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Author Topic: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem  (Read 12023 times)

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2012, 08:22:55 AM »
Wow that gives me a lot to think about.  I am so glad you guys faired well.  Thank you so so very much for sharing.  Sandy more than anything else has really got me going over my preps with a fine tooth comb. 

A few things I was thinking about while reading.  Having new / unseen movies would be good for hubby too.  He hates reruns  ;)  Also maybe recording regular programing off the TV might be a cheap way to get entertainment for kids. 

Drafty house maybe having some shrink plastic or any plastic to cover windows with or extra wool blankets to put on the windows at night?  Hanging a blanket over a door way to help keep heat in one room.  Having a small tent you can pitch keeps you warmer at night.  Or building a fort by pulling the couch out away from the wall and throwing a blanket over the top fort style could help too.  Those are things we have done in the past when the kids were little.    Even now when we loose power we shut the house up the best we can with an open floor plan and just live in one room.  Go down to auto camping mode. 

If it was to bad for the kids to play outside we would push the furnishings out of the way the best we could in an unused room.  That is where the "play yard" was.    In the back of the house you could see your breath but in the living area we were roasty toasty.   I also always kept the ingredients for making play dough on hand.

As the kids got older I had the makings of bird feeders bird houses & waterers ready to go (mostly all pre cut) .  They could build them fill them then take them outside to help the birds out.  Each kid would have a "power outage project box"  I tried to keep it full of different things they could do and make.  They could only have it during a power outage.  They were allowed to put things into it books comics toys pine cones what ever they thought they would like to do that was low mess fun and easy.  Worked out pretty good.  We had different things from needle work crochet car building model kits wood working leather works all kinds of different stuff.  Never the same.   I also had a box.  Full of needles thread buttons.  But only I called it the mending box ;)  With 3 boys in the house it was always full.  :o

I also found it helpful to have tons of baby wipes and 2 buckets of water that was saved for washing hands only.  One for washing the second for rinsing.   Only changed it once a day.  Then the rinse bucket became the wash bucket.   The wash bucket became flushing water.  As well as any other water that was used for washing dishes clothes & so on.

When we would use a regular lantern I had a hook in the ceiling and a chain to hang it on.  That would put out tons of light and give us heat.  Without the worry of the kids or dogs knocking it over.    Now times have changed and we have a wood stove a generator and the kids are grown.  Plus the power company has done massive work on the lines.  So we don't have the power failures that we use to. Knock on wood ( we are so due for a major storm or earthquake)   It use to be 1-2 a month from Dec to March.  Often over a week at a time.   

Thanks again for all your input. 

QUESTION:  Do you think after all this that more of your neighbors will start to prepare more.  Especially since they saw what you were capable of and how well you fared? 

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Offline Adam B.

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2012, 09:55:06 AM »
Regarding the internet capabilities in a grid down scenario…



I am having REALLY good luck using one of these devices — a 4G mobile hotspot that costs $50/month for unlimited bandwidth use. It charges with a standard micro USB cable, and the battery itself lasts for hours. It replaces your wifi router and cable modem, this little box is all you need.

You can also use most smart phones in the same way but the cell phone companies will GOUGE you in fees (right now, maybe not in the future) for doing so. Most cell phones can be tethered with a micro USB cable to your computer for FREE though (but you will need to set this up and install the appropriate plug-ins and software BEFORE you lose your internet.

I completely cut the cable cord and use that little box for my household internet needs — and I can take it with me.

It will not work if you live outside of good coverage areas, and since it uses the same 4G network as Sprint — even though I have "device redundancy" and could use my cell phone / USB cable in the event this box isn't working, if the network itself goes down, then so do both of my devices.

It is fast enough to stream HD movies on Netflix with NO issues (from my house). It is not as fast as a cable modem, and I still only suggest this for people who are tech-savvy, as I know some computer illiterate people who would hate this setup because of its "quirks" (that are nothing to someone who knows how to deal with them). The "quirks" involve mostly things like "Your Roku Box will need to be reset sometimes if the device is turned off or the battery goes dead on you."

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What I found difficult in cold weather was getting clothes dry

Absolutely get some of those "SHAM WOW" towells (the orange chamois towels that are highly absorbent). Take your clothes and roll them up in one of those towells to wick most of the moisture out of them, and then hang them with whatever method you can near an flowing air space or above a heater. They will dry MUCH faster. I use these when I go on long camping and backpacking trips and this helps a lot.

ALSO — in a grid down scenario, think about having synthetic wicking shirts and clothing intended for sports in your wardrobe, because even after washing, synthetics like "coolmax" and other names dry 100X faster than cotton. Not to mention cotton is almost useless for a survival situation other than sheer comfort!

I CONSTANTLY find brand new synthetic sports jerseys at the thrift stores for under $5 and have a drawer FULL of them in every color now as I have picked them up over the years for sports. They last MUCH MUCH longer than cotton T-shirts as well.

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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.

Since you don't wash cast iron cookware when you are finished with it, but instead wipe it down with a rag — it is indispensable for camping and grid-down situations like that. Not to mention, I really do not cook on any other type of cookware anymore to begin with.

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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 . .

ONE WORD — GOJO!!! I picked up a HUGE HUGE bottle of "GoJo" mechanic soap with pumice from Sam's Club almost 18 years ago and I AM STILL USIING THE SAME BOTTLE. This thing is at least a gallon if not more, and has a plastic scrub brush on the side. It has a pump at the top and one, MAYBE 2 squirts is all it takes to get ANYTHING off your hands. We relied on this stuff at the bike shops I used to work at. The only thing you need water for after rubbing that all over your hands is to get the soap off.

LAVA soap you can get at the grocery store works great in a punch but not nearly as good as GoJo.

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Wondering if a bunch of candles would have been beneficial? They would provide light and heat in your situation.

One of the cheapest places I have found candles (you can buy them by the box) is ironically IKEA. There aren't many of those stores in the U.S. but I am thinking of stopping in someday soon just to re-stock my candle supplies. I am quite certain the last time I bought large amounts of candles at IKEA they were cheaper than packs of them are at the Dollar Store (per candle). They also seem to burn longer than the dollar store candles.

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

Awesome suggestion. Makes me want to have a few in my camping gear box for the same purpose (and extra light of course).

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I also found it helpful to have tons of baby wipes and 2 buckets of water that was saved for washing hands only.

I never take regular "TP" camping anymore, I swear by baby wipes to keep "my special area" clean during extended camping trips, backpacking, etc.




Regarding all of the talk about lighting options…

http://www.rei.com/product/807909/black-diamond-apollo-lantern

I had $60 in dividends from REI one summer to spend and spent over an HOUR walking around, trying to find something I wanted, or didn't already have — with NO LUCK…

So I picked up one of these, thought it was "kinda cool" and "gimicky" and something I would NEVER have purchased with money out of my paycheck (I basically use my REI dividend like a gift card and have fun with it).

ANYWAY — this LED lantern has ended up being one of the ABSOLUTELY MOST USEFUL THINGS I have ever purchased. I cannot even count the number of times this thing comes in handy. The MEDIUM SIZE one is the one you want. It runs off 4AA batteries and you can get a whole night off a set of batteries.

It collapses small enough to take backpacking (I take it on backpacking trips a lot) — yet expands and the legs flip out allowing it to stand on most uneven surfaces with no problem. It also has "hooks" at the top to hang it from the top of a tent etc.

It provides enough light for me to set up a tent in the dark of night — and I used it to light my bathroom to take showers etc recently when my circuit breaker was having issues (bad wire) and I did not have time to troubleshoot it for a few weeks. THAT LIGHT actually made me LAZIER about fixing the circuit breaker because it was bright enough for me to shower and get ready in my bathroom at night without much hassle.

It may not have the long term efficiency of kerosene lamps (with a 5 gallon kerosene can to go with it), but with rechargeable AA batteries and a method to charge them, you could get a lot of use out of one of these.
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Offline rikkrack

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2012, 10:41:17 AM »
 :popcorn: just tagged to keep up on new postings. Great posts to all.
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Offline idelphic

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2012, 12:14:50 PM »
Something to maybe consider as far as recharging AA and even AAA batteries is this setup.  For something about the same size as my Kindle and Kindle fire, you get more power then you will with simple outdoor solar lights.

Don't get me wrong, the outdoor solar lights do very much serve a need.  But this setup will allow you to recharge more then just the lights.  it would keep my cell phone, Adam B. wifi hot spot and AA batteries going for a good while. The output wattage is more then you'll find with any of the outdoor lights.
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Offline Adam B.

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2012, 01:03:00 PM »
I've been thinking about getting a solar charger with adapters etc one of these days if I find a ridiculously good deal on one. Never really thought about going DIY — but definitely something to consider.

I do have this cheapo dynamo / solar powered Flashlight I picked up a long time ago with a USB port. I have never really put it to the test other than it was able to keep my cell phone from going dead once in a situation — however I decided to play with it on a long multi-day bike ride and found out that the solar panel is not powerful enough to even put a charge on my cell phone, and sitting on a camp chair cranking the hand-crank dynamo was NOT powerful enough to keep my cell phone from dying (but did prolong the inevitable for a little bit of time, but sucked that I had to spend half an hour cranking a dynamo) — I think I ended up burning out the dynamo in the process as it probably was not intended to be cranked continuously for a half hour!

I always take it backpacking because I know I can use it to make an emergency call if necessary (and have a signal) — but certainly looking into something better for the future!
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Offline idelphic

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2012, 01:47:05 PM »
I've been thinking about getting a solar charger with adapters etc one of these days if I find a ridiculously good deal on one. Never really thought about going DIY — but definitely something to consider.

I do have this cheapo dynamo / solar powered Flashlight I picked up a long time ago with a USB port. I have never really put it to the test other than it was able to keep my cell phone from going dead once in a situation — however I decided to play with it on a long multi-day bike ride and found out that the solar panel is not powerful enough to even put a charge on my cell phone, and sitting on a camp chair cranking the hand-crank dynamo was NOT powerful enough to keep my cell phone from dying (but did prolong the inevitable for a little bit of time, but sucked that I had to spend half an hour cranking a dynamo) — I think I ended up burning out the dynamo in the process as it probably was not intended to be cranked continuously for a half hour!

I always take it backpacking because I know I can use it to make an emergency call if necessary (and have a signal) — but certainly looking into something better for the future!

Biggest part of the dynamo gadget is the energy YOU have to expend to get them to work, and most times you'll melt the internal gears before it amounts to anything...

The kit I linked to is pretty simple, and one I would he happy to build for someone... I'ts pretty straight forward and easy...  You'll get more out of it they a dynamo too.. IMO.
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Offline Adam B.

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2012, 02:37:29 PM »
Yeah, I know all about that...

This is getting off-topic but Nokia makes a bicycle dynamo like the ones for powering lights, and with a micro-USB adapter they sell can be used to keep your cell phone / other devices charged too. Supposedly it works pretty good.

So I guess in a grid-down situation, you can handlebar mount your iphone, android, or kindle — and get your exercise hooked up to a stationary trainer and charge your devices at the same time!

On a funny side-note, I have seen people take electric motors and reverse-them into generators by setting them up on a bicycle stationary trainer. They used to have one at the science museum here with a bunch of incandescent light bulbs hooked up to show you just how difficult it is to provide any real electricity via pedal power... BUT — with today's low-draw bulbs and off-grid battery banks, I wonder...

I think this solar charger project would definitely be something for me to consider next spring and summer when the sun actually makes an appearance in my otherwise cloudy city!
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Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2012, 03:30:44 PM »
Each kid would have a "power outage project box"  I tried to keep it full of different things they could do and make.  They could only have it during a power outage.  They were allowed to put things into it books comics toys pine cones what ever they thought they would like to do that was low mess fun and easy.  Worked out pretty good.

Thanks for those ideas, Roundabouts -- I especially like the idea of a "power outage box" for the kids, with more in it than just new DVDs.  I am going to look into putting something like that together.  Coloring books, books, maybe a new toy, and some new DVDs, stuff like that.

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QUESTION:  Do you think after all this that more of your neighbors will start to prepare more.  Especially since they saw what you were capable of and how well you fared?

Yes, I think so.  At least to some degree.

I have already heard talk that some of them are picking up generators/inverters, which was a big thing that I had that most of my immediate neighbors didn't.  I know at least one of them has since bought a kerosene heater, and another is looking to pick up a propane heater.

To be honest, I didn't really disclose the depths of our food preps yet, although I might.  There really was a sense of panic in the air, at least in the initial days, and while we had friends and neighbors over for lunch dinner (they frequently brought over things from their fridges that we cooked first, so it was still shared food), I didn't reference our long-term food preps because I wasn't sure how things were going to play out.   Maybe it is cynical, but just in case I wanted to be able to assist them on my own terms, without becoming a target as "the guy with half a ton of canned food in his basement". 

Several have inquired as to whether I figured out a way to siphon gas from my car (I told them I'm still working on a few experiments) so I know at least some are thinking about fuel etc. 

Maybe I will try to keep our Sandy-discussions going over time, and see if I can use this experience to start building a more prepared nucleus in my immediate area.  I'm not sure, however, whether all of them really "get it" yet. 

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2012, 04:13:38 PM »
Even if just 1 or 2 of them start to prepare by getting generators that is a huge start!  I have found that it takes time to really "get it"  there are a lot of dots to connect.   ;)  At least you have a huge advantage for bringing up conversations.  SHARED EXPERIENCE.  The seeds have been planted.   :clap: 
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Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2012, 06:40:10 PM »
Regarding the internet capabilities in a grid down scenario…



I am having REALLY good luck using one of these devices — a 4G mobile hotspot that costs $50/month for unlimited bandwidth use. It charges with a standard micro USB cable, and the battery itself lasts for hours. It replaces your wifi router and cable modem, this little box is all you need.

Thanks, Adam.  That 4G mobile hotspot is interesting.  I have to investigate how the 4G network around here fared during Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

I know that I have a basic prepaid ATT phone (because I don't use a cell phone much), and ATT's network was pretty useless for the first week after the hurricane.  My Blackberry (from work) seemed to do OK.  My wife's Verizon was OK, more or less.  Maybe there's a lesson there for diversity in one's cellular devices.

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2012, 06:53:37 PM »
Another couple of thoughts came to mind today:

- Our youngest child is 4 months old.  My wife is nursing him, as she did with our other two children (ages 2 and 5).  In the division of labor in our family, my wife exclusively handles the baby feedings.  However, I need to pay more attention to what's going on (i.e. ask) because I had not realized that my wife has apparently been forced to supplement with formula because the little guy wants to eat more than she can give him.  I knew we had some formula in the house, but I thought using formula was a once-in-a-while type of thing; it turns out it is becoming a daily necessity.  I did not realize this in time to add it to our preps.  And for at least 4 days or so, it was impossible to get to any of the stores in our area, and I suspect any place that was still open would have been sold out.

Luckily, we had enough to last until I found a store that had formula about a week after the storm.

But it also got me to thinking, god forbid something happen to my wife during some kind of disaster; I wouldn't have been able to feed the baby, at least not what he was used to eating.  So I should have been stocking at least some powdered baby formula even if my wife was 100% nursing him.  It's the baby's food prep, in case fresh isn't available. 

Another lesson learned for me.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2012, 07:16:13 PM »
My sister and her family live in eastern Central NJ.   She and I have been comparing notes on recovering from the storm.   

She did not have a generator and is now planning on buying one.   She did manage to get an inverter and couple of car batteries so she could keep my nephew’s nebulizer running. 

Now that my nephews are old enough to be around candles my sister discovered she didn’t have any.   Off to the big box store to get some 2 days before the storm.  The candle section was completely sold out.    She found unity candles in the wedding section and now has an amazing collection of white candles with sparkles on them.   

She used the ThermaCare patches to warm up the boys beds at night so they could sleep.  She stuck it to the inside of a pillowcase so the boys wouldn’t have direct contact and couldn’t easily toss them off the bed while sleeping.  They were easy to find in the stores after the storm. 
 
She wound up cooking for the next door neighbors who just came home from the hospital 2 days before the storm hit, with a brand new baby.  She did lose a lot of food but it could have been much worse if she didn’t know how to cook on just about anything. 

I also see a pressure canner, Mr Heater,  and more batteries on her Christmas list.

Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2012, 07:41:42 PM »
She used the ThermaCare patches to warm up the boys beds at night so they could sleep.  She stuck it to the inside of a pillowcase so the boys wouldn’t have direct contact and couldn’t easily toss them off the bed while sleeping.  They were easy to find in the stores after the storm.

Glad your sister made it through OK, Kate. 

The point above reminded me of something I wished I had, but did not -- a hot water bottle.  We could heat water on our natural gas stove, and I would have liked to have had some available to warm the beds at night.  I'm going to experiment with them this winter.  The ThermaCare patches is a neat idea.

Offline Freebirde

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2012, 07:45:22 PM »
The best source of cheap candles I have found is yard sales.    I take the big ones and trim them down to fit into containers, clean cans or heavy glass jars, and melt down the trimmings to pour around the thin ones.    When we were without electricity because of an ice storm, but still had gas heat and cooking, I made and remade candles several times.   I have even woven my own wicks from cotton thread.    Simplest way to make candles is to stick a short stub or even birthday cake candles in a used candle glass and fill with melted wax.   An activity box in itself.
A caution about using colman type lamps is that they are designed to be used outside and produce CO.
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Offline island1

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2012, 07:48:32 PM »
Excellent post!

 I like to mention that in the future, you may want to buy some clothing that's made from polypropylene fabric.
"Quick dry" as I called them....

I have a drawer full of polypro sport shirts, long johns, socks, and underclothes.
You can find the shirts, etc..on sale before seasonal changes. Also polypro blended with other fabrics will work too.
Just anything BUT cotton, which take forever to dry.

The polypro dries quick and they wash fairly easy with minimum water and detergent.
I used to travel with my "quick dries" and hand wash them in the tub with a travel size detergent. Wring them out with a bath towel and hang them dry.
By morning, they are ready to be packed away.
Worst case scenario if the item are not fully dry, you can use a hair dryer on LOW setting to dry it out.
Another idea I heard was a 5 gallon bucket,  detergent, and a good "soft rubber" toilet plunger (a plunger dedicated to this !! ) used to wash clothes. Just "plunge" the clothes vigorously and rinse. Works better than hand washing the usual way.

Actually tried it in my tub and it cleaned the laundry fairly well. With the polypro clothing, it does a very good job.

If I had a power outage ( My house is all "electric" only - water heater, HVAC ) I 'd do my laundry as described above just to make do.....
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Offline idelphic

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2012, 08:34:04 PM »
The best source of cheap candles I have found is yard sales.    I take the big ones and trim them down to fit into containers, clean cans or heavy glass jars, and melt down the trimmings to pour around the thin ones.    When we were without electricity because of an ice storm, but still had gas heat and cooking, I made and remade candles several times.   I have even woven my own wicks from cotton thread.    Simplest way to make candles is to stick a short stub or even birthday cake candles in a used candle glass and fill with melted wax.   An activity box in itself.
A caution about using colman type lamps is that they are designed to be used outside and produce CO.

You could forgo candles and go with using olive or vegetable oil and make simple oil lamps.  They work great in a pinch.. and most likely you have everything already..
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Offline Hootie

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2012, 10:09:47 PM »
+1 for the write up
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Offline Thomas Johnson

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #47 on: November 15, 2012, 04:10:08 AM »
Thanks for sharing! Some good info there! Hope that people will begin to be more open to prepping after Sandy! :)
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Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #48 on: November 15, 2012, 09:12:46 AM »
You could forgo candles and go with using olive or vegetable oil and make simple oil lamps.  They work great in a pinch.. and most likely you have everything already..

I have done this with olive oil and they work great.   Now is a good time to pick up a spool of wire core candle wick at crafts stores.  They all have 40% to 60% off a single item coupons in newspapers and online. 

Right after Christmas is a great time to pick up candles cheap.  There are clearance sales everywhere.

Offline rikkrack

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #49 on: November 15, 2012, 10:52:43 AM »
I get mine at goodwill. I go when tehy have 50% off sales or watch for the color of the day. I use them for firestarters mixed with wood pellets.

Keyring app for smartphones also has the coupons for craft stores.
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Offline GreekMan

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #50 on: November 18, 2012, 03:20:42 PM »
another solution for oil lamps is to get these



i do not knwo how to transalte them but they are used at Greek orthoodx churches oil candles.

they float and they ekkp the wick on the proper height
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #51 on: November 19, 2012, 11:17:23 AM »
another solution for oil lamps is to get these



i do not knwo how to transalte them but they are used at Greek orthoodx churches oil candles.

they float and they ekkp the wick on the proper height

I like these, so I did some google-fu and found these links for things that might work:
http://www.wickstore.com/products/floating-(cork)-wicks-for-religious-ceremonies__fc05100.aspx
http://www.violoum.gr/drupal-7.15/?q=node/79 (but these look like not easily purchased in the US)
http://www.stspress.com/products-page/hanging-lamps/cork-wick-float/
http://www.stspress.com/products-page/hanging-lamps/votive-light-wicks-115-wax-pieces-pack/ - but this site has higher shipping than cost of product

amazon was yeilding nothing.
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Offline Garandman

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2012, 01:16:13 PM »
    Mind if I "tag on" with a second hand Sandy report?

    A co-worker has relatives in Freeport, NY - the ocean side of southern Long Island. Their house is six miles from the open ocean although near a tidal inlet. The house has been there for many years and never been flooded, although they did get some water in their yard  last year during Hurricane Irene. They only evacuated the house for this storm because so many relatives nagged them that they decided to go inland, book a hotel and do some shopping. The hotel lost power but did not suffer any physical damage.

    At the height of the storm, there was four feet of water in the house. A large wave(s) came through (estimated 10'+) without being impeded by land and breakwater and stove in their second story windows, flooding the entire house in the process. The enterior of most homes is not very resistant to salt water intrusion....

    Their oil tank was broken off it's mounts and spilled the contents. When they returned the neighborhood was littered with oil and propane tanks.

  • My co-worker had previously purchased a good-sized 12V bilge pump at a marine store and a spare 12 V battery that fit his car.  This pump helped de-water the house when no one else around could do so. Might be a good solution for those of you with sump pumps and no power. They're available in sizes from 500 to 2000 gph.
  • He brought an 800 watt inverter ($50-75). This inverter was large enough to power an electric coffee pot. He wired the second battery in parallel with his car and was able to run the coffee pot, and a few other small electrical accessories for three days by running the car periodically to charge both batteries, using a 1/4 tank of fuel.
  • They used a Coleman camp stove for cooking. The one lb bottles were also sold out in the region in short order. I told my co-worker about the Coleman hose adapter to convert a 20lb can for camp stove use: he'd never heard of it and is going to get them one. He'd also never heard of the fittings to recharge a 1 lb can from a 20 lb can and is going to get one of those as well  - about $20.

  • The local cell towers were disabled by the storm. They had to drive 5-6 miles inland to get a cell signal to deal with insurance companies, relatives, contractors etc. Oftentimes these towers were overloaded with traffic and they could not get a connection.
  • They purchased two six gallon jerry cans in MA and filled them in CT. This was the most important contribution for the family because they had to drive 10 miles per cell phone call (see above) and also used the car to stay warm. There were no fuel cans within 100 miles of NYC and supply is short across the country from this one storm.

  • There are a number of electricians who live in the area,  and the power was turned on in the neighborhood after a few days. But the electricians could not get a supply of replacement or repair sockets, wiring and other run-of-the-mill electrical supplies - also sold out throughout the three state area. Basically they had power to two second floor wall sockets, but could not use anything else because of wiring and fuse box damage.


Offline Freebirde

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #54 on: November 19, 2012, 01:51:17 PM »
Another thing that would be good to get, and they are on sale this time of year, a turkey fryer.    Not just for frying, but cooking large pots of soup, stews, or chilli.    You can boil water for purification, cleaning, or preparing food or drinks that just need hot water.    Most large stock pots will work on them as well as larger pans.    If it does not have cross pieces to support the pan, put a small grill on them for smaller pots.
With all the new and different mistakes out there waiting to be made, why keep repeating the same ones?

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Offline Cordovil

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #55 on: November 19, 2012, 05:10:24 PM »
At the height of the storm, there was four feet of water in the house. A large wave(s) came through (estimated 10'+) without being impeded by land and breakwater and stove in their second story windows, flooding the entire house in the process. The enterior of most homes is not very resistant to salt water intrusion....

Their oil tank was broken off it's mounts and spilled the contents. When they returned the neighborhood was littered with oil and propane tanks.

Wow - that's some serious water damage that I am so fortunate we did not have to contend with.  I am glad they heeded the advice to evacuate from that area.

Quote
My co-worker had previously purchased a good-sized 12V bilge pump at a marine store and a spare 12 V battery that fit his car.  This pump helped de-water the house when no one else around could do so. Might be a good solution for those of you with sump pumps and no power. They're available in sizes from 500 to 2000 gph.

Great idea for anyone at risk of flooding.

Quote
He'd also never heard of the fittings to recharge a 1 lb can from a 20 lb can and is going to get one of those as well  - about $20.

When I first read about these, I thought it was a great idea, setting aside the cost, it just seems wasteful even to recycle those 1lb bottles, and it also seems much more convenient to store a few 20 lb tanks outside and refill 1lb bottles as needed.  But the more I looked into it, the more dangerous it seemed.  Those 1lb bottles were not meant to be refilled (I wish I could buy one that was meant to be refilled) and people have had problems ranging from leaking bottles post-refill, to even fatal explosions during refills.

So I'm just sounding a note of caution, anyone who is considering this please look into the risks and educate yourself before making a decision.

Quote
The local cell towers were disabled by the storm. They had to drive 5-6 miles inland to get a cell signal to deal with insurance companies, relatives, contractors etc. Oftentimes these towers were overloaded with traffic and they could not get a connection.

I had the same problem with my ATT service.  Reading your post made me remember Steven Harris' recent comment about duct taping your cell phone to a tall piece of wood, using a bluetooth headset to make a call . . . pretty simple idea I will have to give that a try next time. 

Quote
There were no fuel cans within 100 miles of NYC and supply is short across the country from this one storm.

Totally agree, I was under-prepared for gas storage, big time.  One thing I forgot to mention is that, like others, I did have to resort to temporary storage of gasoline in "non-approved" containers; in my case it was several empty "milk" gallon jugs, but they had previously been used for water not milk.  But one thing I did not do is try to show up at the gas station with my milk jugs.  Instead, I transferred gas from my approved-cans into the plastic jugs, stored them far away from the house and then took the empty gas cans for a refill.  And of course I worked on using up the milk jugs first.  Turns out I didn't need to make that gasoline run, and would have been fine using what I had, but I knew I was under-prepared and so I got nervous and stood in line with all the other shmucks.   :banghead:

Lessons learned!


Offline idelphic

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2012, 10:14:17 AM »
I have to share my opinion on the 1# propane tanks.. 

They are great to have for some things..  but to me it makes much more sense and better cost value to use a 10-40# propane tank.

My FIL looked at the adapter to fill a 1# tank he has just so he has something to solder pipe with..  but when he saw the $24.99 price tag, he rather balked the idea.  He commented that a 1# tank would last him the rest of his life with the amount of plumbing work he does.

The 1# tanks have a need.. but for me, they really have no place.  I have a old Coleman 2 burner Camp stove with the white gas tank,.. it's getting the converter bar and hose so I can use larger tanks...
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Offline ChEng

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #58 on: November 20, 2012, 08:07:35 PM »
I have to agree with a bunch of other posters: Great Post.  I loved the way you broke it down into areas of concentration and then did an AAR (After Action Review) for each area.  Nicely done.  It also gave me a lot to think about, and many ideas on improving my own preps.

Another +1 from me, for this.
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Offline GreekMan

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Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
« Reply #59 on: December 05, 2012, 05:41:22 AM »
I like these, so I did some google-fu and found these links for things that might work:
http://www.wickstore.com/products/floating-(cork)-wicks-for-religious-ceremonies__fc05100.aspx
http://www.violoum.gr/drupal-7.15/?q=node/79 (but these look like not easily purchased in the US)
http://www.stspress.com/products-page/hanging-lamps/cork-wick-float/
http://www.stspress.com/products-page/hanging-lamps/votive-light-wicks-115-wax-pieces-pack/ - but this site has higher shipping than cost of product

amazon was yeilding nothing.

Sorry for the late reply......I ahd forgottten about thia thread till now that I wanted soem bed tiemreading and tried to print it.

Do you want me to send you some? It will be no big deal
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