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Author Topic: lessons learned from being without electricity  (Read 501 times)

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Offline Amisheggpicker

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lessons learned from being without electricity
« on: September 11, 2011, 08:12:01 PM »
Here is a compilation of things learned from being without electricity on many occasions throughout the years...

1.  If you live rurally, as a general rule of thumb, expect to be without electricity for a longer period of time then your city counterparts.

2.  Always have a supply of water on hand.

3.  Have a wind up alarm clock or an alarm clock that is hooked up to some sort of source that can keep your alarm clock charged.

4.  Have several sources for cooking food.

5.  Have several sources of heat, especially if you depend on electricity for heat.

6.  Have several sources of lighting.

7.  Store extra gas, the pumps will usually be down...and if it's a wide spread outage, if the pumps are on, the lines at the pumps will be long...(imagine what's its like when you do live rurally and there are only a few gas stations)

8.  Generators are noisy, and attract attention....in D.C. when the power was out from Irene, my daughters neighbor shared his generator, but you paid with gasoline....another reason to have extra gas on hand.

9.  Generators are made to be supplemental...not run on a continuous basis for a long period of time....they will wear out, and the generators at the store will be GONE....and if you're a mechanic and can fix your generator, you will need gas to get to the store...that is if the store is still open...(lesson learned when hurricane Ike went through and my workplace DEPENDED on generators.)  Also, you should routinely do a dry run with your generator....a lot of folks found they couldn't get theirs to run, or had no gas,  one person even died because he didn't have it ventilated....DON"T run it in your house or basement...

10.  Know the basics of canning and have the proper equipment on hand to can....Most food items in a freezer will keep 3 days without electricity.  If you keep the door shut...cover it with blankets and cardboard to help insulate it...the food is good as long as it still has ice crystals on it....after 3 days, you need to do something with the food....this is where canning comes in....and also where having an alternate cooking source come in....After working in the restaurant business for years, we had a plan when the electric went out....the first thing to do, was cover all the doors on the walk in coolers with cardboard....During Hurricane Ike, my restaurant lost 11,000 dollars in 1 day, because  they could not keep the food items that were in the cooler after 24 hours...but I lucked out...the food was good, and I took it home and canned it...Many folks lost the contents of their freezers because they did not know what to do...don't depend on buying ice...that goes quickly also....

11.. All condiments and such should be in small jars, this way, your food lose will be kept to a minimum...have a hand can opener handy.  Canned food can be directly heated in the can, as long as you have the lid opened...and eaten directly out of the can....they can also be eaten cold.

12.  have all sources of light in a handy place.  You might even consider placing a small piece of glow in the dark tape at the spot where you have your items.  This way you can find them in the dark.  We keep a flash right on the bed stand...flashlights should be in a visible place in several locations through out the house..  If you have oil or kerosene lamps...these should be kept filled with oil and have the wick or mantle already in place....same with lighters....keep one in the same place you have your lamps....its doesn't need to be gaudy....I keep two large oil lamps above the fireplace on the mantle...and in a small stand I have lighters.  as soon as the lights go out, I can readily light the lamps...and they put off a nice amount of light....

13.  If you can stay put...do so...doesn't need explanation.

14.  I don't know how it is in the city...but around here, if your electric goes out its your responsibility to report the outage...you need to have your map number when you report the outage.  I keep the map number and the telephone number for the outage on my cell phone.  Also it is written down and kept in a place for emergency numbers.  You don't want to be scrambling in the dark looking for these numbers.

15.  Keep a small solar charger for cell phones etc....this comes in handy, because we have never been out of cell phone service (we no longer carry a land line) but are frequently out of electricity. I'm not saying we'll never be without phone service...its just we haven't been out yet!  But even if we do, I still have important numbers on that phone that I can access, if needed...

16.  Very important to keep fire extinguishers through out the house.  especially one in the bedroom...if you're using lamps etc.  good thing to have on hand....

17.  have your first aid kit handy....you might be doing things that your not used to...lighting lamps, charcoal, burners, etc....your first aid kit needs to be in a readily accessible place.

18.  All adult and teenage members of your household, should know how to turn off certain things....gas valves, the electric boxes etc....teach them the safety rules that apply and WHEN to turn them off....there are times that they should NOT be turned off...




Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.

Offline Dale00

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Re: lessons learned from being without electricity
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2011, 09:44:59 PM »
You've put together a useful, comprehensive list of things to consider when preparing for an electrical outage.

Under 5, I'd add, "Absolutely no charcoal use indoors. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is too great."

Under 6, I would put in a recommendation for LEDs. They greatly extend battery life and LED headlamps are great for leaving your hands free for work. Red LEDs should be considered when it is important to preserve your night vision.
"Test everything. Hold onto the good." 1 Thes 5:21


Offline Suburban

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Re: lessons learned from being without electricity
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 12:10:20 AM »
Great post.  Thanks!

Have a wind up alarm clock or an alarm clock that is hooked up to some sort of source that can keep your alarm clock charged.

I have found that when I travel my cell phone is the most reliable way to get awake at the right time.  The same would be true at home during a power outage.  At home my cell phone is on my nightstand getting charged from the same solar electric setup that powers my CPAP.  After two power outages at night (when you don't want to run a generator) in three months, I found a very inexpensive 55 watt solar electric system at Costco.  It is great never having to worry about power loss at night again.

Have several sources of lighting.

As was mentioned, LED flashlights and headlights are wonderful, and the modern versions with CREE LEDs are amazingly bright and use little power from the batteries.  The headlights we use also have red LEDs for night use.  It saves the night vision, and makes the batteries last many time longer.

For flashlights other than those in regular use, either don't leave batteries in them, or use Lithium batteries which do not leak.  For certain flashlights I use EverReady Ultimate Lithium AA cells.  They have a 15 year shelf life, work much better in the cold than common alkaline cells, store more power than alkaline cells, and are lighter weight.  The only down side is higher cost.  For certain applications such as a first aid kit flashlight I am willing to spend the extra money to have a light that is ready to grab and use.

Store extra gas, the pumps will usually be down

Don't forget that every vehicle you own has a gas tank, which if full can be a source of emergency gas.  We have a large vehicle that is only used a few times a year, but is always kept full of fuel.  Of course our daily commute vehicles are also never allowed to go below 1/2 tank.

If you plan to do this, have a siphon, try using it, and have a few gas cans to siphon gas into before you pour it into the generator tank.

Generators are noisy, and attract attention

If you can afford them, the latest Honda inverter generators like the EU6500iS are amazingly quiet.  I did not want to spend $4000 for that generator, but I found a used Honda ES6500.  This was the generation before Honda went inverter.  It is quieter than my old Coleman generator, and built amazingly well.  Firms that rent generators use these, so they are built to take near continuous use.

Generators are made to be supplemental...not run on a continuous basis for a long period of time

That was true of my Coleman, but I use only synthetic small engine oil in it, and keep the air filter clean (or replaced), and it is still working great after 12 years of use.  My used Honda ES6500 is built much better.  It has a two cylinder engine with an oil filter (almost no portable generators have oil filters), foam and paper air filter, fuel filter, and a liquid cooled engine with a fan cooled radiator.

With two generators I now have a backup.

you should routinely do a dry run with your generator

A true dry run will include trying to power everything you would need to power in an emergency.  If you don't test stuff, don't expect it to work when you really need it.

Know the basics of canning and have the proper equipment on hand to can

Again do at least a little canning so you know everything works and that you know how to use it.  Have enough canning jars and lids to can the contents of your freezers.  Make sure you do your test canning on a stove that does not require electricity.  I use a Coleman dual fuel camp stove and it works great.

have a hand can opener handy

We own several Swing-A-Way brand hand can openers.  They work great (a lot better than most), last for many years, and are relatively inexpensive.  The last couple we bought came from Restaurant Depot.




Offline BooMushroom

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Re: lessons learned from being without electricity
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011, 01:20:17 AM »
We own several Swing-A-Way brand hand can openers.  They work great (a lot better than most), last for many years, and are relatively inexpensive.  The last couple we bought came from Restaurant Depot.


There are few things in life of which I insist on having a particular brand.  Swing-A-Way can openers are one of them.


 

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