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    Profile photo of johnnymac

    Amanda’s post about the 2003 Northeast Blackout reminded me of a similar situation that occurred following the 2012 Derecho (straight line wind-storm) as well as prelude to a couple of Tropical Storms/ Hurricanes. Here’s a quick “lessons learned”:

    1. Never let any of your vehicles fuel tanks drop below 1/2 tank

    2. If you can do it safely, store 5-10 gallons of gas (mine is for one of my generators, or vehicles if necessary)

    3. Test any generator you have, under load, at least once every three months.

    4. A portable, roll-around room air-conditioner can be run from a relatively small generator, and can create a “little bit of paradise” in an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

    5. Use only heavy-duty (minimum 14 ga.) extension cords with generators. It’s amazing how much line-loss can occur in 50 ft, and it can make the difference whether, or not, you can provide sufficient power to run an appliance.

    6. Keep cash (a couple of thousand if you can) on hand. Make sure you have a good mix of bills, with nothing larger than $20’s. ATM’s may have back-up power at their bank branch, but that does you no good if the communication network for the ATM’s is down. If the ATM communication network is down, chances are high that credit-card processing, and point-of-sale check verification systems will also be down. Unfortunately, even if you have cash, many big-box stores (Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc.) and groceries HAVE NO BACKUP PLAN to sell goods if the point-of-sale system (registers) aren’t working. One Safeway had goods, but no working registers, and the manager would not conduct transactions on paper, even if you had exact change.

    7. A gas range and an old camping coffee pot are a beautiful thing.

    8. Setting up an extension cord with a multi-plug surge suppressor so that your neighbors can charge their cell-phones and laptops, will make you a neighborhood hero.

    9. Allowing neighbors with infants and toddlers to use your “one cooled room” as a temporary nursery, will make you a neighborhood god!

    10. Neighbors will compliment you on your capabilities, and say that they’ll be prepared for “the next time”. However, after a disaster situation ends a “mass amnesia” will take effect, and you’ll STILL be the only one on your block with any disaster preparedness.

    Profile photo of MountainBiker

    johnnymac, all good points. I don’t have a generator but I’m already there on the gas and cash. A perfect $1,000 is 30 $20’s, and then 25 each $10’s, $5’s, and $1’s. I’d add to your list remember to add Stabil to the gas and rotate it at least once per year. I keep a dozen 5 gallon containers and over the course of a mowing season rotate them through the lawn mowers (I use 2 to 3 gallons every time I mow….big yard).


    Good thoughts Johnnymac,thanks!
    I especially like “mass amnesia” point, but it can also be dangerous if they figure that you have good stuff in serious SHTF event.

    Profile photo of freedom

    This is a great list that applies to a hurricane preparedness that many do here in South Florida. This is why I think South Florida may do a little better in a SHTF times.

    On the surge protector I used one after hurricane Andrews hit. I was able to log on to the internet everyday since the backup surge protector had a battery that would give you 10 to 15 minutes on time to get online. I wound recharge it every time I ran the gas generator. I now own a gas range with a years supply of gas so cooking will not be a problem.

    Profile photo of RSSwizard

    I agree with the Power Supply issue when it comes to a disaster. We had a Derecho come through my area in 2009 (the may 8th storm). Our town was without power for 4 days, much of the area was out for upwards of a week and a half though.

    I remember people lined up at the grocery store to use the outlets up front to charge their phones. That grocery was only open that day though because thats all the juice they had for their generators, and they had to make sure they could use the rest to keep their stuff cold until the power came back on.

    The local University has its own Power Plant and almost nobody had the idea to go there to use any of the outdoor plugs. They still worked so I was kinda giddy like I knew a secret nobody else did. I had a cell phone but it was useless because I had no minutes on it. I DID have an MP3 player that I liked listening to though, it passed the time quite well.

    I was homeless at that time too, for just a month or two back then, and this happened smack dab in the middle of it. Funny that I was using the university for a place to sleep sometimes, and I was sleeping in the basement of the student union (which is rated to be a civil defense shelter) when the storm hit.

    The police presence was good enough that we had a curfew at night so there was no rioting. I was sleeping on a the balcony of an abandoned 2 story house so I actually had even less to worry about.

    Except the process of getting back home that is. I absolutely could not afford to be picked up by the cops, so I had to get home in the pitch dark by going through people’s yards and avoiding being seen by any kind of car headlight (since you cant tell if thats a cop car, or just some normal person).

    Some friends ran into me at the store and they convinced me to go hang out with them on one of the nights and they picked up a bunch of chinese food from (one of the only working restaurants in town) and I had some good food. We played a Roleplaying Game (a custom D&D setting) which was the main focus for us getting together.

    The only thing that sucked about it was just the night before the storm I had obtained a dome tent and set it up, when I went back I found that the storm had imploded the tent, though I expected it had done so. The Derecho had straightline winds of 110mph in our area.

    Few weeks later my Aunt decided to come get me and have me live with her for awhile. I was hesitant to even do that because she smokes and she’s a real downer. A couple years later she moved out and I ended up homeless again.

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