Preparing for Power Outages?

Page 11 of 13  

wrote:

didn't a large part of some city burn down from a kicked-over kerosene lamp? Chicago or SanFran..
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Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Per Jonathan Grobe:

I favor LED flashlights. The one I carry in my bag will go at least 150 hours on 4 AA cells.
My reasoning is that when we used candles/lanterns we were using technology that we seldom used. Therefore out competence with same would have been minimal at best. Think about somebody who only drives a car once a year..... Since the consequences of misuse are grave with any kind of flame, it seems like battery lights are the sensible choice for occasional short-term use.
--
PeteCresswell

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I discovered a couple of years ago during a power outage at my parents' that the disposable chemical light sticks put out a pretty good light. I was able to easily navigate my way around the house, use the bathroom, etc. I suspect one could be used for reading if held close enough. Incredibly, they were still going the next morning. They're pretty cheap, as well. I bought several at a sporting goods store for my home.
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(PeteCresswell) wrote:

Every time we have a long outage in my fire departments service area we run a candle caused fire. In a city of only nineteen thousand souls that is a very high rate of candle caused fires. We campaign against the use of open flame lights during power outages because of our experience.
That said the previous posters statement that the lack of familiarity is what makes them dangerous rings true to me. Be advised that it heresy for a firefighter to say this but I think that combustible liquid fueled lanterns and solid candle lanterns could be used safely. The thing I will argue against is bringing any flammable liquid fuel inside your home. On that basis Kerosene is OK in a non breakable reservoir lantern but coleman fuel, white gas, naphtha or any other fuel that will readily ignite in it's liquid state without a wick or preheating should not be brought inside your home. The Britelyt genuine Petromax lanterns are a wonderful disaster preparedness light because they will burn almost any combustible or flammable liquid from bio diesel to alcohol. Plan ahead for the use of lanterns and have a safe place to hang them out of the reach of children and away from common combustibles. You can also have fixed propane and natural gas mantle lanterns anywhere you have a gas supply. -- Tom Horne
Well we aren't no thin blue heroes and yet we aren't no blackguards to. We're just working men and woman most remarkable like you.
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I would recommend wall mounts for kerosene lanterns. That eliminates the possibility of pet or child caused tip overs.
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Per Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT:

Suspicions. . . . . . . . *COMFIRMED*
Thanks for the validation.
--
PeteCresswell

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I like this LED lantern:
http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId6371318&memberId 500226
If you set it on the table and put your book on table there's plenty of light to read by. At max brightness it runs 40 hours on a set of D cells, if you dim it you can leave it on for 12 *days*.
-Brian
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If you are having ice storms, your first necessity is heat. I have a few cords of dry firewood in a woodshed, and a 30-year-old Fisher Mamma Bear. It heats the whole house nicely. There are several other options for heat, like portable kerosene heaters, or a generator wired up to run a furnace. Obviously, electric heat is not a good idea during a power outage.
Your second need (some would say first) is water. Without water, your toilet won't work. Basic sanitation is a necessity of life. If you are on a municipal water system, you are in pretty good shape, except in cases of earthquake. I am rural and get water from a well that isn't reliable in the summer, so I set up a 2500 gallon cistern to store whatever water is available. The bottom of the cistern is level with the window sills, so during power outages it provides gravity flow to fill the toilets. If we want a shower, we have to fire off a generator to run the pump.
Another critical need is a survival kit. 30 days of any medication. Gloves. Emergency ponchos and space blankets. Emergency flares and fire lighters. Water purification tablets. Keep it in your car. There's no guarantee that you will be able to get home immediately. Be ready to take care of yourself wherever you are.
For food, just stock a pantry with dried and canned foods. A camp stove will do all the cooking you need. I have a travel trailer and a camp kitchen with a propane barbecue and 2-burner propane hot plate. During the last big outage, I never used them. We just cooked on top of the wood stove. Pot roast. Yum. Coffee. Pancakes. Chili. Stew. Sloppy Joes. A manual drip coffee maker and a hand coffee grinder are very nice. I bought the coffee grinder after being reduced to smashing coffee beans with a claw hammer one icy morning. As a backup, learn to make cowboy coffee.
Light is handy, particularly for winter outages. If you have pets, locate any flames where the pets can't knock a lamp or candle over and burn your house down. I have candle sconces and wall mount kerosene lamps to provide light, all of which hang 6' off the floor, well above the height of wagging doggy tails. For a porch light, I hang a kerosene storm lantern by the front door. It's cheery.
Aladdin lamps are bright, but they burn HOT! They can't be near a ceiling, or they will set the ceiling on fire. Around animals, they can't be left unattended. Fluorescent lanterns put out a lot of light, and can be found that run off of D cells.
One of my favorite lights is an LED clip-on book light, that provides plenty of light for reading. It provides about 300 hours of light from a couple AA batteries.
Generators are handy things. They make electricity when the delivery guy doesn't show up. I think most people over-do the generator thing. I don't even bother to get a generator out until the second day of an outage. I have one generator big enough to run the electric water heater or the well pump, but not both at once. I heat a tank of water, turn the tank off and the pump on, and take a shower. A shower is luxury. It sure beats a sponge bath. The big generator eats a gallon and a quarter of gas an hour. For general electrical power, I have a little 2-cycle 1200 watt generator that will run 4.5 hours on a gallon of fuel. 1200 watts is plenty to run the fridge and freezer, some lights, a computer or TV set. It's also so quiet that it doesn't irritate me or my neighbors. I think it cost $149.
Most of the time, I just hark back to the 19th century and do without electricity. A couple hours of electricity a day is plenty to keep the freezer frozen and take showers. The rest of the time, my house is snug and warm without electricity.
Other things that are handy:
A NOAA weather radio. A GOOD battery powered radio. I have a Realistic DX-440 that is super. A battery powered travel alarm clock. Battery powered carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Batteries. Alkaline batteries have a shelf life measured in years, so stock up. Lots of candles. I keep 40 or 50 on a shelf in the garage. Lamp oil. I keep a gallon of the scentless paraffin oil handy, and can substitute another gallon of kerosene if things get tough. A hard wired telephone extension or two. I have a couple princess phones that I plug in at opposite ends of the house. A gasket kit for the generator, if you know how to repair small engines. Several good books you haven't read.
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I was surprised at how much more efficient my new generator is. The old unit was a 5.5kW splash lubricated flat head. My replacement is a 8.5kW pressure lubricated overhead cam engine. I'm assuming the major difference in fuel efficiency is the change from flat head to overhead valves. The old unit burned a little over a gallon an hour at "typical" load - usually near full load. I run a little more load on the new unit and it's burning .55 gallons per hour.
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Matthew Beasley wrote:

That is pretty impressive for that size of generator. Would you mind sharing what brand and model it is.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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Wacker GS 8.5 It has a B&S 16 HP vanguard
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That's similar in size to a Miller or Lincoln mid-size engine-drive arc welder. For that size engine (16-20 hp) compare the pricing to a Miller Bobcat or Lincoln Ranger and you have an arc welder along with power generation.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (IBM5081) says...

I have heard that arc welders put out really dirty power because they use brushes instead of the brushless rotating field design that home generators use.
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(IBM5081) says...

Brush generators usually put out much better power than brushless units do - at least the low cost quadniture excited brushless units. Some of the welder generators put out dirty power becuase they are inverter units that use cheap square wave (AKA modified sine wave) inverters.
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Just a coda on the power outage prep thread:
I stopped by the Goodwill Last Chance store yesterday, and bought a whole shopping bag full of candles for $1. If you are not familiar with Goodwill, they have outlet stores where they keep things for 24 hours before they are trashed or recycled. It's stuff that didn't sell in the regular store, so it's pretty much "make an offer."
Anyway, I bought about 35 lbs of candles for $1. About half the weight was pillar candles, and about half was tapers. Thanks to this little foray, I now have about 80 or 90 tapers on hand. I guess now I need to keep my eyes open for a candelabra.
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Larry Caldwell wrote: ...

I've got a couple of packs of "emergency" candles in my kit somewhere but to be honest, they'll be the last things I light up in an emergency. Good flashlights are not very expensive, won't set the drapes on fire and they don't set off smoke alarms or leave soot on the ceiling.
Anthony
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@nothing.like.socal.rr.com (Anthony Matonak) says...

Everybody to their own, I guess. I find flashlights to be garish and unpleasant, good for getting down a muddy path at night, but hardly the sort of thing I want to use in my house. I haven't set the drapes on fire or put soot on anything yet, and I have never seen a candle set off a smoke detector.
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On Wed, 14 Mar 2007 16:59:09 -1000, in misc.consumers.frugal-living Maren Purves

In a local town this year the power went out, old woman lit a candle then fell and dropped the candle, house caught on fire and she could not find the phone in the dark. Her house burned down. Very sad but true story.
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| | In a local town this year the power went out, old woman lit a candle then fell | and dropped the candle, house caught on fire and she could not find the phone in | the dark. Her house burned down. Very sad but true story.
The house was buring with a dark flame?
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On Wed, 14 Mar 2007 20:59:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

Fires are normally considerate :-) They try to give you enough light, that you can see to fine the phone and dial.
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