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Old 11-04-2012, 03:06 PM
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Default What worked, what did not- Hurricane Sandy- Lessons Learned.



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I wanted to start a new thread on what worked and what did not work for your Hurricane preps...

I think that this deserves a separate thread, if we can keep it focused on what worked and what did not work.

With the Hurricane over, and the recovery effort well underway, lets see what lessons we can learn.

For me here it is:

Worked- Having a Generator (7.5KW) and 20 gallons of gas. I fueled up 5 gallon cans and both cars, as well as the generator.

Worked- Wood fireplace insert- lots of toasty heat no power required

Worked- Wiring my furnace into the generator- heated the whole house not just the room with the insert.

Worked- spare parts for generator- I had purchased an extra fuel filter and carburetor this summer, just in case my generator got gummed up from Ethanol gas (see below).

Worked- Multiple flashlights, tactical lights, AA mag lights, LED lanterns, to provide lighting inside and outside.

Worked- LED light bulbs installed in place of Incandescent and Fluorescent, allowed me to power more with my generator.

DID NOT work (lesson learned)- Generator allowed to sit too long with ethanol gas in it. Last long term test run was in June, short test last week was not long enough. Fuel filter and carburetor were totally gunked up from ethanol gas. First night generator would run for 20 minutes then stall, when trying to restart lots of back fires, and then would only run with rich choke setting. Clearly not getting enough gas. On tuesday, I swapped out spare carb, and filter (see above) and it ran like a champ. Varnish and white gunk was evident in carb (when I rebuilt it) and on filter.

DID NOT work (lesson learned)- not enough gas storage. I had to drive to work last week, and run generator, resulted in me almost running out of gas. If power had not been restored this weekend, I would be on battery for light and heating with just wood stove. I need to get some larger storage gas options, or switch gen to propane.

DID NOT work (lesson learned)- I need to focus more on resting during down times. I was up the entire night of hurricane and then up the entire next day. I was then at work rest of the week and up feeding gen, at night... as a result i was exhausted by Friday had trouble focusing at work and at home. I need to focus on resting during down times, to keep fresh.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:08 PM
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Great to get information from those "in the middle of it".

Keep us updated. Thanx much!

Be safe. Hope all goes well for you and yours.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:21 PM
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What worked: Having a tri-fuel generator -using propane for this storm. Plenty on hand, does not go bad.

What worked: Pre-staging extension cords from refrigerator and other items I needed to power, before the lights went out.

What worked: having a converter box and rabbit ears, which enabled us to get 5 television channels.

What worked: Christmas LED lights, used very little power and gave off plenty of light for the whole house.

What didn't work: My ham radio HT hadn't been used in some time and I didn't realize that I lost the pre-programmed frequencies for the local repeaters. Without internet I couldn't look them up. Had to manually search for them. Even then my ability to transmit/receive was very limited. Next time a rig an outside antennae.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:26 PM
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"totally gunked up from ethanol gas."

I agree that ethanol gas is crap but regular gas will gunk up also. Maybe just a little slower.

Best way - Get and store Non-ethanol gas and rotate it every 3 or 4 months or so by using it in your regular cars or trucks.

I am lucky as I have a Non-ethanol gas supply 5 or 6 miles away. If you cannot easily find it, try places where boaters fuel up. Many marinas carry non-ethanol gas.

Using non-ethanol gas you will also get 10-15% more out of it. I have a motorcycle and get 60mpg with ethanol gas and around 75mpg with non-ethanol. You should see the same improvements in a generator.

Also SeaFoam and Sta-bil are your friends.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:26 PM
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Glad y'all are ok and thanks for the report.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:01 PM
LuniticFringeInc LuniticFringeInc is offline
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Great thread, thanks for posting it. This is the kind of threads about Sandy I was waiting to see.

The idea about the LED Christmas lights is a good one. I have some and they work very well for the brief power outages we often times have here for a few hours to a couple of days. The battery in my RV will run these things for days with a converter! To top that idea off I was in Wally World the other day and noticed a string of 50 LED lights that are powered by 2 AA batteries! I think I paid a whopping 2.00 for them. I will be stocking up on these things the day after Christmas when they put them on clearance sale.

I never really thought about pre staging extension cords. I could see where that could prove to be a real asset and stress saver. I will definitely be making a note about that tip!
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LuniticFringeInc View Post
Great thread, thanks for posting it. This is the kind of threads about Sandy I was waiting to see.

The idea about the LED Christmas lights is a good one. I have some and they work very well for the brief power outages we often times have here for a few hours to a couple of days. The battery in my RV will run these things for days with a converter! To top that idea off I was in Wally World the other day and noticed a string of 50 LED lights that are powered by 2 AA batteries! I think I paid a whopping 2.00 for them. I will be stocking up on these things the day after Christmas when they put them on clearance sale.

I never really thought about pre staging extension cords. I could see where that could prove to be a real asset and stress saver. I will definitely be making a note about that tip!
My wife has a lot of artificial flowered hanging baskets with LED lights. They all have timers, last longer than real plants and add extra subtle lighting to the front of our house.

The day before the storm, we secured everything inside and she re-charged all of the batteries. Power went out at 12:40PM Monday; restored at 8:20PM Tuesday. Used her "decorations" for interior emergency lighting...along with her "collection" of YANKEE CANDLES and my oil lamps. It was only for the short periods of nightfall, but very effective. Even a little bit of "creative" lighting such as these "decorations" can provide comfort and stave off the depression of darkness.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuniticFringeInc View Post

The idea about the LED Christmas lights is a good one. I have some and they work very well for the brief power outages we often times have here for a few hours to a couple of days. The battery in my RV will run these things for days with a converter!
It would be better if you did not need to run the converter. I bet the converter in this case uses more power than the lights.

Your mention of the battery powered led lights is the way to go.

I always cringe when I see people using a converter to power something small.

When charging batteries, cell phone or camera via a converter the converter is probably the largest power user.

If it is all you have and need to use it than so be it. Just remember converters/inverters themselves use a fair amount of power.

A simple test for wasted power - If the device (inverter) is getting warm, that power is going down the drain. Of course it helps to heat the area!!
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:41 PM
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another lighting tip is to use those solar yard lights on a stake that they sell at walmart or dollar tree...charge them during the day (when you can) and use them at night.

One thing I would like to say, and it is not meant as a critisism really. Many folks go into a crisis believing it won't last long...for many "events" having 20 gallons of gas would be plenty to keep the family from being inconvenienced and toasty. However, conservation is a huge key to better success (not conservation in a greenie way, but in a frugal way). We know that our fridge and freezer will be ok if we run the genny for about 4 hours in the night and again in the morning. This also pumps enough water for flushing, cleaning, dishes and maybe a shower or two and takes the chill off the house. When a crisis hits, we shouldn't think of making the home "normal" with all the bells and whistles...there would be no getting up and refilling the genny at night (making one tired and cranky)if it wasn't run at night! I honestly don't think you would need to run it 4 hours twice a day, you could probably do what was needed two hours twice a day (except for that pesky fridge/freezer, though the deep freeze should be ok.) Instead of everyone sleeping snug and toasty in their own beds, consider a "camp out" in the room with the wood fireplace insert. In a crisis of this magnitude, I would think there would be plenty for everyone to do so that TV wouldn't be needed except during the time I mentioned when the genny was running.
It sounds like the OP had a great attitude and learned a lot from how his preps worked/didn't work. We all find these things out and they help us do better the next time they are needed. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:43 PM
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@Patriot_NY - Thanks for starting this. The only thing that stopped me was worry it would get merged into the "all things Sandy" thread and get buried but I also agree this could work well for future preppers in these parts.

What worked:

1. Having plenty of gas in my car before and topping it off immediately after when there was still time to do so or no heavy lines.

2. Knowing that I could buy water and food from Marshall's, Ross and TJ Maxx and doing so(Marshall's) when shelves in Shop Rite were already empty and at one point it was impossible to even park at Shop Rite. Note - I've lived on both coasts, in the mid-west, south and everywhere in between and have yet to see a Marshall's that did not sell water and food.

3. Enough dry food and canned goods to ride this out.

4. Beating the driving madness by going into the city before the mandatory carpool, traffic and full parking lots.

5. Water filters in both BOBs.

6. A big APC that can be used to charge things. As I type this I wonder if it could power a small electrical stove? Time for an experiment.

7. How could I forget my 5-6mth stash of candles? I lost electricity for about 10hrs but in the meantime they surely helped.

What didn't work:

1. Not having enough pain killers in either BOB for a stomach virus or food poisoning I got the morning after the storm which hit me full force around 1:30pm and lasted several days. I'm still not 100% right in the tummy area but 98% better.

2. All iDevices were completely useless. No service. Way before Sandy I've sent emails to countless app developers asking them to please make their apps network independent in future updates. I do have important information in a written log, exit points written down, printed directions for several things, maps of my area and two possible BOLs.

3. While I have two BOB's and lot's of camping/hiking gear I have no battery operated radio and that's a huge fail on my part that needs to be remedied. I do have two Korean(Cowon)devices which hold 54hrs charge each and has radios but I need something battery powered.

4. Since I already lived through a hurricane(Category 5) with massive shortages of essentials for 33 days why I didn't have water for a month + is beyond me. As of this writing I now have 3-4 weeks of water and plan to build on that until I have enough for 2 mths. I miss having an outdoor rain collection system. Saving grace in that 33 days.

5. No means of heating food in my apartment. Everything is electric. I did question this when signing my lease but questioning it and prepping for disaster are two different things. I was prepared to go out into the woods as my car has a BOB, hunting, fishing and trapping gear inside but this issue needs to be remedied this week because any exerted motion with the overbearing stomach cramps would have made heading for the woods a disaster.

6. No gas canister in car. Since I have the next week or two off this will be taken care of and is on my "must fix immediately" list.

Overall I have some prepping shortcomings that need to be resolved. Yes I learned from this that my prepping needs to be kicked up a few notches and then some. I'm no where close to where I need to be and don't believe in luck to ride things out. Time to put my efforts where my mouth is.

Last edited by Future Tomorrow; 11-04-2012 at 08:47 PM.. Reason: Forgot about the candles!
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:25 PM
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Good thread:

What worked:

1. I was prepared, more so than last year's ice storm. I had plenty of food, water, gasoline and first aid. Even though power was out only about a week or so, i probably could have made it a few weeks on stores alone before i would even be uncomfortable.

2. Using the portable car battery jumper power pack to recharge all of our electrical items (tip i picked up here). Was nice to be able to run the dvd player for my 5 year old to keep him occupied during this.

3. I have great, like minded neighbors. Everybody was looking out for each other, helpful, and in fact, nobody came for anything as at least on my street, it seems everybody had their own stores of stuff.

What did not work:

1. My generator. I had the same problem as the OP but unlike him, i did not have a spare carburetor to change out. A non operating generator is as useful as a boat anchor would be in a power outage. In fact, if it was not for my neighbors allowing me to tap into their generators, i would have lost the food in my freezer. This is a major, major failing on my part. If i would give myself a grade, i would get an F just on the generator alone.

2. My reliance on my generator. I should have had a backup plan if the generator failed, such as a kerosene heater, or those portable heaters which run in the mini propane tanks. I wont make that mistake again. Also, i plan on replacing my gas generator with a propane one. It is cleaner running and hopefully i can eliminate this ethanol problem.

3. I need a sidearm. Although i have firearms for home defense, i need a sidearm. There were a couple of instances during the week where people we never saw before were cruising the neighborhood. Some of my neighbors OC and it sent a decent message to move on to somebody who may be easier.

Here are somethings that surprised me and other lessons learned.

1. In the grand scheme of things, it was not bad at all in eastern pa. Yes we had no power for a week, but if pushed came to shove, we could walk less than 2 miles to an area with electricity and get hot food etc. However, people were losing their minds after 24 hours of no electricity, no hot coffee and general being uncomfortable. I cant imagine if these same folks lived in Jersey and would have to deal with this in months. You do not need a shtf scenario for things to fall apart, a little inconvenience can start things rolling.

2. The whole week of no power, i did not see one local/state leo in my area patrolling. We were on our own in suburbia. I spoke to my buddy who is a local leo and he said in power outages such as these, they concentrate on the City and the outskirts "so the animals dont get out of control".
It only took 24 hours for undesirables to start showing up in my neighborhood looking for easy scores. I live in white-bread suburbia and although i know crime exists everywhere and we do not live in a bubble, i was a bit unnerved how quickly it can unravel with the break-ins and such. I felt comfortable in my house with my security situation and my home defense arms, but i definitely need something more portable and concealable for out and about.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:46 PM
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Wink what worked

Let me start by saying I live on the North shore coastal area of Long Island... 90 percent of the power on Long Island was knocked out. I was lucky to get power back after 6 days... That, thanks to a utility crew from WISCONSIN who temporarily affixed my power line to my house,,,due to a 96 MPH wind that blew out my upper level and you could see into my attic like it was a doll house.: ). Add impassable road due to epic multiple downed trees and power lines. Temps in the 40's and 50's. So what worked...
Being Armed, total sense of security
No Home phone or cell phone service (cell sites Knocked OuT) However I keep some sattelite phone service minutes in my car phone and was able to contact my sister and brother in law in PA who were worried sick.
Emergency radio/candles/flash lights and batteries
Full Tank of Gas... 7 days after storm gas lines are 3 and 4 miles long.
warm sleeping bags
Fire Wood a full Chord stacked split and ready to go.
LED Lights
Propane, able to make instant coffee, hot soup, oatmeal and and other cooking needs on my bar b q... Even cooked a pepperoni pizza !!!
Stored water
Non perishible food . be it dry, canned or freeze dried OTHER food which was not eaten in 2 or 3 days was ruined.
Being MEntally Prepared!!!!!!!!!
Juice boxes... Great to have some fresh juice each day!
My fire place...Thank God for it
Should of had some plywood on hand, I was blessed to have some neighbors who were able to retrofit the fallen
pieces of my house and give me a temporary patch, still a week later I cannot even get a construction company out to the house for an Estimate/repair due to the current gas crisis!!

Last edited by prepgirl; 11-04-2012 at 06:53 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:59 PM
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If you have a good quality generator (except for the gunked carburetor), there are kits to convert them from gasoline to propane. Some kits replace the carburetor, some bore it out and use it, and some bypass it so you can run on gas or propane. It is cheaper than a replacement generator, IF you already have a quality generator.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patriot_ny View Post
I wanted to start a new thread on what worked and what did not work for your Hurricane preps...

I think that this deserves a separate thread, if we can keep it focused on what worked and what did not work.

With the Hurricane over, and the recovery effort well underway, lets see what lessons we can learn.

For me here it is:

Worked- Having a Generator (7.5KW) and 20 gallons of gas. I fueled up 5 gallon cans and both cars, as well as the generator.

Worked- Wood fireplace insert- lots of toasty heat no power required

Worked- Wiring my furnace into the generator- heated the whole house not just the room with the insert.

Worked- spare parts for generator- I had purchased an extra fuel filter and carburetor this summer, just in case my generator got gummed up from Ethanol gas (see below).

Worked- Multiple flashlights, tactical lights, AA mag lights, LED lanterns, to provide lighting inside and outside.

Worked- LED light bulbs installed in place of Incandescent and Fluorescent, allowed me to power more with my generator.

DID NOT work (lesson learned)- Generator allowed to sit too long with ethanol gas in it. Last long term test run was in June, short test last week was not long enough. Fuel filter and carburetor were totally gunked up from ethanol gas. First night generator would run for 20 minutes then stall, when trying to restart lots of back fires, and then would only run with rich choke setting. Clearly not getting enough gas. On tuesday, I swapped out spare carb, and filter (see above) and it ran like a champ. Varnish and white gunk was evident in carb (when I rebuilt it) and on filter.

DID NOT work (lesson learned)- not enough gas storage. I had to drive to work last week, and run generator, resulted in me almost running out of gas. If power had not been restored this weekend, I would be on battery for light and heating with just wood stove. I need to get some larger storage gas options, or switch gen to propane.

DID NOT work (lesson learned)- I need to focus more on resting during down times. I was up the entire night of hurricane and then up the entire next day. I was then at work rest of the week and up feeding gen, at night... as a result i was exhausted by Friday had trouble focusing at work and at home. I need to focus on resting during down times, to keep fresh.
You have to setup a watch schedule if you have the people available, sleep and stand watch in shifts. Most of the gremlins will be active after dark and will operate in the wee hours after 1:00am and before 4:30am.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:20 PM
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Worked:

We did not lose power, so that was a good thing.
We should be getting a generator with some of our tax money.
Had plenty of canned and dry foods ready to go.
Deep Freezer was packed, and any empty space was filled with frozen water bottles. It was packed according to what would be eaten first.
Had 60 pounds of ice in a new large cooler. This coleman could hold 80 pounds of ice and lasted until today.
Plenty of weapons and ammo and the wife knows how to use most of it.
Had plenty of kerosene and both heaters were overhauled last winter.
Have a battery backup for our sump, didnt need it but it was peace of mind

DID not work:
Need to store more water for emergencies. Going to be buying those 5 gallon water cooler jugs and storing them.
Check all recipes before the storm to make sure you have what you need. I didn't have what I needed for bread or biscuits. A minor thing to some, but serious to us.
Our voice on our cells died. We could text and use internet but that was it. We went to the forwarding text and then someone else would call who we needed.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by patriot_ny View Post
=Worked- Having a Generator (7.5KW) and 20 gallons of gas. I fueled up 5 gallon cans and both cars, as well as the generator.

Worked- spare parts for generator- I had purchased an extra fuel filter and carburetor this summer, just in case my generator got gummed up from Ethanol gas (see below).

Worked- Multiple flashlights, tactical lights, AA mag lights, LED lanterns, to provide lighting inside and outside.
Equipment: 1 day after the hurricane, the generator which we had did not want to start up at first. Had to be taken apart and cleaned out - lesson learned to keep all the important preps in top condition and have spare parts if necessary

Supplies: Extra water, filling up the car and fuel canister + conserving fuel by not doing unnecessary driving in case of shortage (which, luckily, occurred up North and not in my area).

Now, for the bad: local gas station raised prices by about $0.20 / gallon after opening post-Sandy. I understand the it is a business and it needs to make money like everybody else, but at the same time i did not appreciate the "opportunistic" money grabbing and profiteering on the those people who had to get fuel. By doing that, they lost me as a customer. (I hope I don't get blasted for saying that here )

I can say that this was a good survivalist experience and the lessons learned from this event will make me better prepared in case of future shtf events.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:51 PM
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Very glad to have people post their experiences on the forums. There are a few things, after reading this entire thread, I have overlooked in my preps. Spare parts for the generator are a good thing to have. Thanks for posting all of this.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:03 PM
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[QUOTE= 5. No means of heating food in my apartment. Everything is electric. I did question this when signing my lease but questioning it and prepping for disaster are two different things. I was prepared to go out into the woods as my car has a BOB, hunting, fishing and trapping gear inside but this issue needs to be remedied this week because any exerted motion with the overbearing stomach cramps would have made heading for the woods a disaster.[/QUOTE]

A few cans of sterno could easily remedy that, and it stores for a very long time.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:03 PM
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No work/didn't work stories from me, I live in Kansas. Just wanted to point out something regarding ethanol ruining small engine carbs.

Premium gas *usually* does not contain 10% ethanol. I always use premium gas in my generators, lawn mower, chain saws, etc. Few more cents per gallon but much less headache.

Carry on, sorry for the highjack
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Future Tomorrow View Post
@Patriot_NY
5. No means of heating food in my apartment. Everything is electric. I did question this when signing my lease but questioning it and prepping for disaster are two different things. I was prepared to go out into the woods as my car has a BOB, hunting, fishing and trapping gear inside but this issue needs to be remedied this week because any exerted motion with the overbearing stomach cramps would have made heading for the woods a disaster.
A few cans of Sterno would fix that for you.
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