Author Topic: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)  (Read 11586 times)

Mom to 5

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Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« on: December 05, 2013, 09:15:37 AM »
Last year we were out of electricity for seven days due to inclement weather. Our home was among the final 10% to get our electricity turned back on. Our house is all electric, so we had no water or anything at all.

 Tonight we are getting freezing rain and are expecting more while the weather will be below freezing for five days. While I realize some areas get this more often, here it results in loss of electricity and no transportation. So, in light of that, how would you best prepare for five days stuck in a cold house with no water and no way to cook food?

We have a generator, but it had something not working about it, and honestly I have no faith that DH has figured out how to fix the generator. We have about ten gallons of store-bought purified water that would work to drink. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. I go out to get my son from school and will be getting animal food, so can stockpile anything then.

brewer12345

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 09:21:41 AM »
You will need lots of water.  IN a pinch, you can fill a bathtub, food grade plastic buckets etc.  You can also buy bottled water.

If you don't have a camp stove or simething similar to cook on, get one.  If using propane, make sure you have a covered outdoor area to use it.

Some way of producing light will be important.  An electric lanyern, lots of flashligts, kerosene lantern, etc.  Make sure you have fuel or batteries as ncessary.

Food should be shelf stable and easy to cook/heat.  Canned stews, etc. work well.

As for the generator, some of them are infamous for being sensitive to having enough motor oil in them before they will start.  The first thing I would do is check the oil level and make sure it is topped up on the high side.

Rural

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 09:43:49 AM »
In order to be able to use the toilets, I'd go with the pond water again and deal with the mold if it happens. You can also put a capful of bleach in each toilet tank load of water and likely prevent the mold. Bleach isn't great for a septic system, I know, but that small an amount won't hurt it (spoken from long experience).

Freeze bottles of water in your deep freezer now, if you can. If you lose power for only a day or two and don't open it up, your supplies will probably be okay. Don't forget to check as soon as the power comes back on so you know what you're dealing with.

Peanut butter sandwiches are your friend now. :)

You can warm cans of soup by opening them and setting them on a kerosene heater (if you don't have one, or some other backup heat option, you need one).

If you have two bathrooms, fill the tub in one and close it off to protect small children (you can drain the pipes once the power goes out, but better to keep the whole thing above freezing).

Don't forget to make provisions for your animals. They need liquid water if they're outside, and if you usually heat/thaw their water supply with electricity, you need a different plan.

Daley

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 09:55:42 AM »
Drinking water, store one gallon a person a day. Also, leave the faucets dripping if at all possible. Non-cook foods are also handy, sandwiches mostly. Peanut butter, cheese, cold cuts, etc. Refrigeration can be handled by the outdoors, keep a cooler buried in a snowbank. That said, warm food is always welcome which leads us to...

DIY sterno (one part rubbing alcohol and two parts food grade diatomaceous earth) and/or a hobo stove are good starts. A flower pot and tea light heater would also be a relatively safe, smart and cheap setup for some basic heat if you don't have a fireplace (more for smaller rooms)... and could again substitute out the sterno for the candles. As with all burning things, however, you will need to make sure you get at least some air circulation to prevent suffocation. If you have a working fireplace, use it as much as possible for heating and cooking if it's big enough.

Keep the feet, hands and head well bundled and warm if at all possible.

A hand crank LED lantern doesn't add any heat to the situation, but gives you an excuse for getting the muscles moving which will raise core temperature and will be the safest and likely brightest lighting available. Plenty of options are available at places like Walmart and Target over in camping supplies. Another consideration would be a hand-crank emergency radio. My best recommendation these days on that front is the Midland XT511 GMRS radio, and eventually learn how to use more than the emergency broadcast bands and get licensed. More thoughts on the subject here.

That should cover water, food, heat, cooking, light and communications. The last bit to address is cabin fever in these situations. 1000 piece puzzles (the cheapest I've found are at Big Lots for $5 a box), a couple decks of playing cards (don't buy speciality card decks like Uno or Skip Bo, learn to play Mau Mau instead - four full card decks will cover everything from traditional solitaire to pinochle to bridge) and a few board games like Parcheesi and Scrabble will help... as will books.

Edit: Also, hot water bottles can be valuable for added warmth at night when sleeping. And just in case, ABC fire extinguishers if you don't already have them, and perhaps a couple buckets of sand. Be safe and smart about how you use the fire, but don't leave it unattended and be prepared if it does get out of hand.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 10:02:53 AM by I.P. Daley »

TrMama

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 02:31:58 PM »
We used to deal with this sort of situation every winter.

Honestly, the toughest part for me was that the house would get dirty, and it takes way more work to clean without vacuums, washing machines, dishwashers, etc. While the power's still on, wash all the clothes you possibly can, vacuum, run the dishwasher, etc.

If your children are old enough not to drown in a bathtub, fill them now. You can use this water for flushing toilets and cleaning. If you have a top loading washing machine, you can also fill it up with cold water. Fill every container you have on hand with drinking water. Come up with a meal plan that uses up the food in the freezer. If any of this needs to be cooked, before it can be eaten, stick it in the oven now. Think cold roast beef, cold baked chicken, etc. Store the cooked food outside in a cooler.

Do you have a wood stove? If it has a flat top, you can use it to cook and heat water. Plan to have as many people as is safe/sane sleep in the room with the wood stove. The kids will think it's an adventure.

Have fun playing in the snow! I used to love being snowed in. It was fun to go outside and visit with the neighbours, since we were all stuck together.


ArtieStrongestInTheWorld

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 02:58:41 PM »
The general rule for water is a minimum of 2 gallons per person per day.  As IP Daley mentioned, this includes 1 gallon per person for drinking and 1 gallon for food prep and hygiene.  Based on your profile name, I'm assuming you have 7 people in your household?  For a week, you'd want to keep 98 gallons of water (7*2*7).  If you have the space, something like this from Costco might be worth it:

http://www.costco.com/Shelf-Reliance%C2%AE-Deluxe-BPA-Free-55-gallon-Barrel-Water-Storage-System.product.11766218.html

For cooking and food prep, rocket stoves are also great.  They're easily stored when you don't need them and use very little fuel:

http://www.amazon.com/Envirofit-G-3300-Rocket-Stove/dp/B005FFW04O

Good luck!
 

Abe

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 03:31:18 PM »
If you don't want to use a stove indoors (and the weather is too bad to use outdoors), cook a lot of beans and store in the freezer. They can just be warmed to room temperature to eat, and will last for at least a week if kept cold (preferably frozen). You can also buy beef jerky.

brewer12345

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 03:48:38 PM »
We have a grill that can be used, but standard cooking on there is something I haven't figured out. I guess I have to use cast iron? Pyrex broke on it last year.

The kids are so excited!

You'd be amazed at the stuff you can cook on a grill.  We take a half head of romaine lettuce, put a sheen of olive oil on it, grill it, and serve it with parmesan and pepper.  You can do a lot of stuff wrapped in tinfoil (hobo stew, sliced potatoes for oven fries, etc.).  Be creative.

Lil_Bit

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 04:42:45 PM »
Agree with all of the above, some really great ideas.

For cooking, I have used a Coleman Propane Camping Stove, it uses the smaller cylinders of propane.  You can definitely cook almost anything, heat up cans of vegetables, cook eggs, boil water for oatmeal, coffee, hot chocolate, etc.  These are available at Walmart, Academy, or any sports and outdoor stores.

http://www.coleman.com/product/perfectflow-2-burner-propane-stove/2000007502?contextCategory=2010

For lights, I also have an Ozark Battery-Operated Camping Lantern, it's bright and the batteries last a very long time.  It's similar to this one, but any brand will due:  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-20-LED-Rechargeable-Lantern-with-Lithium-Battery/20817848

Wishing you and your family the best.  Please stay safe.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 04:44:58 PM by Lil_Bit »

Russ

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 06:19:21 PM »
We have a grill that can be used, but standard cooking on there is something I haven't figured out. I guess I have to use cast iron? Pyrex broke on it last year.

Ceramics (including glass) don't do well with direct heat or big swings in temperature. Anything metal would be fine. If you use a pot or pan just watch the handles... they'll get hot from all the heat not being contained underneath as it would be on a stove. Or you could just grill everything. Anything can be cooked on a grill.

kimmarg

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 06:38:34 PM »
The Coleman propane stores are well worth it. They run around $30. I can literally cook anything I normally cook on it.

What do you have for heat? That is my biggest fear for a long power outage. We heat with propane fired baseboard hot water, and with no power there is no pump, furnace, etc. I figure we could go about 3 days. At that point we'd have to start draining pipes as I think they would freeze. Anyone have a good cheaper backup heat source? We have no fireplace. Would like to install a woodstove to lower heating costs/backup but that is not in budget right now..

Daley

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 07:23:07 PM »
The Coleman propane stores are well worth it. They run around $30. I can literally cook anything I normally cook on it.

I can do likewise with the beer can penny stoves linked above, and they're made out of nearly free scrap materials, cheap to run, and are safer to store. If you're handy and learn how to make them, they're an incredibly resourceful and frugal way to go... and so long as you can scrounge aluminum cans and alcohol, you'll always be able to cook.

Anyone have a good cheaper backup heat source?

The flower pot heater linked above does nicely. I can't remember who originally linked it in the forums here a couple months ago, but I dropped the $4 on the flower pots and tried it out. Amazing little thing when it gets going... the inner core will get above 250F, and the outer above 140F and can bump up the ambient temp in our 8'x10' room by close to 5F. It kicks off a surprisingly large amount of heat out the top for a good three plus hours on far less than 25 worth of candles. Cheap to build, reasonably cheap to run in a pinch, and works well to warm smaller spaces.

bogart

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2013, 09:21:18 PM »
Um ... tequila?

No, in all seriousness and besides what others have mentioned -- well, seriously, don't cook with propane in a closed, unvented space.  I live in ice-storm land too (not for the moment, touch wood), and when we have large, bad ones, it's not uncommon to read of a death or two from carbon monoxide poisoning when people use equipment designed for outdoor use to try to heat or cook in indoor spaces.  Don't do it. 

My car has a standard plug, the sort of thing you can plug a household appliance into.  I've gotten razzed about suggesting this elsewhere on the board (perhaps for good reason), but in a (true) pinch being able to plug e.g. an electric kettle into the car to get some boiling water is a nice alternative (I've never actually done this).  Besides it being an installed option (and really, what the heck?  Though I have actually used it to charge my tablet while driving), you can buy things that convert from a cigarette-lighter style plug -- the kind pretty much every US motor vehicle has -- to an outlet plug (plus the relevant conversion of the electrical output of course).  So that might be something useful to have, particularly if you do own e.g. an electric kettle and can use that as needed for tough times.

Beyond that:  I own a couple of Larry Lights (you can search on Amazon) which cost around $10, put out a phenomenal amount of light, and are pretty practical in that they have clips and powerful magnets making them easy to attach to things.  We also own a smallish Coleman LED lantern that's pretty useful.  For the kids, you might consider buying a container of glowsticks -- in bulk, they're pretty inexpensive and can be fun in the dark (we sometimes give one to my son when we're camping).  Not entirely environmental, I suppose, but a way to make an annoying/uncomfortable event more fun (especially if anyone's afraid of the dark).  I'd consider either some decent sleeping bags or down comforters or fleece blankets if you're concerned about keeping people warm, and of course snuggling together works wonders as do hot water bottles as mentioned above.  Obviously your call as to how much it makes sense to spend on these various things just to have them on hand, but if ice storms are a regular occurrence and with small kids, there's something to be said for being prepared.  Of course you may well not see this until it's too late to be useful this go 'round, but perhaps for planning ahead.

Daley

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2013, 09:49:03 PM »
My car has a standard plug, the sort of thing you can plug a household appliance into.  I've gotten razzed about suggesting this elsewhere on the board (perhaps for good reason), but in a (true) pinch being able to plug e.g. an electric kettle into the car to get some boiling water is a nice alternative (I've never actually done this).  Besides it being an installed option (and really, what the heck?  Though I have actually used it to charge my tablet while driving), you can buy things that convert from a cigarette-lighter style plug -- the kind pretty much every US motor vehicle has -- to an outlet plug (plus the relevant conversion of the electrical output of course).  So that might be something useful to have, particularly if you do own e.g. an electric kettle and can use that as needed for tough times.

Amperage draw for that sort of thing might exceed safety limits doing the full-on DC to AC inversion with household appliances. That said, there's actually a lot of 12VDC kettles and immersion elements for cheap.

Also, excellent point on the indoor propane cookers and carbon monoxide poisoning. Yet another reason to go with alcohol burners as they're considerably safer in close quarters... though, whenever open fire is ever involved, always appropriately ventilate.

Also forgot about another oldie but goody: one quart metal paint or coffee can, one roll toilet paper inside (sans cardboard tube) soaked in rubbing alcohol. Heat for hours. Just be aware that you can't really see the flames. Exercise caution as with anything else.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 09:53:09 PM by I.P. Daley »

Greg

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2013, 10:23:25 PM »
No, in all seriousness and besides what others have mentioned -- well, seriously, don't cook with propane in a closed, unvented space.

This is an unnecessary worry.  A propane camp stove burns cleaner than a gas cooktop on a household range.  People cook on gas cooktops all the time, I do.  Deaths due to CO poisoning are usually linked to outdoor grills used as a heat source (like left on all night) or unvented outdoor heaters used indoors.  The CO put out by a 1 or 2 burner Coleman campstove will not kill you in a normal house, if used just for cooking.   To be clear, do not use a gas stove or oven as a heat source for a living space.

The one thing I would encourage you to get is a corded phone if you have a land line.  Obviously cordless phones won't work when the power is out, but a corded phone most likely will as they use the power supplied in the phone line itself, usually about 50v.

No Name Guy

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2013, 10:08:18 AM »
There's a lot of good stuff in this thread already.  Here's my 2 cents. 

Where I'm coming from:  I'm a backpacker.  When the power goes out, I view it as camping in a large, wooden hard side tent where I don't have to move things to the woods.  I merely break out my backpacking and / or car camping equipment to cook / light with.  I eat as I would when in the field, which is easy since I usually draw my backpacking food from the pantry.

In your particular situation, here's what I'd suggest:

1)  At the next opportunity, take the generator in to have it serviced at your local dealer / small engine repair shop, or call a more mechanically inclined friend.  Get them to fix it, then tell you what was wrong.  Take care of that next time yourself.  Pay off friend (if that's the way you go) with home baked goods / nice home cooked meal / 6 pack of beer.  Be sure to keep 20 gallons of gas on hand (generators are useless without fuel).  Use fuel stabilizer in the gas cans and rotate the fuel every year or so - pour into the car, then refill can in lieu of the 5 gallons you just poured into the tank.  Use sticky notes / masking tape labels so you know when a gas can was filled and can keep track of the rotation.

2)  I'll second the Coleman type propane stove*.  Attach to one of the hoses from (3) below.

3)  For the stove and lantern (below), get yourself a "post" and hose set up that fits onto a 5 gallon / 20 lb refillable bulk cylinder you likely already have for your grill.  1-2 hoses, one post.  Google "propane tank post".  This type of equipment can be found at a Cabellas / Big 5 / Wallmart.  I have the Coleman 30 inch distribution tree.

4)  Get yourself a 2 mantle propane lantern, also at Cabellas / Big 5 / Wallmart.  Attach to the top of the post from (3).  This is both light (~200 watts incandescent equivalent) and a fair amount of heat.

5)  You can get an indoor safe propane heater.  Google "indoor propane heater".  Use one of the hoses from (3) to attach this to the bulk cylinder.

6)  In re the water situation.  Check out REI / MEC / EMS websites.  Go to their backpacking equipment section.  Go to the water filter / purifier section.  Look for one of the larger gravity type filters (bag to bag, with a filter in the line between the two).  You mentioned you have a pond you drew water from last year.  Is this pond totally gross (as in full of deer / duck shit and farm residues like pesticides or fertilizer or totally scummed over) - if not, then just filter water from the pond using the filter system you choose from REI / MEC / EMS.  You'll have an unlimited supply of drinking water.  The filter will take care of bacteria.  If you're worried about virus' (generally not a problem in North America), then 3 drops of typical bleach per gallon after filtering, mix and let it sit for an hour or so.  I have a creek ~1/2 mile from the house - if needed, I'd go there and draw all the "raw" water I needed and treat it at home using my standard backpacking methods.

The full set up for 2, 3 and 4 can be had for under $150.  6 - depends on what you choose, but I saw a fine system at REI for under $100.  5 is a luxury...although with small children, keeping the house above 50 is important.  You may also want to buy a 2nd 20 lb / 5 gallon bulk propane cylinder.  Use the one from the grill until it's empty, swap in the fresh full one, then go and fill the other one right away in typical usage.  That way you always have at least 20 lbs on hand, which should be enough for several days of heavy use, including the heater.


* - I led a volunteer trail crew into the Wilderness earlier this summer.  We ate like kings and queens using nothing more than a 2 burner propane stove and a cast iron Dutch Oven (DO for only some of the meals - others were 100% on the stove).  Lasagna, stew, fresh biscuits and dinner rolls, bacon / eggs, pancakes, etc - granted, the Lasagna was in the DO, but we could just as easily done spaghetti with canned / jarred sauce on the stove.   Our crew was 9, and we had a couple Forest Service folks with us for a few days as well - so feeding a family of 7 would be quite doable on a 2 burner stove.  We fed up to 11 adults doing hard physical labor.  We also had a couple gravity bag to bag type filters that easily supplied all our water for both cooking and drinking. 

Spork

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2013, 10:28:08 AM »
No, in all seriousness and besides what others have mentioned -- well, seriously, don't cook with propane in a closed, unvented space.

This is an unnecessary worry.  A propane camp stove burns cleaner than a gas cooktop on a household range.  People cook on gas cooktops all the time, I do.  Deaths due to CO poisoning are usually linked to outdoor grills used as a heat source (like left on all night) or unvented outdoor heaters used indoors.  The CO put out by a 1 or 2 burner Coleman campstove will not kill you in a normal house, if used just for cooking.   To be clear, do not use a gas stove or oven as a heat source for a living space.

The one thing I would encourage you to get is a corded phone if you have a land line.  Obviously cordless phones won't work when the power is out, but a corded phone most likely will as they use the power supplied in the phone line itself, usually about 50v.

I was going to say... there are lots of propane burning ovens/cooktops (and even refrigerators).  Both my broiler and my oven put out a pretty massive flame.  I've never heard a peep out of my CO detector that is just around the corner from it.

kimmarg

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2013, 03:09:55 PM »
The Coleman propane stores are well worth it. They run around $30. I can literally cook anything I normally cook on it.

I can do likewise with the beer can penny stoves linked above, and they're made out of nearly free scrap materials, cheap to run, and are safer to store. If you're handy and learn how to make them, they're an incredibly resourceful and frugal way to go... and so long as you can scrounge aluminum cans and alcohol, you'll always be able to cook.

true. I already own a propane stove from years of camping, so I'll leave it at that.
Anyone have a good cheaper backup heat source?

The flower pot heater linked above does nicely. I can't remember who originally linked it in the forums here a couple months ago, but I dropped the $4 on the flower pots and tried it out. Amazing little thing when it gets going... the inner core will get above 250F, and the outer above 140F and can bump up the ambient temp in our 8'x10' room by close to 5F. It kicks off a surprisingly large amount of heat out the top for a good three plus hours on far less than 25 worth of candles. Cheap to build, reasonably cheap to run in a pinch, and works well to warm smaller spaces.
[/quote]

I'll have to look into that. I was thinking more along the lines of the indoor propane heater that someone else mentioned.  I've got closer to 1200ft^2 that would need to be kept above freezing. Not worried about my own comfort, just pipes freezing. Ice Storm warnings are reminding me I need to get on it. I keep lights, food, water on hand at all times.

oldtoyota

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2013, 05:33:01 PM »
This used to happen to us all the time.

When I knew it was likely to happen, I got my bedroom as hot as possible. I turned on space heaters and got blankets ready. I made sure the storm windows were down (weather can go from 80F one day to 20F the next so we're constantly opening/closing storm windows to adjust).

I also start doing a lot of laundry in preparation for not having hot water.

You need a lot of water. At least a gallon per day per person. Remember you will need it to wash hands and brush teeth in addition to drinking. I have wanted to get water bricks for water storage, but I haven't done it yet. We have water stored in bottles, which is another sort of problem for the long term. The water bricks sure look convenient (and easy to move around).

I echo the sandwiches comment. Good idea. You can get canned turkey chili, canned pineapple, etc, etc. If this is a frequent problem, you might want to get MREs. They store well.

We have some small reading lights that work on AA batteries. I like it. It's a little thing but it puts out a lot of light and is better than a flashlight...more convenient if you want the luxury of reading at night. Headlamps might be another option.


brewer12345

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2013, 05:41:37 PM »
If this is a frequent problem, you might want to get MREs. They store well.

Heh, MREs. We keep some around, but it is amazing what you will find palatable when the alternative is an MRE.  Fortunately, they store well...

avonlea

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2013, 05:43:44 PM »
Hey, Mom to 5.  Do you have an update?  Warm wishes! (really)

brewer12345

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2013, 08:46:05 PM »
MRE = Meal Ready to Eat.  If you talk to military folks you will find other things these letters stand for (Meals Refused by the Enemy, Meals that Refuse to Exit, etc.).  These are US military issue field rations.  They are shelf stable for many years, have a ton of calories, and are easy to eat in challenging circumstances.  There are lots of variants available out there.  I have seen Halal versions for sale and we stock some vegetarian ones since one of my daughters is vegetarian and DW does not eat red meat.  While they aren't my favorite thing to eat, they serve a purpose.  I keep some in the basement, travel trailer, each car, my hiking pack.  In a pinch they are very sustaining food for when you might be really grateful for something to eat.

avonlea

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2013, 07:32:54 AM »
The electricity did NOT go out over the past few days! Yay!

Glad to hear that!

Capsu78

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2013, 10:02:27 AM »
I do not live in Hurricane country but I take a good tip from someone who has prepared for 10x more hurricanes than they were actually impacted by...  As soon as I see "severe weather" possible in the 5 day forcast, I start working my way through all the dirty laundry. 
The women in Florida commented that if a disruption happened, she would have plenty of other tasks to manage other than finding a working laundrymat.  If no disrution happened, she was caught up on the laundry.   Win Win!

Villanelle

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2013, 10:32:00 AM »
Seems like a bleach tablet tossed in the tank would prevent any toilet mold and would allow you to store less fresh water. 

Capsu78

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2013, 01:33:20 PM »
With severe weather heading our way for the next 4 days I activated my emergency plan this morning by running the dishwasher and firing up 2 loads of laundry!  One more to go.   Gassed up the vehicles as well.

Capsu78

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2013, 03:47:12 PM »
Also charging up all the electronic toys we have become addicted to. 

annaraven

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2013, 01:38:38 PM »
If you're concerned about using propane indoors, consider a butane burner. Those are the table-top things they use in many oriental restaurants. Rated for indoors. In any case, if you're using any gas appliances (even in "normal times"), you should have a CO monitor anyway.

In addition to storing water for your family, consider a way to purify it if you run out. Good old chlorine bleach (just plain unscented Clorox - NOT Clorox 2) is great for purifying water. Run it through a filter (paper coffee filters are helpful) to get any sediment out because the clearer the water, the better the chlorine works.  Also, warm water works better than cold. Use 1/8 tsp bleach per gallon of water. (Note, if you're storing water, you can get away with using a couple drops of bleach, but for *purifying* water, you need more.)
http://www.ready.gov/managing-water
Also remember that the "Brita" and "Pur" water filters are fine for using with tap water but are NOT safe for pool water or other "found" water sources. They are primarily for taste, not for safety. But they can help get other stuff out so the bleach works better.

happy

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2013, 03:55:46 PM »
Quote
Headlamps might be another option.

I just wanted to mention this again. Headlamps are much easier than trying to light a room.  They last quite a long time, but be sure to have a supply of batteries. You can get good light and it leaves your hands free to do your work.

Just wanted to encourage you to keep practicing and get your set-up and plan worked out. We used to get frequent blackouts, usually only up to a day and without your issues of severe cold or water loss. However it was pretty inconvenient due to the unpredictability.  Once I decided I needed a plan it was a snack, fun even.  Portable stove, lighting, head lamps, solar charging, windup radio, etc. I always keep the torch in a place where I could locate it by feel in case it was dark: once I had the torch I could get everything else. 


Villanelle

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2013, 10:50:17 AM »
They make wireless device rechargers.  Basically, you plug in this little device until it is charged, and then it holds a charge and can be used to charge cell phones, iPads, etc.  Number of charges you get will depend on the device you are charging and the capacity of the recharger you purchase.

It might be something nice to have if you are "addicted" to electronic devices. 

Mint Chip

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Re: Preparing for a Power Outage (no electricity or water)
« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2013, 01:02:43 PM »
You've received great advice!

Each year we get better and better with our per-storm prepping. If there's even a slight chance that we're going to lose our power, we fill the tub and large pots/pans/bowls with water (which is in addition to the several gallons of bottled water that we always have on hand), gas up the cars and generator, make sure we have charcoal for the grill, do the dishes and all laundry, figure out our next few meals based on what is currently in the fridge/freezer, stock up on paper plates and plastic utensils (this is key for us in an extended outage, b/c we have young kids), locate all headlamps and portable (indoor) lanterns and replace batteries if necessary, pay any online bills that are due within the next week or so, and make sure we have baby wipes available - they're great for "washing" hands and dirty kid-faces, and helps minimize water use.

We also have a wood stove which is AWESOME for power outages - it heats most of the house and is great for heating water, coffee, soup, chili, etc.

We're considering wiring the house for a generator. We currently use ours to keep only a few things going. A standby generator would be ideal.

We don't own an electric can opener so we always have an old-school manual one available. We don't have MREs but instead buy meat in bulk and almost always have some on hand. If the outage occurs in the winter, our meat, which is in the freezer in the garage, will be fine.

And we do try to make it fun for the kids, but it's really tough for everyone when there's no power and the sun sets at 4 pm!!!!

Good luck.