No electricity-How Prepared are you?

dipat2005 Posts: 1,275 ✭✭✭✭
edited January 23 in Shelter-in-Place

Yes, I had food and had boiled water ahead of time-3 days worth but we had no electricity for 4 days almost to the minute.

I didn't have enough blankets or winter clothing and after 2 days was able to buy some.

I live in an apartment and didn't have an alternative way to cook or boil water.

The devastation from trees, limbs and power poles, electrical lines lying the street was horrendous!!

One street was flood with water and had a tree limb touching both the street and a power line. Did that make the street electrified?

I had a kindle and a telephone so i could check on others. I had 2 hot meals and 1 cup of hot cocoa.

It was really cold with the wind chill at -9 at times.

A combination of snow, sleet and continuous freezing rain caused the problems. The wind was higher than normal too.

For 2 days there was a boil water order in place too.


  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,102 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Perhaps looking into a propane camp cook stove and a supply of the small bottles of propane would help for the future. I would suggest looking at truck stops for the appliances that plug into cigarette lighters, but with the wind and ice you don't really want to go sit in your car to cook or waste fuel leaving the car running so the battery doesn't die from it, if it starts in the first place.

    Or a supply of food like what they call the heater meals, they have their own heating capability in the package. Perhaps not the best food, but could give a hot meal during an emergency. You would just have to eat them and replace them once in a while.

    As to water, If you have any room you could store things in, (under bed, end tables, closets, etc.) I know folks who do canning, they fill jars of water and can them when they have extra space to fill in the canner. This would give some clean water for use in emergencies. You could store gallon jugs from the store but I wouldn't store it long that way. Having in glass would be better to me than the plastic.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dipat2005 I'm glad to hear that you came through it Ok. It is definitely a great reminder for all of us to check on how prepared we really are.

    I agree with everything listed above. Water storage, propane stove, and food storage specific for emergency purposes are all wonderful ideas.

    I have to admit we really rely on our generators when we lose power. It happens here on a regular basis. We use a generator to run our refrigerator, freezer, and our boiler when we are without power. We have a gas stove so we are still able to cook. If we didn't have those options I would probably insist on having a wood burning stove.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,452 admin

    @dipat2005 oh my! Yes! We are so dependent on electricity! Especially in winter time. That was a real challenge!

    we are not too bad. We have two wood burning stoves in the house. And plenty of wood. My husband collects the branches which lie on the ground in the local forest. Every resident is allowed to take branches. We could also make a bonfire in the garden for cooking. And a grill where wood can be used. And there are many wells in the village with permanently running mountain water. Our next project is Photovoltaic on the roof for producing our own energy. We are planning to install it in March. I also have heaps of self made candles. I might have to experiment with some kind of bread baking without the oven. I have a good supply of flour. Well. Nevertheless I hope that we will never need these emergency measures.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    Glad to hear that you survived it OK @dipat2005. Its so much more difficult when you live in an apartment because of limited space and reliance on building services. Extra blankets are always a good thing to have on hand. There are sleeping bag style foil blankets that are fairly inexpensive and take up very little room. They are nice to put on over top of your blankets to keep the heat in.

    I agree with @vickeym about the MREs if you have no other options for a hot meal. While they might not be the tastiest things, they are better than they used to be and having a hot meal warms one up from the inside. It also gives you an emotional boost during an emergency. They are expensive but you only need to have a few on hand for a short emergency.

    We are pretty well set up. Or at least we like to think so. I'm sure if we had an extended power failure we would find things that we should have stocked up on a bit more.

    We have lots of light sources. Multiple flashlights (battery & USB rechargeable), kerosene lamps and candles along with lots of batteries and a several charger banks. During the fires of 2017, our VFD received a donation of a case of chargers. I turned one down at first, saying to give mine to someone else. I was back the next day to get one and was soooo appreciative of it. I'd never used my cell phone so much before. We have since purchased several charger units so we have them in our go-bags as well as our emergency bag for the car.

    Those charger banks will keep our cell phones going so we have communications. I don't have an I-pad of any kind so we will be without internet (we don't have "smart" phones) but I can live without that.

    For cooking I have a propane cookstove, wood cookstove, a propane BBQ and two butane burners. The butane burners are much safer than propane camp stoves as butane can be used inside without a build up of CO. The butane units are very compact, usually coming in a small case about 14" square and 4 inches deep. They are less than $30 CAD (so cheaper in the US?) and the butane tanks are cheaper than propane. Smaller and easier to store, too.

    We have a small generator so that is enough to run our well pump and keep the freezers cold. And we have a wood furnace and wood cookstove to keep us warm. A bigger generator would be nice but one that is big enough to power the house would be very expensive.

    So I think we have covered all bases.

    But its always a good idea to reassess your stockpiles of necessities on a regular basis.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We should generate a list of recommended emergency gear for power-out incidents. Really it should be two separate lists, because some items appropriate for houses won't be suitable for apartments.

    Should a course be created on TGN that teaches the basics of emergency prep? I haven't seen one in the Academy, but it seems like a good topic.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The biggest issue I have is not the electrical power itself, but the fact that I lose water whenever the power goes out. Since my water comes from the town water system, having my own emergency power supply would not change this.

    Storing enough water to drink and use in cooking is easy, at least for outages of only a day or two.

    Having enough water to flush a toilet, wash dishes, wash hands before eating, wash dishes, launder clothing, and so forth is much harder, bordering on impossible for many of us.

    How does everyone here plan for loss of water?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @VermontCathy There is a discussion with regards to power outages and supplies.

    Maybe we can all take a look at the suggestions, add to them if members have new solutions and then combine all of the ideas and sources for equipment in one list and make a blog post out of it. @LaurieLovesLearning or @Ruth Ann Reyes.

    An Emergency Prep course might be a good idea for the Academy. There could be videos on how to use some of the equipment. Offer recipes that can be made with all canned goods (home canned or store bought). Maybe affiliate links for some types of equipment could be added for a bit of profit for TGN.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,275 ✭✭✭✭

    Someone just gave me an idea of another place I could store water. Thank you. At our apartment we are not to have anything flammable and while 2 of the upstairs apartments have balconies and several apartments have backyards-I have 2 gardens. I have those mylar sleeping bags but have misplaced those. I did get flashlights up with batteries before that storm hit.

    Now we have are having a banana belt of temps in the mid 60's, rain, high winds and flooding coming. If it isn't one thing it is another. Our utility company employees have been working 16 hour days along with people from 3 other areas that have come to help. They are getting free meals and free places to stay but some of the outlying areas will not have power restored until Feb 4th of next month. The city here is saying that more of the tree limbs may come down with the new onslaught of rain and wind.

    One of the utility companies had everything destroyed and had to rebuild from the ground up. i think they were mostly rural.

    Thank you for all of the support. I really appreciate all of the good ideas.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @dipat2005 After being caught one time not prepare, I learned my lesson. It was the first time I had ever lived where it snowed, and we had a blizzard! We couldn't get out for 8 days! Thank goodness for cheese, bread, and my daughter's birthday sheet cake! We lived off of cake, cheese sandwiches with mayo or cheese sandwiches with mustard.

    I stay prepared now! lol

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,275 ✭✭✭✭

    @water2world I love cake! Thanks for sharing. It usually only takes once.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,275 ✭✭✭✭

    I store water in 1/2 gallon jugs for summer so I had plenty of extra water if needed. I also have a filter so I can filter it. I have to admit to boiling the water since April because the taste was so bad! I wasn't the only person who has complained about the taste either.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,102 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Another idea for water when you know there is a storm or something coming that could shut things down would be to either fill your bathtub with water ahead of time. Just taking sponge baths until the situation is resolved.

    Or having a few 5 gallon buckets with lids and fill those in advance. You could even store the filled buckets in the tub or shower to protect against spillage when dipping water out of them. Just remember how heavy they will be if you want to have a shower or bath while they are there.

    You mention having 2 gardens. If you have access just outside your door to the gardens and it's not too cold out, you could even place buckets of water there during the storm or whatever the issue is. If it is a covered or protected area (such as under an overhang from the roof) you could bundle up long enough to grab one bucket to bring in as needed.

This Week's Leaders