Tips On Surviving A Storm

Some Useful Information

Hurricne Sandy in October 2012 really put our resources to the test. We were without power for over a week. These are some of the tips we compiled over that period. Hope you find them useful.

1. Have lots of batteries on hand for portable radios and lights. Make sure that anything that can be charged is.

2. Get some LED flashlights and lanterns. LED lights run a long time on a set of batteries. Black and Decker makes something called a "Snake Light". These have a flexable section and can be worn around the neck to provide you with light leaving both hands free.

3. Have battery operated portable radios handy. Both AM-FM and maybe a weather radio are an important source of information. A battery operated digital TV is a plus.

4. Make sure your cell phone is charged and ready. Cell sites may be down in a storm but when they return they can be an important life line.

5. Have your laptop, netbook or tablet handy. They can be another link to the outside world and a source of information. While your internet connection may be down you can use them to send e-mail or check the latest news through the many WiFi hot spots that are available after the storm.

6. Get a generator if you don't have one. You can find them for not much money. In a prolonged outage it will allow you to run your refrigerator and save all that food. That alone will pay for it. You can also charge cell phones, laptops, etc. from it. See our generator tips below.

7. Put your cable modem on a UPS. We have a 1000VA unit and it runs the cable modem/router/wireless access point for a long time. Even if you don't have a generator you can bring the cable modem up for short periods to make an important phone call (if you have voice over I.P.) or get on internet. One UPS or a few to power important things are a plus . We also have a portable battery/inverter that we keep charged with a solar panel. It gives us additional 110 vac or 12 VDC if we need it.

8. Have pleanty of food and water available. You may get stuck in your house for a while.

9. Make sure you have lots of propane or what ever it takes to run your barbecue. It can be used to cook food or make hot water. An electric coffee pot or "Hot Shot" is great if you have a generator. There's nothing like a hot cup of coffee in the morning.

10. Have pleanty of warm clothing if it's winter and lots of blankets for the bed. A small space heater is useful but use caution not to start a fire. In the summer a window or portable air conditioner can be used to cool a room down if you have a big enough generator. If not maybe some good fans.

11. For safety, stay away from fallen wires and trees. You never know if a wire is "live" or may become "live". I've seen and heard of people doing stupid things like cutting away a tree that fell on the power lines with a chain saw. Stuff like that can cost you your life and is best left to the power company. Watch for wires that have fallen in to puddles. Water and electricity don't mix and a live wire falls in to a puddle it will become electrified. Hams/CBer's may want to consider removing antennas from their cars. It's great to go "mobile" but it's bad ig you snag a low hanging wire with your antenna.

12. Be prepared to adapt. Not all the things that make life easy will be available but in a lot of cases you can find alternate ways of doing things. My wife wanted to take a shower. She went to the hardware store, bought a garden sprayer, filled it with hot water made on the barbecue and she had the makings of a hot shower. Sometimes you have to get creative.

Tips On Using Your Generator

1. Have enough gas handy. Not all gas stations will have electricity to pump gas so at least have enough to get started.

2. Have enough engine oil. This is something we don't always think about but is necessary to run your generator. If you have a 2 cycle engine you will need 2 cycle engiine oil.

3. Have enough extension cords and outlet strips if you need them. At least a 14 gauge heavy duty cord from the generator and heavy or lighter duty 16 gauge cords to the appliances depending on their current draw. 25 foot lengths seem to work well. Cords can be plugged in to each other if you beed to go furthur.

4. Don't run yout generator next to your house. Carbon monoxide from the exhaust can leak in to your home. If you have vinyl siding heat from the generator can melt it.

5. Follow all the directions that came with the generator.

6. Think about your neighbors. Don't run a noisey generator late in to the night when people are trying to sleep. Our rule is 10 pm the latest, 9 am the earliest.

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