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On Your Mark, Get Set, Prep! “Some random thoughts from a long time prepper and hurricane pro”

In the item Florence’s Evac To-Do List – Short Form: “If you didn’t start last week just head for the hills and pray.”   AD commenter Marcia offers these insights.

Marica, September 13, 2018: Some random thoughts from a long time prepper and hurricane pro (did Fran et al. Down East and even did Ike in Cincinnati!). The first of which is that preparing for a hurricane or a full-blown Woodpile apocalypse is not something one does today. It is a lifelong project that at which one gets incrementally better having experienced multiple events, and keeping up with changing times (new & better flashlights, etc.). So while everything on your list is good and reasonable, it’s also pretty well known to folks who pay attention, and beyond the scope of those who are just waking up.

(Aside– about the coin on the ice. Under these circumstances, just where is the home owner going to be but at home? Won’t he know that the power has gone out?)

I have family, too, in the area– daughter, two-year-old grandson, 80-year-old mother. Never been so proud of daughter as I was yesterday. Called to say the only thing she had left to do was clean the house and do some laundry. That’s one of my pet peeves about preparedness lists. Few– this one being an exception– attend to real life. Put stuff away! In the dark, who wants to trip over toys? Clear surface areas. Have a full supply of clean towels and undies. A place for everything and everything in its place.

Here’s another peeve. Saturday husband and I will host a tailgate for about 120. Everywhere there will be portable generators quietly humming and running portable satellite dishes, TVs, crockpots. (I’m talking about an SEC tailgate and if you’ve ever been, you know what I mean.) So if watching ESPN Gameday on TV while you are *at a game* is important enough to have a generator, so is life. Take some responsibility. All you really need is one big enough to power the fridge. Save up your egg money and just get one.

(Re: the lifelong project. We are pretty well prepared. Our one outstanding issue is a whole house generator. Working on it.)

Redundancy is key. How many ways do you have to make coffee? Our goal is to go from normal to without power|water|propane normal as efficiently as possible. So coffee matters. Which means forms of energy matter. How many ways can you boil water?

Redundancy. Get a weather radio that has, in addition to AA batteries, a lithium battery, plug-in, and solar, a hand crank. Just in case.

Heh. Redundancy. We did a remodel a few years ago. Here on the Farm we use propane which means if the power’s out, we still have running hot water. But– just in case– we installed an electric hot water heater in the new bathroom. Just in case!

Preppers got a bad rap a few years ago on account of some over the top folks. But it is impossible to understate the value of being prepared. If you are prepared, you are an asset. And if it’s an attitude that needs to be running in the background, you’ll be less likely to be caught off guard. Here’s and example. Hurricane Ike (2008, just three years after Katrina) approached the Gulf states and so every single freaking Duke Electricity truck went to the Gulf. And when 75mph winds hit Cincy & the lights went out, there we were. Some were without power for three weeks. The tales of deep freezer waste are legendary. Now, Cincinnati’s not exactly without it’s weather issues. So if you have a deep freezer, wouldn’t you just naturally ask yourself if you have a way to keep the thing running in the event of __ ?

Also– get a couple of those Ankar battery chargers for your devises. They come in handy. And a pocket knife. And be sure you have a hand held can opener. General rule: for every kitchen small appliance, have a hand held equivalent. Redundancy is key.

Okay. That’s it. Sorry to prattle on & on but this is one of my favorite topics. And now… back to tailgating preps!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gordon Scott September 13, 2018, 12:04 PM

    These are a good supplement to the big list. The small generator–this is good. So is having the gas in it be the expensive no-ethanol stabilized kind. Yeah, it’s $8/gallon. But your generator will start when you need it.

    I’d like to have the whole-house generator, but it’s not in the budget. But I can afford a $300 small generator to keep the freezers cold. I think my kitchen is well-equipped, and it is. I have propane stoves I can deploy. I even have a little collapsible Coleman oven that works on a propane stove. I can bake biscuits. But I just realized I don’t have a way to grind coffee beans by hand! My parents did, but it was just a pretty antique…until you need it.

    Natural gas usually makes it through a disaster, but I need to have a way to power my furnace fans. So I need a switch that lets me plug it into that generator. Not much power is needed, but it won’t do anything without that fan operating first. Meanwhile, what about a wood stove? There are really fancy ones that will heat your house, cook your food and even heat water for bathing. There are also lesser, smaller ones that would keep the house warm and allow a bit of cooking on top. Of course, one needs a supply of wood.

  • Barry September 13, 2018, 1:31 PM

    If your car or truck has a heavy-duty alternator, you can also wire an inverter to the vehicle battery to convert the DC to 110 AC voltage. Run the engine at a fast idle. I have a gas furnace but the blower and thermostat require power. Fire up the vehicle, run an extension cord from the inverter to the furnace room, unplug furnace from wall and connect to the inverter. Be sure to account for the turn-on surge as well as continuous running watts of the device(s) attached to the inverter.

  • Rick September 13, 2018, 1:45 PM

    A whole house generator is a luxury like a Rolex watch. I’ve installed a few over the years and typically one that is really “whole house” is going to cost you $25K plus. The plus part will be the 1000 gallon propane tank with 800 gallons of propane which may stay in the tank for the next 20 years unused. A hurricane is an emergency situation and a small, mine is 7,000 kw, generator will do just fine. It’s a matter of switching circuits on and off as needed. We installed a mini-split AC in our bedroom so we have a cool place to sleep and can run the refrigerator, TV, microwave, well pump, etc one or two at a time with no problems at all. I wired my panel for the generator so it will power everyting that has a breaker turned on. Easy and cheap.

  • ghostsniper September 13, 2018, 2:25 PM

    Regarding generators, a $300 one will not work on your fridge or anything else that has a motor – surge. Get a Troybilt 3550-5550 for about $600, then get the propane conversion kit. Also, you have to have ballz to start those things cause the rope must be pulled upwards, so get a couple cans of ether starting fluid. Thank me later.

    Prepping is a long range continuous goal. If you drink milk, clean the empty containers and fill with filtered water (you ARE filtering your potable water, right?) and add 3 drops of unflavored bleach to each, tighten the cap. I have at least 40 gallons stored this way since 4 years ago. Store in such a way that dust doesn’t accumulate on top.

    Forget the wind up stuff, for a radio get the Sony ICF-S10MK2 AM-FM and a box of the Amazon brand AA batteries and be done with it. Yes, get the solar charger (USB) for all of the gadgets and zip tie it to a curtain rod in a south facing window. Every red blooded american should have a huge assortment of various length and weight of zip ties on hand at all times.

    Repack everything in the freezer as tight as possible, fill the voids with milk bottle water containers, see above. When the power goes out the bottles will act as a cold sink to keep everything cold longer. Is your grill tank filled with propane? How about the spare?

    If you live in a cold area get a propane fireplace installed. Or a wall mounted ProCom propane heater. They require no electricity (except AA batteries for the remotes) and will keep you warm when there is no juice.

    Get an Ozark Trials small propane 1 burner stove at Walmart for about $20, and have about 10 of the dark green propane bottles for it. If you’re a mud addict have a couple jars of instant on hand. It won’t kill you, I promise.

    Did we mention flashlights? 2 words. LED. AA. That’s all you need. Dorcey makes decent cheap flashlights. So does everybody else, cept SureFire. So get em. Also, put extreme restrictions on opening the freezer-refrigerator doors. It’s no longer a free for all at the door. Know what you’re getting out and do it in 2 seconds. Wasted cold air means wasted food means wasted money.

    Barry, above, is right. A 500 watt inverter, connected to your vehicle will keep your 110v furnace blower working. Turn off the breakers first to keep from back loading and getting killed. Use a 12 ga wire.

    Have simple foods to eat. Keep your gourmet self in check. Ramen is your friend and you can get them for about 4 for a buck at Wally. Stay away from stuff that will make you thisty. (pretzels) If you have neglected to raise your kids properly now is the time that you get payed back for that negligence. You’ll see.

    Homes in flood planes that have been built in the past 15 years have either 200mph windows and doors or built-in or portable storm shutters. You know, those PITA big metal things in the garage that are covered with spider webs and all the christmas stuff? You do have a Ryobi 18v drill and all the proper bits, right? THINK!

    If you are within the eye or close enough, you’ll be terrified. You’ll see this earth act as you’ve never seen before. Stay away from all exterior wall penetrations, but look frequently (do NOT open any windows or doors) so that you can see if there are any tree limbs through the roof or lawn chairs blown through your unshuttered windows. Find out where the girders are in your roof (almost all truss systems have girders) and do not be under them. They are already under a concentrated load and 200mph wind will push their capability. Imagine 40k lbs of roof shingles on top of your dead ass.

    Turn your vehicles around so they face the street and back then right up against the garage door, just an inch away from it. Garage doors are cheap, large expanses of thin metal or fiberglass. The vehicles will keep them from giving way, allowing the outside in, equalizing the air pressure between the outside and the inside, and making your whole house explode. You’re dealing with an overwhelmingly HUGE pressure system like you’ve never imagined. Do NOT engage it, it will win. Best you can do is try to get along with it, by reducing it’s impact upon you by using common sense, logic, and a little bit of luck.

    Be careful in the aftermath. It will seem like hell. Resist the urge to get in your ride and rubber neck. Stay at home, clean up your AO and shoot the fuck out of looters. Yes, you negligent neighbor that didn’t prep like you will want your stuff. Give him the butt of the gun the first time, then the muzzle the next time.

    Your generator will attract attention and everyone will know you are prepped. Use it sparingly, you don’t know when you’ll be able to refuel. Do NOT run it in an enclosed space. It will kill you. When you are sleeping. You can get a 5000btu window AC at Walmart for about $150. You’ll thank the heavens. Yes, you can sleep with all that racket.

    If you are in a hot area, which is where hurricanes live, you’ll find cold water and ice are your salvation. Your hunger may be gone but those 2 things will be your new god. Have em, and have plenty. And insecticides. Mosquitos are irritating and down right irritating when you have no choice but to deal with them. Citronella candles DO work, if you use them properly. Place them up wind. The bigger the better.

    Sorry for any typos, hopefully this makes sense. Sort of a “stream of thought” typing exercise. There’s a lot more to prepping but this is some of the basic stuff regarding hurricanes which I am an expert at, unfortunately, or fortunately, depends on your point of view, as Dylan said in Tangled up in blue.

  • Dr. Jay September 13, 2018, 4:14 PM

    We lost everything in the 2010 Nashville, TN flood. Prepared or not, it really didn’t matter. We did enjoy a brief stay with another songwriter (who put us up for five days as we waited for the flood water to recede), and his wife: a large woman, great cook, an opera-lover with a strong foreign accent and a fondness for saying “Oh, oh, spaghetti-o” . . . Vaya con dios. Ciao!

  • Gordon Scott September 13, 2018, 4:16 PM

    Thanks, guys. I had forgotten about inverters. I have one or two somewhere. I will dig them out.

    We had a big windstorm a few years ago. Some folks lost power for days. I had a 5KW generator for my catering business, and loaned it to one friend with a mom on oxygen, then to another when the former got power back. I later sold it. Time to shop for another, something more suitable.

    Back about 12 years ago when I worked in, but not for, The Home Depot, some guy came in asking about whole house generators. I walked him through the choices and options, including installation. He wound up buying one for each of his four kids’ cabins, and two for his own. You’d think the store manager might have bought me lunch at Taco Bell for that, but he didn’t even thank me.

  • ghostsniper September 13, 2018, 6:01 PM

    Generac “whole house” generators: Expensive up front, expensive in the long run.
    Unless you are very wealthy, it just isn’t a viable expense.
    Several thousand and up for the unit, and the installation will be even more.
    And on going maintenance expenses.
    You could easily pay $10k up front and then at least another $1k per year and that’s if nothing goes wrong. Like I said, spensive. The are more reasonable alternatives for people whose last name is not Gates or Bezos.

    Most houses are not pre-designed for generators so to connect one into it’s grid after the fact is almost impossible. You have to understand how generators work, and houses are wired, to understand what I am saying.

    Generac’s typically fire themselves up periodically to insure they stay functioning. If something is wrong and it won’t fire it will send a signal to the office notifying them that there is a problem and you get to reach for the checkbook. Machines aren’t meant to sit idle for long periods. If a generator is not under a load it is idle. Same with engines. Maintenance costs on those things is murder. Murphy has his way and your Generac will piss you off and let you down at the exact wrong time.

    If you don’t know which end of a screwdriver does business a Generac is probably the best you’ll muster, and it’s Murphy consequence. But if you can work a screwdriver your best bet is what I suggested above. You need to learn a little bout house wiring, how circuit breakers work, how generators work, figure out what electrical is the most important in your home, and be prepared to start that thing up every few months, and even connect it to the house and put it through it’s paces. If you aren’t willing to do that than you are wasting your time and money. Just buy some candles and sterno.

    I’ve had my TroyBilt 3500/5500 watt generator for 12 years and it gets fired up about twice a year, sometimes more. It is heavy, maybe 200 lbs, and on wheels. I keep it in my workshop. It has the propane conversion kit and I have at least 4 filled grill tanks at all times. I have never run it long enough to find out how long a tank will last. Unlike regular gas, propane doesn’t go bad. On 5 gallons of regular unleaded gas it will run for about 12 hours, maybe 16, depending on load. The more juice you use the less mpg the generator will get. Just sitting there running with no load it might run 16-20 hours. 5 gal, 12 hours, figure it out. No magic there. Generators really are life savers, and not lifestyle continuers. I paid about $500 for my Troybilt back then so they are probably more now.

    I think it’s 7 hp, I’d hafta look. Takes a fair pair to pull that rope. 3 or 4 pulls and you’ll be breathing. It pulls straight up, not my preference. I’m 6′ and when I get to the end of the rope I am up on my tippy toes. Turn it on, open the choke, pull it slowly til it’s top dead center, spray some ether on that air cleaner, and yank like your life depended on it. Va-room…. if you’re lucky. If not, go back to square one, and pull harder.

  • Gordon Scott September 13, 2018, 7:03 PM

    I know one can purchase a switching system for generator power. It can switch over the whole house, or just certain circuits. The one I saw wasn’t too expensive.

    Yes, Ghost, this was about 11 years ago, but the whole thing with installation was about $55,000. It actually would be higher because these places were all up in the Arrowhead part of MN, a ways from Duluth, so the installers would be getting some windshield money.

    My previous generator pulled sideways, so not as killer as yours. But it took some tugging. I was thinking, “why don’t they have electric start like my Toro Snow Destructor XXL Extreme?” and then I had my “Duh” moment.

  • John The River September 13, 2018, 7:18 PM

    Hey Ghost why didn’t you get the model with electric start??
    (ducks quickly)
    I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Seriously, since I assume you have it under something for protection from falling trees; put a hook for a pulley above it and thread a line with a loop down to the starter rope. Then pull down.
    I have fairly bad back issues (especially working overhead) and always look for a way to fix the challenges life throws me.

    I’m surprised to hear recommendations for Troy Built, my only experience with them was a snowthrower and that was the worse 1K I ever spent.

    Here in the peoples republic, we discovered a way to knock the Florence coverage off the air; a small local gas company blew up almost a hundred houses across three towns. The result is all gas and power has been shut off for about 300K people. (good thing it’s not really cold yet)
    After last winter I was without power for about a total of two weeks, (in four or five days pieces); circumstances of which indicating that the local infra-structure is deteriorating. So I started to look into a emergency power generator. Being a retired Telecom engineer I started with a little better understanding of the issues, but reading this comment stream and the events of this afternoon I’m thinking that spending all that money on a generator and connecting it to natural gas (which I have and got me through last winters outages) might not be terribly clever.
    So propane then, but which generator option is still up in the air.

  • ghostsniper September 13, 2018, 8:02 PM

    Last I looked, it was about $600 for that switching unit. Nice rig but. Again, take a look at how any house has been wired in the last 40 years. It ain’t gonna be easy figuring out what is needed and what ain’t. Bedroom ceiling fan maybe on the same circuit as something you believe is important. House wiring is daisy chained all over the place so pin pointing specific things to connect to the switching unit is more complex than simply wiring it into the panel.

    Quality control has been in the shitter for decades now so it’s easy to get a bad taste in your mouth for an entire product line simply because your initial purchase was fucked. The reverse is true too. My Troybilt has been good so I give them a thumbs up. There are probably better deals out there. I have heard nothing but good things about Honda generators except that they are very expensive, and small. Seriously John, get a can of starting fluid the next time you’re in town and before starting that awful Troybilt thrower. We used that stuff to start big 6×6 army trucks in germany in -20 weather. All combustion engines require spark, air, and fuel but ether tips the scale in your favor cause it almost ignites itself it is so volatile. In the event my Troy won’t start I’ll alligator clip my 800watt (I think) inverter to the battery in my blazer, run my 12ga commercial grade 100′ extension cord from the inverter to the mechanical room and using the custom wiring sockets have our 110v propane furnace blower working like a charm, after I cut the main breaker. My generator came with a 30′ extension line with 3 110v outlets on the end and I will use that to keep the fridge running and a few lights on extension cords. Just remembered. Do an amazon search for a 4 D battery LED lantern that costs less than $30. We’ve had ours for about 8 years, have used it at least 20 times thru extended power outages (downed ice wires) and it still has the original Duracell batteries. It puts out so much light that I had to wrap foil around 3/4 of the lens as it kept blinding us.

    I knew when I moved to the forest and away from society our lives were my responsibility and in a harsh environment this is no place for sissies. I had no plan or anyone to give me any extended advice so I did research and spent a lot of quality time with my own brain figuring it out. 12 years later we are still alive, flourishing, and look forward to winters and it’s respite from the hot summers. But I don’t let my defenses down and am constantly researching better ways and trying different things. If I get lazy and sit on my ass it could be fatal, and dying ain’t much of a livin’ as Josie Wales said.

  • John The River September 13, 2018, 8:58 PM

    Well, a $600 switching unit is a fine and amazing thing I’m sure. But a simple transfer switch to throw house power from the street to the generator isn’t very expensive and to balance the load it kinda is up to you to go the breaker box and flip off what you don’t need. Aren’t sure? Flip everything off and turn on what you need one breaker at a time.
    Ether, yup! Never go without. But if I have to use it, something is getting overhauled.

    Last winter in the power outages, I kept the house a comfortable 62 degrees by the simple expedite of putting all my cast iron pots and skillets on the gas stove and putting a low flame underneath. The iron stayed at 150-180 degrees and the house was comfortable. With stone counters on each side, safe enough to leave on all night.

  • Gordon Scott September 14, 2018, 12:54 AM

    Keep talking, guys. I’m learning.

    I can remember my dad talking to a guy from the local electrical company back around 1968 or so. This guy said he had toured some of the infrastructure back east. It was bad, he said. Old, poorly maintained, vulnerable to failure a dozen ways. 50 years ago, and I doubt things have changed. Much of the electrical service in Minneapolis is in similar shape, now.

    Isn’t there supposed to be something in a gas meter that holds back overpressure? Of course if the overpressure vents into the home, then you’re screwed. Mine is like that. The meter is inside the basement.

    But we will force the users to pay for these fricking solar installations all over the place. I saw one the other day. It looked like about 20 acres of solar panels, and I could tell by the small size of the transformers coming out of it that it wouldn’t power much of anything, and then only on a sunny day.
    Global warming is the biggest scam in history.

  • ghostsniper September 14, 2018, 4:36 AM

    Gordon – it’s called a “Regulator” and yes, I believe it is at 14lbs of pressure. Regulators should always be mounted on the outside of the house. Propane itself is oderless but the manufacturers put a scent in it so it can be detected. All new appliance installations, unless trunked to an existing regulator, will require a new regulator. Our propane company installed a new regulator on my office 3 years ago when I installed a new ProCom wall heater. They checked my connections and tested everything and then got the heater up and running. For about $135, which I thought was a pretty good deal considering that had to run about 75′ of copper tubing from the tank to the new regulator.

    Getting back to John. Again, if you take the time to sketch your house floorplans on paper and locate ALL electrical fixtures, lights, plugs, switches, fans, etc., then coordinate them fixtures with the breakers in the panel you find overlaps, cross overs, all kinds of stuff. Your generator or inverter may be just big enough to keep your fridge running but if that fridge is trunked onto another circuit, pushing you above the generator/invertor’s capacity, you’ll have no choice but to go to a bigger unit. Rewiring circuits after the fact is almost impossible considering the demolition that will need to be done. Where this can be especially problematic is if you installed a small *freezer* in say, a laundry room and want to get it on the generator but there are other things on that circuit. The freezer has a surge, cause it has a motor, so it will already require a gen that can handle that AND the additional things on that circuit. I may not be explaining this well. The obvious solution, the solution to many problems in a capitalistic society is money. Get the biggest generator there is and same with the transfer switch and turn the juice on to the whole house- cost be dammed! HA!

    **If it’s cold outside just wheel the freezer out on the porch and run a proper extension cord from the generator to it. I have designed a number of very expensive homes where the owners told me up front they want a whole house generator system, then I was able to take consideration for that in the electrical design and the electricians accommodated it. This requires more wiring (home runs) and sub panels and perhaps larger gauge wiring.

  • Marica September 14, 2018, 8:19 AM

    Wow! Just now pausing my tailgate prep activities and saw this. I’m flattered. Thank you, Gerard!

    And what awesome information. A fine display of American ingenuity.

    One more thing– propane regulators will freeze in an icy rain. Who knew?

  • Rick September 14, 2018, 10:57 AM

    Ghost- Sorry, but if you have a 10 year old Troy-Bilt generator yours is one in a million. They are bottom of the line generators sold by the big box stores. Generacs are much better.

    After every hurricane scare here the cheap gensets are all over Craigslist for 2 or 3 hundred bucks. If you’re going to bother, spend a few more dollars and get a Honda, not a cheap genset with a Honda motor but a Honda generator and get the electric start. Hondas are very quiet and as reliable as they come. I don’t keep a battery in mine, I use my jump box so I don’t worry about the battery going bad. I fill at least 10, 5-gallon containers with non-ethanol gas so if I don’t need it I can use it in my mower, pressure washer or my ATV’s. I wired a 240 outlet into my panel just inside the garage door and made an extension cord that reaches to the generator outside the door. If I need the generator I turn the main and all other breakers off, plug the generator in and get it started. Once it’s warmed up a few minutes I switch on the breakers I want right then. Lights, refrigerator, ceiling fans and maybe the TV. The National Electric Code requires that ceiling fixtures be separated from wall outlets and that all circuits in your panel be marked. Typically there will be up to 10 wall outlets on one breaker but that will usually cover several rooms. By switching breakers on and off as needed we can operator everything in the house except the central AC. This method requires you to control what you’re doing but is magnitudes cheaper than any whole house unit.

  • ostinato September 14, 2018, 12:06 PM

    All good comments, just a note: Natural gas pressure used in homes is measured in ounces psi. Water in lbs. psi. Estimate 3-4 ounces gas pressure and hopefully 60 lbs. or more water pressure.

  • ghostsniper September 14, 2018, 2:31 PM

    Rick, agreed, Troybilt isn’t top of the line, but I’m just a poor white share croppers chow and must deal with life as I receive it. As I said, nothing but good about Honda gens, if you can afford them.
    Just remembered, I can rattle off at least a dozen contractors names that use Troybilt gens all the time.

    I have designed a lot of large scale custom homes on the barrier islands off the coast of southwest Florida, for the past 20+ years. Sanibel, Captiva, Useppa, Cayo Costa, Boca Grande, etc. and almost nobody uses Generac. They are known for failures. All of the homes are designed right up front for whole house generators and most use Kohler or Briggs. The least expensive vacant lot on Useppa right now is less than 1/4 acre and will sell for more than $800k. I have designed 3 new homes for that lot over the years and each time the deal falls through.

  • Snakepit Kansas September 14, 2018, 6:56 PM

    Ghost says when things get bad ‘your neighbors will want your stuff”. I’ve tried to explain that to my kids. Once civil order breaks down and people don’t have food, things will get ugly, and fast. We all regularly train with firearms. I reload and have no shortage of ammunition. 9mm, .45ACP, .223REM, .308WIN & 12 gauge. .458WINMAG also but I do not expect marauding elephants although it would be fun to hunt at the zoo.

    My crew might get tired of eating peanuts, tuna and canned peaches, but we won’t go hungry any time soon. I do have a couple extra five liter boxes of cheap red wine! We have refilled a couple dozen of the five liter wine bags with water then put in our coffin deep freeze.

    Sounds like I need to invest in a generator. Thanks to all for the input above. My Dad had a generator installed at his house that runs on natural gas. He is more concerned about his basement flooding by electric sump pumps not running, but it could come in useful in other emergencies.

    There is a wise, experienced and pragmatic group checking in here. Thanks all.

  • ghostsniper September 14, 2018, 7:38 PM

    Careful with that canned stuff Snake.
    Couple weeks ago I opened a can of Dinty Moore stew that was 3 years past the expiration date and it was bad (though the can itself was undamaged) like all the ingredients separated and were bobbing around in rancid water. Perhaps if I had stirred it…but the sight of it turned me off. Should I have stored the can upside down?

  • Rick September 15, 2018, 5:15 AM

    I didn’t mean to imply the Generacs were good, just better than Troy-Builts, Colemans, etc. if a 5k generator is only $500 or $600 bucks it’s what I call a “disposal” generator. It will work after a fashion, loudly, I should add until the day it doesn’t start. Contractors use them for just that reason, cheap and quickly replaced when they are misused, run out of oil or stolen. What I’d really like to have is a 15kw diesel gen set. They are all over eBay and Craiglist at very reasonable prices. They are made to run forever and will do so on very little fuel.

  • Craig September 21, 2018, 2:36 AM

    I’ve been through maybe a dozen hurricanes so here’s my ideas.
    1. Generators: we live fairly close to a hospital so power is restored in our neighborhood quickly (about 36 hours). A generator would be nice but isn’t essential. If I had a deep freezer full of meats I might feel differently.
    2. Clif bars and Starbucks canned double shots of espresso are essential. A few luxuries make you feel better.
    3. Two boxes of roofing nails and two tubes of roofing cement if you have a shingle roof. You won’t be able to find them after the storm.
    4. LED flashlights are a game changer. Bright light, long life. Point them at the ceiling and you have a well-lit room.
    5. Radios: this isn’t 1952. During my first hurricane I dutifully listened to my portable radio for 12 hours and in that time didn’t hear the first sentence of useful, timely information (such as which bridges and roads are closed, where to get ice or even better, dry ice). I did hear the DJs talk endlessly about the damage to their parents’ homes.
    6. Smart phones with a data plan. This was a game changer for me. Cell towers have backup generators so they will be up and running for at least 30 hours after the storm. You get weather alerts, road closures, local disaster information directly from county government emergency response team. Everything you need. And Verizon grants unlimited data in areas hit by a storm.