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Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Emergency Preparations => Topic started by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 02:50:47 PM

Title: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 02:50:47 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 03:07:08 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Saint-TyR on November 13, 2012, 03:13:24 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!
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 03:14:28 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 03:20:54 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 03:32:22 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: livinitup0 on November 13, 2012, 03:36:30 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?
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 03:40:31 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. 
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 03:44:32 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
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 03:55:00 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Bonnieblue2A on November 13, 2012, 04:03:45 PM
Out of curiosity, how long did your oil filled radiators retain their heat after the generator was turned off for the night?
Thanks.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 04:09:44 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 04:12:21 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: microdevil45 on November 13, 2012, 04:15:32 PM
Very good info.  I am glad you were able to have some form of modern life.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cedar on November 13, 2012, 04:27:54 PM
Excellent post. Thanks for sharing. +1

Cedar
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: meapplejak on November 13, 2012, 04:40:49 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
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: chickchoc on November 13, 2012, 05:15:44 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Frugal Upstate on November 13, 2012, 05:52:15 PM
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: MightyRunt on November 13, 2012, 06:28:16 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: frjoeb on November 13, 2012, 08:51:51 PM
Thanks for sharing this with us.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 09:20:58 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
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 09:28:37 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 13, 2012, 09:36:11 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!   :)
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: ncjeeper on November 13, 2012, 09:39:52 PM
Wondering if a bunch of candles would have been beneficial? They would provide light and heat in your situation.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: livinitup0 on November 13, 2012, 10:12:53 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: soccer grannie on November 13, 2012, 10:41:12 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: carbon on November 13, 2012, 10:53:55 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience. Will be adding some of your notes to my own list of things to make adjustments to.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Meldrew on November 14, 2012, 01:56:33 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. 
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Blain on November 14, 2012, 05:04:24 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
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Nicodemus on November 14, 2012, 07:06:01 AM
That was a good informative piece, Cordovil. Thanks for sharing it.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Roundabouts on November 14, 2012, 07:22:55 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? 

Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Adam Campbell on November 14, 2012, 08:55:06 AM
Regarding the internet capabilities in a grid down scenario…

(http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/02/07/DSC_7956_610x407.JPG)

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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: rikkrack on November 14, 2012, 09:41:17 AM
 :popcorn: just tagged to keep up on new postings. Great posts to all.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: idelphic on November 14, 2012, 11:14:50 AM
Something to maybe consider as far as recharging AA and even AAA batteries is this setup (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=32720.msg364117#msg364117).  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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Adam Campbell on November 14, 2012, 12:03:00 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!
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: idelphic on November 14, 2012, 12:47:05 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Adam Campbell on November 14, 2012, 01:37:29 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!
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 14, 2012, 02:30:44 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.

Quote
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. 
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Roundabouts on November 14, 2012, 03:13:38 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: 
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 14, 2012, 05:40:10 PM
Regarding the internet capabilities in a grid down scenario…

(http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/02/07/DSC_7956_610x407.JPG)

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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 14, 2012, 05:53:37 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: PorcupineKate on November 14, 2012, 06:16:13 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 14, 2012, 06:41:42 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Freebirde on November 14, 2012, 06:45:22 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: island1 on November 14, 2012, 06:48:32 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.....
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: idelphic on November 14, 2012, 07:34:04 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 (http://pinterest.com/search/?q=olive+oil+lamp).  They work great in a pinch.. and most likely you have everything already..
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Hootie on November 14, 2012, 09:09:47 PM
+1 for the write up
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Thomas Johnson on November 15, 2012, 03:10:08 AM
Thanks for sharing! Some good info there! Hope that people will begin to be more open to prepping after Sandy! :)
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: PorcupineKate on November 15, 2012, 08:12:46 AM
You could forgo candles and go with using olive or vegetable oil and make simple oil lamps (http://pinterest.com/search/?q=olive+oil+lamp).  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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: rikkrack on November 15, 2012, 09:52:43 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Greekman on November 18, 2012, 02:20:42 PM
another solution for oil lamps is to get these

(http://www.theosynergia.com/out10/images/large/sample2.jpg)

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
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 19, 2012, 10:17:23 AM
another solution for oil lamps is to get these

(http://www.theosynergia.com/out10/images/large/sample2.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Garandman on November 19, 2012, 12:16:13 PM
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: mj1angier on November 19, 2012, 12:18:04 PM
To transfer fuel get [http://www.amazon.com/3-8-Fuel-Primer-Bulb/dp/B000KKW04E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353352568&sr=8-2&keywords=fuel+bulb (http://www.amazon.com/3-8-Fuel-Primer-Bulb/dp/B000KKW04E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353352568&sr=8-2&keywords=fuel+bulb) and 10 ft of http://www.amazon.com/HBD-Industries-24088-Fuel-Line/dp/B000KKHNZU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353352649&sr=8-1&keywords=3%2F8+fuel+line (http://www.amazon.com/HBD-Industries-24088-Fuel-Line/dp/B000KKHNZU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353352649&sr=8-1&keywords=3%2F8+fuel+line)
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Freebirde on November 19, 2012, 12:51:17 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Cordovil on November 19, 2012, 04:10:24 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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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!
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: LibertyBelle on November 19, 2012, 09:26:54 PM
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
amazon was yeilding nothing.

Amazon carries them
http://www.amazon.com/50-Pack-Round-Floating-Wicks/dp/B001QS2CNI

These are the ones we usually get:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-10-Packs-Floating-OIL-WICKS-Hanukkah-Shabbos-Shabbat-Jewish-Menorah-Candles-/360493941296?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53ef1d0230#shId
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: idelphic on November 20, 2012, 09:14:17 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...
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: ChEng on November 20, 2012, 07:07:35 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.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Greekman on December 05, 2012, 04:41:22 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
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: TorontoGrl on December 05, 2012, 06:21:23 AM
Cordovil, thanks so much for sharing your Sandy experience, I was always on the fence when it came to generators, now I'm looking at the small try-fuel yamahas and hondas.  We're in a large city, almost in the centre and have 2 small kids, this is really helpful.
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: bcksknr on December 05, 2012, 07:12:21 AM
We have been into the"Buckskinning" hobby for many years. It's basically like camping only your recreating the lifestyle of the 1800-1840 Fur Trade era time period. Ideally there should be nothing in camp that would have been in use before 1840. This pretty much puts you in the same situation as a modern blackout. Of course, there have to be some compromises made for health and safety. We have some very efficient coolers for food (that are disguised as bundles of trade goods). We also cook and heat water on a wood fire or a lump charcoal brazier box. A while back I made a canvas shower enclosure that we pitch behind our lodge. I had found a battery powered shower pump for camping at Gander Mountain outfitters. After a couple of days in the summer a hot shower is really needed. We heat a bucket of hot water on the brazier, move the bucket to the enclosure, drop in the pump and enjoy a shower. I've recently picked up a 12v. bilge (boat) pump at Harbor Freight that is more robust and I'm making it into a shower unit. I have a couple of smaller motorcycle sealed batteries for running stuff like this. I also have a couple of large deep cycle boat batteries for running 12v volt items. So even if you have running water, but no hot running water, you can still get clean heating water on a kitchen gas stove or propane campstove. Its just another option. If we ever have to evacuate our home, our lodge and rendezvous setup will go with us. (http://i1146.photobucket.com/albums/o529/bcksknr/IMG_0009.jpg).
I would also think that a deep cycle boat battery would keep low wattage 12v LED lights on for a long time. You could recharge from your genny during the day. I have also placed LED yard lights (minus the stake) on window sills around the house as a test and they charge nicely during the day and provide plenty of "nightlight" all night long. I'm glad your family came through the disaster safe and sound; good work!
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: LvsChant on December 05, 2012, 08:02:35 AM
I'd say you all did very well, Cordovil... Thanks for sharing +1
Title: Re: A Novice Prepper Meets Hurricane Sandy: my post-mortem
Post by: Eriko on December 05, 2012, 01:55:55 PM
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.

Hubby & I made on of these during the sandy outage. Worked great. Right after we wrung out the last piece of clothing & hung it up, our power was restored!  :o
But now we have a manual clothes washer already made.
-Eriko