucky here.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 04:15:22 PM by Cordovil »

Offline Saint-TyR

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 04:13:24 PM »
And if you think that you’ll be able to siphon gas from your car, try it out first to make sure you can; I wasn’t able to get past the anti-siphon devices on my cars so that backup fuel storage plan failed me.  I'm still trying different ideas to see if I can get that to work.

Great point! This is something to look into... I wonder what year manufacturers started doing this. Thank you for the lessons learned!

Stay Safe!
"Don't give up the ship!"               "Live Free or Die"




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Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2012, 04:14:28 PM »
3. Heat. 

Thankfully, this outage didn't hit during the dead of winter.  Nonetheless, we ended up with 6 inches of snow while we were without power / heat / hot water.  Outdoor temps dropped below freezing, and indoor temps dropped into the low 40s.

What worked: My Mr. Heater Big Buddy propane heater performed admirably, and I felt comfortable using it inside our home with two small 1lb bottles of propane attached, while we were awake. 

http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-MH18B-Portable-Propane/dp/B0002WRHE8/

What didn’t work:  My meager store of ten 1 lb bottles of propane plus one 20 lb tank was not enough, as we would have ideally gone through about 4 lbs of propane per day (just warming up a room in the morning to take the chill off, and running it at night during and after dinner to keep one room warm before bed.)  We had to run it very sparsely to try to conserve fuel.  And it was impossible to find more propane during the outage.  I had also not thought out what I would do with the 20 lb tank, and never had a setup that allowed me to use it more than just running it in the kitchen with the tank out the back door.

Lesson learned:  Store more propane (although I’m limited since I have no garage or shed.)  And devise a more reliable way to run off of a 20 lb tank (e.g. make a cut out of a small piece of wood that I can place under a window that's cracked open enough to allow the tank to sit outside the window on a stable platform.

For a permanent home, plan ahead to power your central heating from your generator; for my situation, that may not be practical because I am renting. 

Finally, I will expand my backup heating from just one type (propane) to include a second type (kerosene) which would increase my odds of having enough fuel to get by, and increase the amount of fuel that I can safely store.

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2012, 04:20:54 PM »
4. Hot water. 

What worked:  Taking hot showers and giving the kids hot baths at our next-door neighbors.  In other words, sharing with your neighbors.  We had them over for dinner a couple times, and opened our home to them to hang out and use the internet etc. whenever they wanted.  In turn, we were able to shower there.  Also, in between showers at the neighbors every other day, we'd take sponge baths with hot water warmed up on the natural gas stove; that's do-able in the short term, or for the long term if you're on your own, but for a family of five long-term, it is no fun.

What didn’t work:  My hot water heater, because it’s electric (stupid) and I probably wouldn’t have been able to run it with my generator even if I had enough time to investigate having it hooked up.

Lesson learned:  When I own my own home, never have an electric hot water heater.  And I am working on setting up a temporary propane-based water heater to use as a backup, like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Eccotemp-L5-Portable-Tankless-Outdoor/dp/B000TXOJQ4

Going without hot water for a few days on my own is OK.  With 3 little kids, two of them still in diapers, it becomes even more of an important hygiene issue.  And nearly two weeks is way too long to go without hot water.

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2012, 04:32:22 PM »
5. Flashlights / Lanterns / Etc.

What worked: My simple Petzl headlamp became my new fashion accessory – I don’t think I took this thing off for nearly two weeks.  It was invaluable to have a head lamp like this, to keep my hands free when doing stuff like attending to the generator at night, going down into the basement to access stuff, etc.  Not to mention, I have 3 little kids, so you can imagine I have my hands full now and then.  And now my wife wants one.  :-)

www.amazon.com/Petzl-E91-PF-Tikkina-Headlamp/dp/B0027H2GAQ/

My Rayovac LED lantern also performed great.  I got a solid week’s worth of use out of one set of batteries (3 x D size), and that includes leaving it on all night as a sort of household nightlight for my kids.

http://www.amazon.com/Rayovac-Sportsman-LED-Lantern-SE3DLNA/dp/B0018S4XIS

“Toy quality” light sticks for the kids was fun entertainment, at least for one night.

What didn’t work: I found I didn’t have much use for the Cyalume light-sticks I had purchased; they worked fine, just found that I didn’t need them.  I’ve moved a few of them to our vehicles.

Lesson Learned: Maybe get a propane lantern.  My neighbor had a propane lantern, like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-One-Mantle-Compact-Propane-Lantern/dp/B0009PUR54/   

That lantern gave off a much brighter, much warmer light than anything I had in my house.  Of course, I had a generator and he didn’t, so I only really needed it during the rare times it was dark and I didn’t have the generator fired up.  But I am going to consider getting one of these.  Not a high priority though, given how well the Rayovac LED lantern performed. 

I’ll probably pick up a second one of those Rayovacs at some point, since I want at least one of them upstairs and one of them downstairs.

Also, if you have a few small cheapo (e.g. 1 x AAA battery) incandescent flashlights that don’t put out much light, it’s safer for the little kids to play with those; my 2 year old wanted to hold a flashlight but she kept staring into the very bright LED flashlight, so we had to take it away from her.

Offline livinitup0

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2012, 04:36:30 PM »
I'm glad everything worked out pretty much ok for you guys. How big of an area did your buddy heater have to contend with? Im thinking about getting one but was concerned with how effective it would be. Any issues with CO? Did you crack a window or anything?

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 04:40:31 PM »
6. Food

What worked: My recently acquired Shelf Reliance Harvest 72 formed the foundation of our food for the 12 days we were without power, supplemented by our cooking off other stuff from our fridge/freezer and our general pantry.  We barely made a dent in the canned preps, but boy it sure felt good knowing that we had these food preps available to us, regardless of the fact that stores all over the area were closed / without power / inaccessible due to downed trees and power lines.

http://www.shelfreliance.com/the-harvest-72.html

What didn’t work: I got lucky with Halloween candy being on-hand, but I underestimated the importance of treats/desserts in our preps to keep up morale.  I’ll be adding more to our food preps.  Oh, and more hot chocolate too - both warms you up and serves as an alternative to tea/coffee and dessert for the kids.

Lesson Learned:  Toward the end of our ordeal, my wife and kids executed a bug-out to stay with family out of state.  Left to my own devices and meager cooking skills, and after a long day of work where all I wanted to do was come home and eat, I found myself using my ready-meals first (e.g. a can of beef chili and maybe a can of soup) rather than cooking anything myself.  I have been focusing most of our preps on basic ingredients for cooking, but I now have a better appreciation for how ready-to-eat meals have a place in my food preps. 

Trader Joe's chicken / beef / turkey chili is great. 

And even though we don’t feed the little kids Spaghetti-O’s and stuff like that normally, sometimes it’s easiest for the grownups to just open a can of that and some Vienna sausages and quick put a meal on the table for them. 
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 04:58:12 PM by Cordovil »

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 04:44:32 PM »
I'm glad everything worked out pretty much ok for you guys. How big of an area did your buddy heater have to contend with? Im thinking about getting one but was concerned with how effective it would be. Any issues with CO? Did you crack a window or anything?

My Big Buddy worked very well as a single-room heater; the room we used it in was about 16 x 16 or so.  Our house is 150+ years old, and drafty, so in a better insulated place it could probably do more.

No issues with CO and we have detectors in every room (dual smoke/CO detectors) but I was always cautious about that, and didn't sleep with the heater on.  Since our house was so drafty, and much bigger than the area being heated by the Buddy heater, I didn't crack a window.  Only when I had the 20 lb tank connected via the connector hose, that usually sat outside on like an enclosed porch, and so I'd have that door cracked when using the heater to heat up the kitchen like that.

P.S. I forgot to mention that I figured out I could run one of my basic electric oil filled heaters on LOW setting (600 Watts) with the spare capacity from the generator, so during the day I was able to heat one room with this; at least it helped me work, because it's hard to type when your fingers are frozen LOL.

http://www.amazon.com/Pelonis-500-watt-Portable-Electric-Oil-filled/dp/B009H9A44W

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 04:55:00 PM »
7. Defense

What worked: Having my Mossberg (which I only got last year, my first firearm) contributed greatly to my sense of security.  I also always kept pepper spray and a knife on me at all times.

Made sure to lock up the generator when it was in use, and put it away in the basement when I went to sleep at night.

And it worked out well that my Yamaha generator was so quiet, it was a much lower profile than the other houses with the big loud generators.

What didn’t work: I was sorely aware of the fact that I want/need more training and practice time with my firearm.  I will be working on that.  And I had no handgun. 

Also, I had no battery bank to run in “submarine” mode at night, after I shut down the generator.  That would have been ideal.  I’m looking forward to Jack’s next interview with Steven Harris on that subject.  It’s a cold, lonely, dark feeling to be the one shutting down the generator at midnight after everyone else is safely put to bed; would have been nice to be able to run things for a little while longer with a battery bank, and probably safer as well, to have an ability to light things up late at night after the generator is away.

Lesson Learned: Get more training/practice in with the firearm I have.  Get a handgun for times when I need to be out and about your property with my hands otherwise occupied.  And get a battery bank so I can run at least some lights/electronics in "submarine" mode late at night.

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2012, 05:03:45 PM »
Out of curiosity, how long did your oil filled radiators retain their heat after the generator was turned off for the night?
Thanks.

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” –U.S. Senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


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Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2012, 05:09:44 PM »
8. Fuel

Simple fact here is that I didn’t have enough gasoline stored (and couldn’t siphon from my vehicles).  And I didn’t have enough propane stored.  And all the usual, expected stuff happened – gas was very difficult to obtain, and propane was nowhere to be found.

Lesson Learned: One week’s worth of fuel is not enough.  I am going to aim for at least 4 weeks.

9. Entertainment

We were lucky that our neighbor lent us a bunch of kids’ DVDs to watch, that my kids had never seen.  New movies (stuff they have never seen, that they will want to watch 4 times before they get tired of it) are a good thing to keep on hand if you have little kids.

A small portable DVD player that can take a charge and be used at times when the generator is off is a good idea.  Also, headphones for the kids, so you can stay near them without having to subject yourself to listening to Cars 2 for the 10th time.

Reading books, playing games, all that sounds great, but with very little kids I needed stuff that would keep them occupied, because I was busy doing so many other things most of the time.

10. Miscellaneous thoughts

- I was glad I kept old utility bills on my Box O’ Preps, because I always had the phone numbers available to call.

- Many roads were impassable for many days, so plan out different routes to places you might need to try to get to (hospital, etc.).

- Keep a spare set of headphones around for each adult; during the night of the storm, my wife and I sat at the kitchen table listening to the radio with one earbud each, while the kids slept downstairs in the next room (in case a tree fell on the house).  There may be times when you want to stay close to the sleeping kiddos, but also want/need to find out what is going on; or you might want to be able to listen to what’s going on without them hearing, in case it will make them more nervous.

- I had plenty of AA and AAA batteries, but after I use up this stash of batteries I’m going to add those Eneloops to my preps.

- Consider how you will wash clothes, and maybe practice it.  It wasn't something I had ever considered, but with lots of little kids going through lots of clothes, it became important.  In our case, we're lucky our neighbors had a high-efficiency front load washing machine that my 2000 watt inverter could power (it wouldn't have been able to power my washer, I don't think).  We did a few loads that way.  But I need to think about how I could wash clothes if needed.

Maybe something like this: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Haier-1-cu.-ft.-Portable-Washing-Machine-HLP21N/13346456

Or this: http://www.compactappliance.com/WONDERWASH-Laundry-Alternative-Wonderwash-Washing-Machine/WONDERWASH,default,pd.html

- With cable service out, and no reception from my television, I found myself at times wishing I could tune into the news on a portable TV (i.e. something I could maybe bring upstairs or move around to find a signal).  I'm going to look into that, but it's low on the list since we don't watch a lot of TV, and radio is good enough for most news. 

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I'll add anything else that comes to mind.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 05:40:36 PM by Cordovil »

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2012, 05:12:21 PM »
Out of curiosity, how long did your oil filled radiators retain their heat after the generator was turned off for the night?
Thanks.

Not very long.  We normally use them frequently during the winter, to keep the kids' bedrooms a little warmer without the central heating on, and so I knew from experience that once you shut those off, they lose their heat in about 10-15 minutes. 

I guess it's enough if you warm up the room, shut it down, and then get into bed, but it's not long enough to maintain any meaningful heat without power for any length of time.   Especially on LOW power, which I was using due to the need to balance wattage draw on my generator/inverter.

Offline microdevil45

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2012, 05:15:32 PM »
Very good info.  I am glad you were able to have some form of modern life.




Offline Cedar

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 05:27:54 PM »
Excellent post. Thanks for sharing. +1

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Offline meapplejak

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 05:40:49 PM »
Taking down some notes thanks for the info.

Will keep watching this for more comments

Please any else add things that could be useful.

Hopefully I will be picking up a honda eu2000 soon
applejak

Offline chickchoc

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 06:15:44 PM »
Regarding washing clothes without power:  Back in my mother's day, there wasn't always an automatic washer available, so her family used a washboard and a tub with their homemade lye soap to clean their clothes.  Today's detergents are much more efficient, so you might consider this method while wearing rubber gloves.

Also, check Instructibles for a DIY agitator made from a toilet plunger.  This could be used with a 5 gal bucket.  I believe it's either Instructibles or Youtube that has a video of a hand powered washer made from a barrel by soldiers overseas.  A simple wooden stand allows the barrel to be flipped and spun to agitate the clothing inside. 

Of course the real issue is not washing the clothing; that could even be done by hand in a utility sink or the bathtub.  What I found difficult in cold weather was getting clothes dry.  My family did not have a dryer for quite a while when I was young and hanging clothing outdoors to dry in thewinter was a real pain.  Many times the best we could get was a kind of light damp "dry".  We had nat gas space heaters (no central heat or A/C), so we draped things over chairs near the heaters to help get the last moisture out.

You might ask some older folks what they did to clean clothing before they had all the modern conveniences of today.   I'm sure they'd have some low tech methods you could adapt/adopt as needed.

Offline Frugal Upstate

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 06:52:15 PM »
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!
Check out my blog: Frugal Upstate 
Frugal-Sustainable-Prepared

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2012, 07:28:16 PM »
A few years ago we were seriously snowed in and getting low on gas for the generator. As noted,  siphoning gas isn't easy like in the movies. I ended up getting under the cars and finding the feed on the top of the gas tank. For our two old vehicles(1977 and 1988) it was then pretty easy. Our Jeep cherokee(1999) unfortunately has a skid plate that made getting to the gas tank impossible. So, look around under your cars or ask a mechanic who knows you.

Offline frjoeb

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2012, 09:51:51 PM »
Thanks for sharing this with us.

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2012, 10:20:58 PM »
A few more miscellaneous thoughts:

- Paper/plastic cups/plates etc.  With the power out, we quickly realized that no dishwasher was going to mean a lot of dishes for a family of 5; and no hot water.  We had a stash of unused paper plates and plastic cups left over from a summer birthday party, and we used those to cut down on the washing up.  Seems odd to consider disposable plates/cups a prep, but I think having some on hand is a good idea.

- On that note, there were some dishes/pots/pans that were unavoidable and needed to be washed.  Except, since we're so used to using the dishwasher, we had unfortunately very little dish soap left.  And the stores were not open and/or were unreachable.  So I will include an spare bottle of grease-fighting dish soap in my Box 'O Preps from now on.  And I need good quality soap, cause I might be stuck washing dishes with cold water.

- in the cold weather, I became a big fan of the few pairs of Woolrich socks I own, wished I had more since I wasn't doing laundry very much

- For anyone who is new to generators like I was, here are a few more notes from my experience you might want to consider:
(i) have a pair of cloth or mechanic work gloves you can use to do oil changes, refueling, etc.; otherwise, you'll inevitably get something on your hands that will stink, and that will happen just when your wife needs you to hold the baby, and then you'll be trying to get your hands clean with cold water . . .

(ii) for those of you, like me, who don't personally change the oil on cars or other vehicles, you'll need an oil pan to drain the used oil into;

(iii) think about how you can protect your generator from rain; you can't really get these inverter/generators wet, so obviously I wasn't running it during the actual hurricane, but the next day there was a light rain, and I needed to find a way to cover it; I got lucky and used one of those big plastic kids' playhouses we have in the backyard; but think about how you would run the generator in a post-storm light rain (or, in my case, snow)

(iv) for those of you with room lighting embedded in the ceilings of your home, make sure you have adequate floor lamps and/or table lamps to provide you with lighting the rooms you want to light (I'd also recommend getting some 8 watt LED bulbs, to minimize the load on your generator dedicated to light bulbs);  and just generally, plan out ahead of time how and where you would run extension cords to accomplish what you want to power with the generator; also, go ahead and note the wattage requirements of the stuff you're thinking to run, and maybe write down each, so you can quickly evaluate the load you are plugging into the generator, and you can make informed trade-offs (e.g. "we'll unplug the fridge for a while and plug in that 600 watt space heater . . . ")

(v) I found it helpful to have one small 1 gallon gas can in addition to the larger 5 gallon cans; I'd inevitably spill some gas when pouring from a full 5 gallon can, and so instead of pouring directly from the 5 gallon can into the generator, I'd pour into the 1 gallon can, then I'd use that to fill the generator, reducing the risk of spilling on the generator

(vi) stock some oil of the appropriate type for your generator, they need relatively frequent oil changes

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2012, 10:28:37 PM »
Hopefully I will be picking up a honda eu2000 soon

From everything I hear, you will be very happy with a Honda eu2000; great choice as well.

Regarding washing clothes without power:  Back in my mother's day, there wasn't always an automatic washer available, so her family used a washboard and a tub with their homemade lye soap to clean their clothes.  Today's detergents are much more efficient, so you might consider this method while wearing rubber gloves.

Definitely a good idea, and I'm going to ask my mother-in-law who grew up in that environment; thanks for the reminder.  Ideally I will be able to find a redundant system for doing laundry that is a little less work during an outage like we had.

A few years ago we were seriously snowed in and getting low on gas for the generator. As noted,  siphoning gas isn't easy like in the movies. I ended up getting under the cars and finding the feed on the top of the gas tank. For our two old vehicles(1977 and 1988) it was then pretty easy. Our Jeep cherokee(1999) unfortunately has a skid plate that made getting to the gas tank impossible. So, look around under your cars or ask a mechanic who knows you.

Yeah, I'm going to experiment with some smaller sized tubing (like the size used for refrigerator ice makers) to see if I can get a siphon going that way.  I guess if I were desperate enough, I could try messing around with the car like that, but in my case I didn't want to risk damaging the vehicles I might need to bug out or get around.  I do wish I were more auto-mechanically educated, though; that's a skill I need to work on.

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2012, 10:36:11 PM »
Finally must add that you guys, all of you on these boards whose many posts I have read (regardless of whether I commented) and whose opinions and experiences I have learned from, were a big part of helping me prepare for this type of event.  And of course, Jack Spirko and Steven Harris.

THANK YOU!   :)

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2012, 10:39:52 PM »
Wondering if a bunch of candles would have been beneficial? They would provide light and heat in your situation.
The early bird gets the worm.....But the second mouse gets the cheese.

Offline livinitup0

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2012, 11:12:53 PM »
Wondering if a bunch of candles would have been beneficial? They would provide light and heat in your situation.

a bunch of candles with little ones running around is not good. It only takes one to get knocked over and start a fire.
I dont have a genny myself yet, so after halloween I took another poster's advice and got a bunch of those LED tea-light candles for a power outage situation. They were all black and orange for halloween...which made them like 75% off the day after halloween. They're a perfect lighting substitute for candles when theres kids running around, heck they can even play with them if they want to.

Offline soccer grannie

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2012, 11:41:12 PM »
Bring in the outdoor solar lights - no fire hazard. If you live in an apartment or place where you can't have outdoor solar lights, put them in a can or jar on the porch or balcony in the sunlight to charge.

You can also charge your own rechargeable batteries in outdoor solar lights when the power is out.

Offline carbon

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2012, 11:53:55 PM »
Thanks for sharing your experience. Will be adding some of your notes to my own list of things to make adjustments to.
I am working on a children's book on self-reliance  as part of my walk to freedom. Please check it out at:
www.theresilientchildbookproject.wordpress.com

Offline Meldrew

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2012, 02:56:33 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to write all that up.  Real-life experience is (fortunately) fairly rare and particularly valuable.  Glad you are all well. 

Offline Blain

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2012, 06:04:24 AM »
Cordovil,
I echo other members here in our appreciation of your posting. 
I'm sorry you and your family had to endure that experience.
Your addressing different prepping issues is golden information for the rest of us that haven't been "put to the test"... YET
Please keep this thread updated if or when you think of something else.
I'm also looking forward to Jack's next show with Steven Harris.   :D
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2012, 08:06:01 AM »
That was a good informative piece, Cordovil. Thanks for sharing it.