Sandy helped me realize my readiness for unexpected emergency is:

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 - 12:17pm
Better than I expected
9% (5 votes)
Fine
52% (28 votes)
Barely adequate
15% (8 votes)
Lacking
15% (8 votes)
Extremely vulnerable
9% (5 votes)
Total votes: 54

Whether you were in the path of Sandy or not, this week gave each of us a chance to reflect (or learn by the school of hard knocks) on our level of preparedness for unexpected disaster.

After taking the quick poll above, tell us in the Comments section below:

  • How sufficient did your in-place preparations score?
  • What are the biggest gaps you still need to fill?
  • Were there any surprise findings?

For those of you who scored 'barely adequate' and below, you may want to revisit our What Should I Do? guide and our preparedness wikis for advice and inspiration.

34 Comments

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Great idea for a discussion, Adam!

My take-away from this particular hurricane is a clear awareness of where water likes to seep into my basement.  I am now planning to seal up those areas with hydraulic cement and water-blocking paint.

I also felt very nervous about not having a power backup for our fridges and freezers.  My dad is helping me convert a gasoline generator to propane, but I don't have it back yet, and I'm not sure how much it will run or how practical it will be for that application.  My nervousness was the "hole" in my preparations -- I'd like to ideally be able to weather inconveniences and crises without anxiety.

I also need a second battery backup for my work station due to how it's currently set up.  An off-grid cell-phone charger would also be very useful.

Otherwise we did quite well; our area was not impacted as severely as expected, and we already have our primary preps in place. 

But In the spirit of this thread, I want to link to a post I wrote a few years back after a major storm here:  Lessons Learned from a Power Outage.

I've come a long way since then, but I imagine Hurricane Sandy might have been for some a source of information and inspiration for additional preparations just like the one I wrote about in that post.

I am looking forward to others' responses. 

 

growmakestore13's picture
growmakestore13
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2012
Posts: 6
Completed Preparedness

As a Virginia resident, we have had our share of power outages. The last big piece I needed was a generator. Luckily for me, Home Depot got a huge shipment in on Saturday afternoon. I did not hesitate to spend the money. We were expecting cold temps immediately following Sandy and the house we rent is very drafty.

Gas cans were hard to find. I have four little ones which will fill the generator once, so I plan to get some 5 gallon cans when they get restocked. Glad I bought a bunch of rechargable batteries at Costco, a few months ago - all batteries were sold out in every store my friends went to.

I filled my 35 gallon water drum. For two people that seemed adequate. I had been stockpiling poultry and meats in my freezer (due to the cheap prices of the livestock selloff), so I wasnt worried about that. We have a very full pantry, so I can make meals on my gas camp stove.

The cars had full gas tanks and I charged up my hand crank lantern. All in all, I was very comfortable - and very sure that because I prepped so well, nothing would happen.

Happily for us, not even a light flickered. Regardless, I feel that I am prepared for any emergency or lights out situation.

With two nuclear reactors in NY, NJ having to be shut down, I am more motivated that we buy our home outside of the 50mile radius of the two power plants here. My fiance finally understands that now, too.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5569
On Being Prepared

Before Sandy hit I went out and filled up my gasoline cans.

That might have been a bit too 'reactionary' for some folks...many of them can be conveniently found here, all in one place, in case anybody wants to discuss the importance of preparing before the storm comes.

From a friend of mine in NJ I learn that this is a relatively short line, with some stretching over a mile.  The difficulty is compounded by the fact that very few stations have both power and fuel so not many are open.

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
I am prepared as well. No

I am prepared as well.

No holes that I could find, and in fact short of a tornado lifting my home and placing it somewhere else I can provide for many others as well. With the exception of food for all, I can house for entertainment and warmth at  least 100 people as I have with Christmas parties for my family over the years. Naturally I would require financial support in some form from those using our home, and I would expect that this would not be an issue under extreme conditions. I would NOT turn any away nor make them feel less for not contributing financially, I would however expect their understanding should I direct them to do something or keep their children under control. Again, I expect this to be a none issue.

Lastly, I owe most all of my preparations and motivations for preparedness to our PP site, and you good folks.

Respectfully Given

BOB 

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
nothing much

I asked my wife if I should pick up anything before she left for a Fri-Sat conference.  Neither of us could think of anything we needed, but on a tip from a friend I did get a couple of the big flashlights with the square batteries that were on sale.  $3.97 ea with battery.  Other than that I just started the generator to make sure it runs ok.

Then I went about creating compost piles and cutting firewood, as planned.  The "storm" passed right over us today but left nothing but a few sprinkles.  We are very fortunate.

Doug

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 4 2012
Posts: 561
a viewpoint from the west coast

While I was not affected by Sandy, we over on the other side of NA have been dealing with earthquakes, tsunami warnings and aftershocks. As I have watched the news on both coasts, and read the comments posted on this site, a few things came to mind for me:

It is important to keep in mind the TYPE of disaster you expect you might experience, where ever it is that you live, when you are doing your preparedness planning. I realized that my biggest threat is shaking from an earthquake, and therefore it is not a good idea for me to have my pantry stocked with glass mason jars full of canned fruits and veggies. The last thing I want to have to contend with in an emergency is a big mess of broken glass and food. So I will instead focus on canned goods and using my dehydrator more.

I am profoundly deaf and I have a cochear implant which uses 3 batteries ~ every 2 days. There are re-chargable batteries but they only last one day. I cannot hear anything without my speech processor. I had lots of batteries for flashlights and things like that, but it dawned on me I need a good supply of batteries for my speech processor - fat lot of good my cell phone would do me if I cannot hear on it. Ditto for trying to listen to emergency radio broadcasts and that kind of thing. So I have now stocked up with lots of those special batteries.  I also went out and bought a little solar powered charger that will be good for things like charging the small electronics and various battery chargers. So my lesson from this is that for people like me with special needs it is very important to think of these things and incorporate them into your plans. Emergencies are stressful enough without the added burden of not being able to function as well as you can.

After watching many disasters over the years one thing that always bothered me was the worry and stress experienced when people could not contact their loved ones to let them know they were okay, or what their status was. That was one gap in my plan that I could not figure out until I discovered a personal GPS thingy for emergency use. It is called SPOT. I pay ~ 99.00 per year for the subscription. As long as you can point it at the sky you can hit one of the 3 buttons and send your pre-arranged message via satellite to your pre-selected group of people. It also sends them a link to a google map with your exact location anywhere in the world, which aids emergency responders. The first button will send an I'm ok" message; the 2nd will send a message customized by you and the 3rd is for SOS and the service will automatically send emergency responders to your location. I added an extra app which will have them send roadside service to wherever you are. I think they now have some extras to use it with a cell phone too. If you have large dead zones in your cell coverage area like I do here in BC these are nice features. Because my hearing loss can make calling for help harder for me this little device gives me more confidence to go out and do my thing, whether camping alone or whatever. And my family is happy to know I can get a message to them no matter what (as long as I am alive! wink Here is a link to the website if you want more info.

http://www.findmespot.ca/en/

And today, a day off from work, I finally went out and bought a little generator which will keep my new freezer going if need be. That was the last "need to get" thing. Now I feel pretty much ready for anything. And that feels darn good! But if for some reason my preparations do not do the trick, I will just go to Bob's house! smiley

I am glad that we have not heard any bad news from any of the PP community after Sandy, and I hope it stays that way.

Jan

 

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
Jan, you are certainly

Jan, you are certainly welcome, anytime.

The dynamics of a large family are different than most here might understand, and habits that a family of four are much different in a family of 15. A family of 15 prepares way differently, and in ours we had a family motto "better to be looking at it than for it". It has followed me my whole life and so preparations have just always been a part of my life.

Now as a seasoned veteran of life's surprises it is easier for me to just get it all done now than wait. Besides it just makes perfect sense. Plus, running a construction business had its perks and tax advantages so when I retired I just kept generators and things I could use here at home. I did  hundreds of insurance claims and seen it all. Everything I could possibly need to put a new roof on my home to wood workings, electrical or plumbing are organized in my garage for me or my son's to fix at my home, and their's too. 

I have lived in Oxnard, California and the feeling of ground moving beneath my feet was something I could never get used to. What I really miss though is the Mexican food.

I too have hearing lose Jan, so we could "what" ourselves constantly while we talked especially if I/you couldn't read our lips as we were talking. Mainly my right ear, and sometimes when my Lady gets to talking a bit I'll just "what" her into stopping. LOL

Have a good evening

BOB 

Rector's picture
Rector
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 7 2010
Posts: 490
Been There; Done That

After our last serious hurricane, I bought 8 (Eight!) MORE 5 gallon metal surplus gas cans.  I now keep them all full and rotate the contents into my truck every 3 months to keep them fresh.  My primary generator is now LP or Nat Gas.  I will NEVER! run out of gas for a generator again (if I can help it).

Rector

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 4 2012
Posts: 561
thanks Bob!

Thanks Bob, I will put you down as being my Plan "d" smiley I am sure we would have some interesting converversations sprinkled with ample "what's". My implant is my secret weapon when I need some peace and quiet - just turn it off and presto, silent night! It is especially valuable golfing as I can tune out those distracting noises when I tee it up! The downside is it eliminates that excuse when I fluff my shot...

I have a woodworking background too Bob. You are right, it sure does help to have those kind of skills and the tools to go with them. Sure is a confidence builder!

Cheers, and happy halloween devil

Jan

 

 

Organic Raw Veggies's picture
Organic Raw Veggies
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 24 2012
Posts: 49
Didn't even need to go to the store

Just another weekend and some regular days here. A OK? I use a spare vehicle for fuel storage but didn't need a generator anyway.

I made some food in advance that could just be heated up quickly, on an open outdoor fire. Filled extra jugs with water. Dug up a bunch of sweet potatoes and sun chokes on Sunday. can be eaten raw. Store well. filled freezers with ice from ice maker a few days prior.

Eating hurricane soup today.

I was told store shelves emptied in one day, 3 days prior to landfall.

joesxm2011's picture
joesxm2011
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 16 2011
Posts: 259
sandy AAR

The generator that I finally bought after the two storms last year was worth its weight in gold (well not quite).  I had an electrician hook up an "interlock device" rather than a transfer panel.  This allowed me to have my entire house on the generator and control what I used when.  I did not use my electric range (kicking myself for not buyng a propane stove) or my washer dryer.

The only supplies I ran out for was 15 gallons of gas to supplement my standard load out of 20 gallons, one loaf of bread and some more coffee.  

Things were smoother than last year and I was out only for three days.  I used about 15 gallons of gas in the generator.  The rest gets rotated into the car on a regular schedule to keep it fresh.

The one lacking item in my scenario was that the small battery on my alarm system drained after the first day and takes too long to recharge.  I ended up hooking an APC computer battery backup to it so I could have an active alarm when I left the house without the generator running.  I may look into getting a deep cycle battery or two and an inverter to add some serious backup power for the alarm.

It was raining so I figured out to take one of my spare blue tarps and some para cord to make a roof over the generator.  Of course that could not be out for the 60 mph winds.

There were four large trees that fell down, luckily in my woods.  I attacked them today with my trusty Stihl Farm Boss and made good progress, although my muscles feel like the hulk right now.

I am new with the chain saw but I had my experienced neighbor give advice on how to proceed and did pretty well.  I only got the bar stuck once today.  I got out my trusty Fiskars chopping ax and chopped a one foot wide tree trunk to free the bar.  Did I mention that I love Fiskars axes and malls :-)

I ate a couple of my MRE's and they were not as bad as expected.  I also ate some Mountain House eggs with bacon.  I like to have some of the two serving Mountain House pouches on hand for situations like this.  The big cans might be useful for feeding your neighborhood after the collapse of civilization, but the pouch is what you need for a storm like this one.

From what I see of Manhatten it seems like the worst case scenario that I read about in some tin foil hat blogs.  I guess we in New England dodged the proverbial bullet on this one.

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
The power company prepared

The power company prepared well ahead with a lot of tree trimming this past year, and that seemed to help reduce the number out outages here in southern Maine compared to bad storms in recent years.

VeganDB12's picture
VeganDB12
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2008
Posts: 731
I got lucky, luckier than most here

I sheltered in place for 3 1/2 days, no damage, no blackout in my little neighborhood. Lost internt and cell service for a while.  The rail is out, small wonder since it sort of blew up during the storm.....

I have learned from clients in harder hit area that twitter and texting were invaluable for keeping track of events and people in the metropolitan area. I lost cell service repeatedly yesterday. Texting kept going strong.

Once again, I have learned I can never have enough water on hand.

My plan for the next storm is get a twitter account and have more chocolate on hand. Need more books and games. Plus one or two more extremely warm sweaters since I doubt I will get as lucky next time and I hate being cold.

And I need to hammer (lovingly) into the heads of the people I care for that they really need to keep water, food and extra medicine on hand...it is sad talking to people who can't get water readily.  I hear this is already happening in the city where people are stuck in high rises with no electricity to support water pressure.

 

livsez's picture
livsez
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 1 2008
Posts: 70
Being prepared vs denial.

 

A couple of days before the storm, the majority of people I spoke to around my town were in denial and said things like; “I don’t think it will be as bad as they say,” or “They always blow these things out of proportion,” or “There’s not much I can do except ride it out and wait and see what happens.”    The rest mostly did the bare minimum such as filled up gas tanks, got some bottled water, food and extra batteries, or just planned to go to a family member’s house who has a generator or didn’t lose power in the previous storms. 

Today my town is still 77% without power 3 days after the storm, with plenty of down trees and power lines blocking many roads.

We are handling it very well so far with all my preps including a tri fuel generator, plenty of fresh drinking water that we have stored, food and portable grill for cooking.  We’ve also been useful to friends and neighbors who are without a place to shower and charge up cells and such with our portable solar battery backup charger. 

I’ve noticed through comments on the local news website and talking to a few around town yesterday that people are starting to get frustrated with the slow response by CL&P to get the power back up.  Hopefully most will remain calm and work together to get through the aftermath, and perhaps even learn a few lessons along the way.

SailAway's picture
SailAway
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 11 2010
Posts: 404
Hurricane Sandy Scams: Officials Warn Of Crooked Contractors

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/30/hurricane-sandy-scams-officials-warn-residents-to-be-wary-of-crooked-contractors-charities_n_2045046.html

Hurricane Sandy Scams: Officials Warn Of Crooked Contractors, Charities

Beware, East Coast residents: Some of the people offering to help you clean up the superstorm's debris may actually be scam artists looking to clean you out instead, officials warn.

 

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Gas cans: What you need to know
growmakestore13 wrote:

Gas cans were hard to find. I have four little ones which will fill the generator once, so I plan to get some 5 gallon cans when they get restocked.

Growmakestore13

Look at this thread for all you need to know about gas cans.  Many people contributed their knowledge.  Some links my be outdated.  Post 12 is my summary.

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/gas-cans-no-good-bad-and-ugly/53453

Travlin

msnrochny's picture
msnrochny
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 4 2010
Posts: 57
Gas Cans

I pulled into the gas station a day before Sandy made landfall, with two of these in the back of my SUV, and drove off with 32 gallons of gas for my portable generator (actually 48 gallons if you count the full tank in my Toyota Higlander).

A woman filling her car watched me nervously, and asked, "Are those for a generator?"  I smiled and told her, "Yes" and went on to tell her I was perhaps over reacting.  Her response was tremendously affirming for me.  She said, "You're much smarter than most.  I have no idea what I will do if the power goes out."

I got these gas caddies from Nothern Tool, and they worked great for me.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200325161_200325161

 

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
Well Folks, and in particular

Well Folks, and in particular those who's homes have been damaged, I may be able to provide you with some tips. This really applies to all who incur damage that a claim can be made to home owners insurance.

1. You start by making a claim.

2. DO NOT accept anyone into your home that you haven't called yourself.

3. Act as your own contractor and you will receive a 10% profit and 10% overhead allowance.

4. When you get estimates get the companies normal rates for cleaning the flood damaged areas. These companies understand that they get more (profit and overhead) from insurance companies than they would otherwise get.

Note: Often in a basement you have a limited policy coverage of $10,000 dollars so take pictures. If you have a remodeled basement then most all items will be a total loss and can be claim as a loss on your income tax. For example: You had a remodel that cost $25,000 less the claim of $10,000 will see a loss of $15,000 on your income taxes. It is best to contact your accountant for advice in your area.

5. The insurance company will pay you for your labors and MUST pay you for your labor. So get their permission via fax or email to remove items that could cause further damage or harm to the home. Keep track of hours and always take pictures of damage and debris hauled to the curb.

Note: Agents are swamped right now but that doesn't mean you have to sit and allow harmful black mold or other serious bacteria to accumulate in your home. You really need to get the water out of your home and fans running. Which reminds me, keep records of all electrical bills handy as you will spend lots of cash trying to heat or dry out your home so if damaged these are legitimate claims.

6. Keep great records of times, personnel and permissions during this process.

7. DO NOT rush the process but rush the clean up and removal of water. This is very important, GET YOUR HOME DRIED OUT. Carpet WILL BE cut up to allow for air infiltration and ALL padding MUST be removed to the curb. Remove all baseboard too and take to curb along with door castings. Today's trims are mold magnets, and you need to get the AIR FLOWING behind the walls to as the drywall is probably damp as the backside of walls are NOT PRIMED OR PAINTED so water will soak into the backside.

If anyone has any questions I would be only so happy to help. It would be easier frankly and I have no problems helping. You may ask any questions of me in the inbox, and I am very aware of how this works, and assume that State Farm, AAA, etc... are no different in New York than Michigan.

BE POLITE because the insurance company ARE STRESSED OUT. I Can help if asked. Please get moving on the drying out part, it is so important to your families safety and to your pocket books. I'm sorry it took so long to say all of this. My Bad.

If you must run a generator to run fans or heat because power is out you can be refunded cost of gasoline and a days rental on the generator even if you own it outright. Food that is lost to a flood is covered also. Bottled water to survive may be too, so save every damn receipt is my point.

BOB

 

 

growmakestore13's picture
growmakestore13
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2012
Posts: 6
Gas Cans

Thanks Travlin,

 I read the thread and all of you made great points of which did not even occur to me.

I am going to invest in good quality, safe cans. I appreciate the tips!

 

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
Reading about those

Reading about those unfortunate to have had their entire homes and neighborhoods destroyed, I realized I'm not at all prepared for something of that magnitude.  Probably no one really can

jtwalsh's picture
jtwalsh
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 263
Staying aware

Last week in Southeast New England Sandy was a remote threat.  Seemed like it would not reach us.  As the days went on the projected paths  remained to our south but the weather folks seemed truly concerned about the storm's potential size.  Wife and I were leaving to go north for the weekend.  On Thursday went out an bought supplemental milk, eggs, bread, fruit, for two sons, daugther and two grandaughters who would be at home. (Thanks to what we have learned here, we already have a stock of canned, bottled and dry food to last for months.) 

When we got home Sunday night I stopped by the market.  It had been stripped of the items I picked up on Thurday. I usually don't pay attention to weather so far out, but my preper antenae were up and it worked out to our benefit.

One thing we did a few years ago was to install a gas cooking range and a gas (non-electric) space heater which looks like a fireplace.  When the electricity goes off, we at least have an alternate way to cook and warn the first floor of the house.  So far we have never lost both gas and electric service at the same time.

Our house up north has redundant systems also.  Propane for cooking.  Electric for water pump, lighting and cooking.  Wood for heat and cooking. Backup battery pack runs radio and computers,  (It has a hand crank to recharge if electric is off for extended period.) A drilled well runs when electric is on and a dug well (with some hauling of buckets) supplies water when electric is out.

Part of me hates the disruption caused by the storms but another side of me is relieved to have "test runs" of the various preperations we have been putting in place.  I also realize that if the storm had come a bit further north it would not have been a test run and that pesently many people are still in a perilous situation.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 84
No Preparation for Evacuation

I'm pretty well situated for in-home sheltering (whole house natural gas generator, ample back up food supplies, etc,).  However, I realized that I am totally unprepared for the need to evacuate my home and neighborhood.  Watching the tragedy of Sandy, and the necessity for so many people to leave their homes for higher and drier ground made me aware of the need for a pretty substantial "bug out" kit.  Living in northern Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron poses the risk of forest fires and tornados.  (We can shelter in place nicely for ice storms).  Fires and tornados could be total destruction situations, necessitating relocation for an extended period of time.   Keeping our cars' fuel tanks topped at all times seems like a first step.  Secondly, putting a supply of pet food in the car trunks might be a next, followed by . . . .  I'm going to have to start a list and figure out where to put the stuff all together for a quick get away.  Any suggestions will be appreciated, or links to the sections on this site which address not-in-place sheltering.

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 4 2012
Posts: 561
go bag ideas

Hi Kathy,

One of the things I do to keep myself ready for an unexpected evacuation is to keep my backpack with a few things from my camping gear in my vehicle. It has some clothing & essentials & first aid stuff to get me through short term chaos. I also put in there one of those containers of "Greens" that you can add to water to make a smoothie - they keep well with a long shelf life, minimal space and you just need to mix it with water. (I also have a small water filter and bottle with it) It is not gourmet, but you will survive in the short term and get the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep you going. The bonus thing with the backpack as a storage container is if transportation is not available I can hike to where I need to get and bring my supplies with me. It works for me. smiley

growmakestore13's picture
growmakestore13
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2012
Posts: 6
Other Grab bag ideas

Hi Kathy,

We have two grab and go bags that are large duffle bags with wheels on one end (Costco - about $45 each). The straps can be made up to use as a backpack. These bags have different compartments in which I designate certain things, one is for first aid, another for water purification excetera. I have a portable camp stove with butane cartridges, two different water purification systems, a collapsible portapotty (for over a 5 gallon bucket), a change of warm hiking clothes, extensive first aid kit, sleeping bags, a tent, flashlights that you shake to charge, a handcrank lantern which can also charge my cell phone. Some MRE's, camp food and walkie talkies, among other things. I have worked on amassing these items over several years, but it can be done quickly by going to camping/outdoors stores and online merchants (google individual items - The Ready Store and Emergency Essentials did a lot of my outfitting)

When I lived in LA at the base of the San Gabriel mountains, we experienced forest fires. I had my truck packed with these essentials plus the following: a bin of all of our photo albums, a small file with important papers (birth cert, bank numbers, insurance policy, etc.), my jewelry box and a small suitcase of clothes. Everything else, I realized, could be replaced. I think the photo albums were my most precious items, as I am sure they are for others. I keep all my photos in one spot for this very reason. I also have a premade checklist for all of the above so that I can leave in ten minutes or less and not be stressed out trying to think of everything. If you have children, try to have a bag for each of them plus some analog toys they like. 

Have fun!

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2237
Lesson learned: make sure elderly parents will be ok

Leading up to Sandy, the forecasters were thinking we (rural Central NYS) might get hit with the aftermath.  Thanks to already being atuned to prepping, I didn't waste time wondering "if" the storm would hit us,but instead just assessed what needed to be done (to get better prepared) and did it.  Thank goodness for that, because when I got to the big hunting/camping store early that morning, people were out in their cars waiting for it to open, and the generators, lanterns,  etc were already running out fast.

More than anything, I spent time getting my elderly (but still independent) mom prepared.  She lives in an apartment complex for adults over 55, that caters to active older people.  We were warned that trees could come down and block streets (so I might not be able to get to her for a few days), and that power could be out for several days.  So I made sure she had what she would need if we couldn't get to her for a week: back-up food in her cupboards, several gallons of water, bright battery-powered lanterns with LOTS of back up batteries, and extra warm blankets.  I also knew, from all my reading here, to ask her if she needed any of her meds refilled.  This was important, because she had open heart surgery a couple of years ago, and takes medicine for her heart every day.  It turned out she still had enough for a little over a week.  My mom didn't think the pharmacy would refill it early given that, but when she called and explained why, they did refill it.  So I have to tell you, it did give me extra peace of mind to know that if the storm had taken us out of commission for longer than anticipated, that my mom was all set with her vital medicine.

I also made sure all my siblings who live out of state knew what my preps had been for our mom, so if they couldn't get a hold of us for a few days, they would know she had the basics she would need.

For myself, I just made sure the 'frig was stocked (already had back-up food and water), made sure the car was full of gas, and bought and filled an extra gas can "just in case".  Oh, and I actually got my battery-powered lanterns out of hiding, got them loaded with batteries, and had them where we'd need them in the house if the power went out.

As it turns out, we were lucky, and the storm went south of us for the most part.  I had a limb fall and knock down a fence, but that was it.  But it was certainly a wake up call preparation-wise, and my heart goes out to the people who did get hit with the brunt of the storm.  But it did make me aware that I needed to think beyond my family at home, to make sure all my loved ones (and in particular my older mom) had the basic preps.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 84
Westcoastjan and

Westcoastjan and Growmakestore13,

Thank you both so much for the suggestions.  I realize that I have a lot of stuff from sailing, like a portable propane stove (left over from previous boats) that I can use in a relocation situation.  I hadn't thought of photos until seeing the heartbreaking segment on the news about the woman going through the wreckage of her home on Staten Island looking for family photos.  It'd be easy enough to store the albums AND important papers in a grab and go spot, instead of spread all over the house as they are now. 

Thanks to your ideas, I can begin to assemble stuff for two scenarios:  The large duffle bags for the "lucky to be able to use the car" scenario, and the backpack in case of having to evacuate on foot. 

One question:  What are "Greens" and where do you get them?

Thanks again.

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 4 2012
Posts: 561
What are "Greens"

Hi Kathy,

There are a myriad of products out there, with "Greens" being one of them. It seems that in the last few years the market has exploded with more brands. They are for the most part protein powders that are used to make nutritional shakes. One of my favourites is Vega One, you can learn about it by going to the link below.

http://myvega.com/products/vega-one-shake/features-benefits

Here is a link for "Greens Multi"

http://www.nationalnutrition.ca/detail.aspx?ID=869

I like them for emergency uses as they have long shelf lives, store easily, and will provide the necessary nutrition. I usually have a few containers of them on hand to supplement my deep pantry. When I use one up I just go buy another one and put it into the rotation. I keep a small, unopened one in my go bag, with a few Power Bars and a package of mixed dried fruit. Again, I rotate them periodically to ensure freshness. That will be enough to get me through an "unexpected evacuation", which is a given for me out here, as one never knows when an earthquake or other calamity might hit, and more importantly, where I might be when it hits. There are no guarantees I will be at home near all of my emergency gear and supplies. So the go bag stays in my vehicle. I also have emergency cash stashed in there too (shhhhhhh!) wink in case power is out. As we are seeing in the Sandy impacted areas, having cash can get you much needed supplies when the grid is down.

A note re valuable photos: having them backed up to a flash drive or other storage medium which can be kept in a little fire/water proof safe, or offsite, is a lot easier than lugging around photo albums. For good measure you can also take digital photos of your insured belongings and put that on the flash drive too. It will make it a lot easier to process your insurance claims. If you don't have digital format or your own scanner, there are businesses that will scan your photos for you and put them on a flash drive or CD for storage. For those precious memories it is well worth doing.

I hope this helps Kathy. Having a ready go bag is a stress reliever for me, and I think you will find the same. Good luck.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 84
Incredibly Helpful Tips

westcoastjan,

Thank you for the links and the enormously helpful tips.  Just as I'm late in giving much thought to the need to evacuate my home, I've thought very little about being away from home and not being able to access necessary supplies and resources.  I fully agree with you on preparations being a huge stress reliever.  Thanks so much for your help.

dickd's picture
dickd
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 2 2011
Posts: 14
Great idea for a discussion, Adam!

Amanda wrote:  " My nervousness was the "hole" in my preparations -- I'd like to ideally be able to weather inconveniences and crises without anxiety."

I was surprised to learn that so many on this site are dependent on petroleum fuels and electricity and bottled water!  But that must be a function of where you live and your lifestyle i.e. still having the need to travel to your work.

We only discovered "Crash Course" a year ago but we have been actively pursueing preparedness for many years.  We were among the first to see Mt St Helens erupt (from our front porch!) and our area is subject to 3 ft deep snows and power outages most every winter.  Our area has many who are preparing for various events and we have recently begun  a local "community".  However we are still learning and it's great to read how others have prepared.  In the last year we have:

- stored dried foods - enough for a year;

- built and begun using a 48ft x 20ft polytunnel green house;

- fenced and planted a 1/2 acre garden in addition to our little house garden and 1/2 acre tree nursery

- cut and split and stored enough wood to last at least 11 years

- drilled  a second well and installed a second gasoline generator

- realized that a gas generator has limitations so we installed solar panels with backup batteries and a propane auto-home generator with 320 gal propane tank.  This redundancy we felt was necessary to be certain of having water (for our use as well as irrigation) and to be certain of not losing our freezers and refrigerator power.  Also the federal tax credit and WA state incentives made this large investment a good financial investment we believe.

- as a further backup we have a camper truck that is self-contained.

So "why" you might ask?  Because we wanted to retire with peace-of-mind and we felt this money would be better spent NOW than later when it will probably cost a lot more and we will be on more limited income.

We are now retired and, thanks much to CM, we are sleeping very well at night! :)

PS.  A generator is only good for a limited emergency and only as long as fuel is available.  I note some rotate their gas but I've got over 500 gals in a tank and do not rotate it on a regular basis - the main thing is to keep a gas container full so that no moisture can get in; also you can add stabilizer for longer storage.  I feel certain it will keep well for several years.  I also use 50 gal drums for diesel for my tractor.  Gas and diesel have been stored in many parts of the world for very long periods in closed drums.  Alaska aviators have depended on this since the 1920's.

glad to hear all of our Group has come through Sandy ok.

dick d

 

garystamper's picture
garystamper
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 25 2010
Posts: 14
One BIG hole....

We have everything in place here in western North Carolina and are very satisfied with our preps to date...except for what I'm finding to be the single biggest probem: community! We've been working on it for three years, but people just don't seem to be very motivated. If there's a bright side to Sandy, maybe it will help to awaken more people.

Other than that, our biggest problem is that, our solar kicks in seamlessly and we can't tell when the power goes out. Anyone know where I can find a "nite-lite" type unit that will beep when the power goes out? I'll plug into a socket that goes dead when the power goes off....

Best to all of you,

Gary

jasonw's picture
jasonw
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2011
Posts: 1018
Outage Alarm

Hey Gary - you might try something like this to notify you when an outage occurs:

Reliance Controls THP207 Plug-In Power Failure Alarm with LED Flashlight

I have a few outage flashlights that come on when the power goes out - so light is my only indicator.  Hope this helps.

Jason

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Just fine

Lost power for 16 hours - it was no big deal for me this time, thankfully, though I was prepared nonetheless. I had a "Crash course" last October when I lost power for an entire week.

If there's anything I gained from this storm, it's that my decision to move to a small town was confirmed. Densely populated cities are difficult to manage when a crisis hits, as we saw last week. I also read something startling - everyday, and this was before the storm, pumps in NYC are pumping water out of tunnels such as subway tunnels. That should set off alarm bells right there as far as sustainability.

I'm keeping a close eye on the next storm - this could be salt on wounds.

garystamper's picture
garystamper
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 25 2010
Posts: 14
Outage flashlightsThanks, jason....looks perfect!

Thanks, Jason...Looks perfect!

I'm legally replacing our utility company's Smart Meter with my own analog meter next week, and the power from the utility will be down for a while. This reminds me that I need to run power-down tests, perhaps for a few days, to see what the limits of my PV are. While I dislike surprises, my wife hates them! :)

Gary

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Really important, making sure elderly family are prepared
pinecarr wrote:

More than anything, I spent time getting my elderly (but still independent) mom prepared.  She lives in an apartment complex for adults over 55, that caters to active older people.  We were warned that trees could come down and block streets (so I might not be able to get to her for a few days), and that power could be out for several days.  So I made sure she had what she would need if we couldn't get to her for a week: back-up food in her cupboards, several gallons of water, bright battery-powered lanterns with LOTS of back up batteries, and extra warm blankets.  I also knew, from all my reading here, to ask her if she needed any of her meds refilled.  This was important, because she had open heart surgery a couple of years ago, and takes medicine for her heart every day.  It turned out she still had enough for a little over a week.  My mom didn't think the pharmacy would refill it early given that, but when she called and explained why, they did refill it.  So I have to tell you, it did give me extra peace of mind to know that if the storm had taken us out of commission for longer than anticipated, that my mom was all set with her vital medicine.

I also made sure all my siblings who live out of state knew what my preps had been for our mom, so if they couldn't get a hold of us for a few days, they would know she had the basics she would need.

Thanks so much for posting this, Carrie.  My parents are (luckily) still quite young and healthy, in their mid-60s, but the time will come when making sure they have what they need will be part of my "prep list" as well as making sure we have what my kids and I need.  It's great to hear that the pharmacist was willing to refill your mother's med in anticipation of a possible delay.  I also love that you made sure your siblings knew she was set -- anything we can do to help others have peace of mind in a potential crisis is a positive contribution, freeing up their efforts and energy to helping themselves and others more effectively.

In considering holiday gifts, some people make "prep kits" for their adult siblings or children...a senior-friendly prep kit would also make a great gift for aging parents.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments