Preparing for Power Outages?

Page 6 of 13  


I'm served by a co-op. They are very good at trying to keep service on. Note the *trying* becuase there service area is rural and a lot of it is heavily forested. Even underground service can be taken out by landslides or tree root balls lifting the cables when the tree blows over.
They mangle the trees near the main lines three times a year. They also have a program in place to put problem causing lines underground. They rank the sections of overhead line by the number of outages by customers affected times hours of outage. Right now, of the 11 miles from the substation to my house, 3 miles are underground. By the end of the year, it will be 5. 3 more miles are on the "list", but are ranked lower. The last 1 1/2 miles probably will never be put underground due to the low number of customers in my immediate vicinity.
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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 16:20:31 -0500, "Dimitrios Paskoudniakis"

That will last you a day or maybe 2. I know a lot of people who lived on generators after Hurricane Charlie. They call it "feeding the monster". If you don't plan on carrying gas in your car every day, assuming it is available, you need a lot more fuel than that. Storing that much fuel is troubling in itself. That is why propane powered generators and big buried talks have become the standard for people who expect a real outage.
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you were inconvenienced at 22 hours? Trying going 3 weeks. It's an adventure, you should relish the opportunity.
--
Steve Barker




"Jonathan Grobe" < snipped-for-privacy@netins.net> wrote in message
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Sissy, try 6 months on a homestead in Willow, AK. with 2 kids, 8 & 3.
--
"Anybody can have more birthdays, but it takes balls to get old!"

BetsyB
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Betsy I can't believe I'm the only one that could learn a lot from hearing about that experience. After six months your family must have had the drill down pat. Can I ask that you expand on that experience because stuff that you came to consider every day practice might well teach me a lot. -- 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.
betsyb wrote:

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Nothing, because we never get power outages that long.
I just read stuff on the laptop, currently Slick's memoirs, when the power is out.
I have considered getting a cheap generator, but whenever I do, I decide that we dont get long enough power outages to justify it. Likely I will get one anyway, they're so cheap.
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I have a couple of battery-powered fluorescent lights,more LED flashlights,a charcoal grill for cooking.
If you have a home,you could get a generator,couple of KW at least,and keep some gasoline on hand to run it.That will keep your fridge cold and food unspoiled,run a TV/radio,fans in hot weather.You need a big generator to run AC or heating,and then a power transfer box is best and safest to couple the gen to your home wiring.
I live in an apartment,so there are some things I can't do.
--
Jim Yanik
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I forgot to add that a propane camping stove or gas grill would be very useful.
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Jim Yanik
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Jonathan Grobe wrote:

Nothing -- it's 66F outside. ;-)
Seriously, though, I usually prepare by making sure I have all my sets of rechargeable batteries charged up so I can use them in a flashlight, making sure I have some food I can eat without having to cook it, and making sure I have some clean water just in case.
The biggest challenge is keeping frozen and refrigerated items good. One approach for a short power outage is to just put some containers (like old plastic milk bottles, or 2 liters from soft drinks) in the freezer and let them freeze solid. One or two of the resulting blocks of ice can be moved from the freezer to the fridge, and the ones that stay in the freezer keep the thermal mass higher, which means the temperature rises more slowly as the heat leaks in from outside. It also helps to leave the fridge and freezer door shut and never open them.
Of course, if it's already really cold, you can just move the food outside, although in certain environments animals might steal it.
- Logan
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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:44:10 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe

Making more friends.
Despite the stories, my food keeps cold for at least 3 days without electricity. Thawing freezer food may hurt the taste when it refreezes, but it won't hurt you. But certain freezer food I make a point to eat when I have no electricity (ice cream) and shortly thereafter.
Sour milk is hard to drink, but poses no risk. My mother would make sour milk pancakes when she somehow had some. (This doesn't work, I think, when the curds and whey have separated.) I just add a lot chocolate syrup, and I can drink a quart in the time it takes from a bit sour to too sour to drink at all.

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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:44:10 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe

Generator and 2 week's worth of fuel in drums. Probably another week's worth in the diesel truck. Plenty of firewood for the fireplace stove. I always have enough food on hand to eat for a month so that's not an issue. The generator runs the well pump so no issue with water.
If all else fails there is my motorhome sitting in the driveway, always fueled and watered and ready to go. I can "dry camp" for a couple of weeks with the on-board stores if I'm careful.
I rather enjoy power outages of up to perhaps a week. Then feedin' the generator gets a bit tedious. I don't believe in curtailing my lifestyle during an outage so I have a 10kw homemade diesel generator and an 8kw commercially made gas unit as backup. Never had to use the backup except during tests.
John
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Why is your fuel in drums? No wonder you find it tedious to refill your generators tank. You can use the generators tank as a "day tank" and install a five hundred fifty gallon underground tank for the extended supply. That is not as expensive as you might have thought. The tanks are available pre-encased in concrete to just drop into a hole in the earth. Pre-encasement avoids the need for lined excavations and monitoring wells up to a certain size which I believe is over a thousand gallons. If you are going to keep your fuel in drums please take pity on the firefighters who may someday respond to your home. Buy and install drum vents; they screw into the large threaded bung; and vent the overpressure if the drum is ever exposed to a burning fuel spill or other fire. Also mark the building that you are storing them in with the standard fixed location marking system from National Fire Protection Association standard 704M. This gives the responding firefighters warning of the presence of the large quantity of combustible liquid before a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion can take out the entire response team. In suburban and rural areas those folks are often just your neighbors who give their time to train and respond to your emergencies. The least you can do is not maintain hidden death traps. -- 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.
Neon John wrote:

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This is the fun thing about the internet. BI (before Internet), one might read about the occasional fruit-cake, weirdo, panty wetter or other deviant but unless one lived in a large city, one rarely ran into one. Here on the net they come out like flies after a fresh cow patty. Like going to the zoo without ever leaving the comfort of one's house.
Thus comes Tom who claims to be a "firefighter" (real 'uns usually call themselves "firemen" AND an EMT (God help his victims) who proceeds to lecture as if he were actually competent to do so. And he does it without ever once considering his audience or the situation. He's seen a training video or two and now he are an expert!
Tom, old buddy, I was a volunteer fireman when the best part of you was running down your mamma's leg... I'd hate to think that I'd wet myself over anything contained in a regular sized house. Perhaps if you'd ever actually SEEN a BLEVE or burning fuel you'd know how silly you sound.
I bet it comes as a surprise to you to learn that most folks in areas where oil heat is prevalent have 500 to 1000 gallon oil tanks in their basements. I had one when I lived in PA as did all my neighbors. Does thinking about fighting a fire in PA make you need to change your diapers? If that makes you leak yer water then you'd drown yourself at a house fire where the owner reloaded ammo and had a few hundred lbs of powder in the basement. BTDT. Spectacular.
What is so funny about this particular instance is that if my place ever caught fire and any firemen ever got there, they'd have been dropped from a C-130, as they sure as hell ain't gonna drive a truck in there.
BTW, if you have the cash laying around to pay for such an overwrought and grossly exaggerated "solution" as you propose - and let's not forget the blasting crew to blast out the solid stone around my place - then go ahead and send it on. I'll use it to throw a big party for my firemen buddies and we'll laugh at your folly.
I know that the word is highly overused today but never have I seen a situation where the term "idiot" fit better. I just feel sorry for the folks who have to live and work around you.
John
On Tue, 27 Feb 2007 16:54:02 GMT, "Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT"

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John De Armond
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At least since the mid-70s the chant was that firefighter fought fires while firemen rode in trains (for those younger folks there used to be a crewman on trains called fireman who stuck around long after diesels came about and there was no fire to tend, unions and all.

See above.

Or the arson fire seeded with elemental sodium and magnesium./ Now THAT is a fire to behold. Or the Seattle "Superfires".

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Neon John wrote:

[....]
do you know how many years it takes for smokeless powder stored in the original factory cans to break down and become unstable?
serious question...
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Check with the manufacturer to be sure, but modern powders don't have the crystallization thing that black powder does.
(and you Civil war collectors make SURE what you have is inert)
Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@sellcom.com wrote in spake thusly and wrote:

Storage temperature will have a great effect on that time.

Modern smokeless powder is nitroglycerin/nitrocelluose. (double-base powder)
I would think the can's label would have some info on it.
--
Jim Yanik
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Provided the powder has not gotten too hot or wet it should be good for over 50 years. I have some in the origional cans that is 35 years old that is still good. Smokeless powder has not really been around long enough to determin how long it will last. Ammo loaded for WW2 is being shot today by many people.
Smokeless powder will not explode in its origional container. It has to be contained so it can build up pressure. It will burn and I doubt it could be put out with water.
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Neon John wrote: > This is the fun thing about the Internet. BI (before Internet), one > might read about the occasional fruit-cake, weirdo, panty wetter or > other deviant but unless one lived in a large city, one rarely ran > into one. Here on the net they come out like flies after a fresh cow > patty. Like going to the zoo without ever leaving the comfort of > one's house. > > Thus comes Tom who claims to be a "firefighter" (real 'uns usually > call themselves "firemen" AND an EMT (God help his victims) who > proceeds to lecture as if he were actually competent to do so. And he > does it without ever once considering his audience or the situation. > He's seen a training video or two and now he are an expert! > > Tom, old buddy, I was a volunteer fireman when the best part of you > was running down your mamma's leg... I'd hate to think that I'd wet > myself over anything contained in a regular sized house. Perhaps if > you'd ever actually SEEN a BLEVE or burning fuel you'd know how silly > you sound. > > I bet it comes as a surprise to you to learn that most folks in areas > where oil heat is prevalent have 500 to 1000 gallon oil tanks in their > basements. I had one when I lived in PA as did all my neighbors. Does > thinking about fighting a fire in PA make you need to change your > diapers? If that makes you leak yer water then you'd drown yourself > at a house fire where the owner reloaded ammo and had a few hundred > lbs of powder in the basement. BTDT. Spectacular. > > What is so funny about this particular instance is that if my place > ever caught fire and any firemen ever got there, they'd have been > dropped from a C-130, as they sure as hell ain't gonna drive a truck > in there. > > BTW, if you have the cash laying around to pay for such an overwrought > and grossly exaggerated "solution" as you propose - and let's not > forget the blasting crew to blast out the solid stone around my place > - then go ahead and send it on. I'll use it to throw a big party for > my firemen buddies and we'll laugh at your folly. > > I know that the word is highly overused today but never have I seen a > situation where the term "idiot" fit better. I just feel sorry for > the folks who have to live and work around you. > > John

John I got mad at what I perceived as your indifference to the safety of others and I was sarcastic and flame throwing in my reply. I don't know you well enough to criticize you like that and I apologize. I do mean that. I regret my snotty tone.
My point however crudely made was that it is not something you were doing just in your house when it involves the public utility power grid. Obviously I also angered you with the tone of my reply so your looking for a little pay back. Have at it. I have some coming and I won't melt.
As for my fire service experience I've been a serving firefighter since 1971. I've fought a few fires. Not as many as some I suppose but a few. I use the term firefighter because it is the recognized term of art in the craft. Firemen tend fires. Firefighters put out the ones that are unwanted and or destructive. I've seen a couple of BLEVEs but they were deliberately caused for training or public education purposes. I've also seen the aftermath of one small scale accidental one involving some sort of spray can in a campfire and a larger one when a church maintenance worker in California tried to make an ordinary water heater provide 190 degree water to a newly installed dish washer. When the water heater failed it took out two adjacent walls one of which was masonry and part of it went right through the roof with enough energy to come down a couple or hundred feet away. Funny how much bang you can get out of fifty gallons of water when you plug the relief valve with a pipe plug and tamper with the temperature control of a water heater. I have never personally seen a BLEVE involving a flammable liquid in a larger quantity like a five hundred fifty gallon fuel tank or larger. I was perfectly satisfied with the twenty five pound propane cylinder that was used to make the public education video and the twenty five or thirty five gallon drum that they used to demonstrate a BLEVE in training. With only ten or so gallons of fuel it made a dammed impressive fireball when it blew.
For those of you who don't know what the difference is between closed drums and a properly installed tank, a houses heating fuel tank is vented when installed and it is equipped with a fusible link to cut off the flow to the line to the boiler or furnace when the link temperature is exceeded. Since it is a normal part of a dwelling; unlike the odd hundred pounds of smokeless powder or a hundred and sixty five gallons of combustible liquid in un-vented drums; it will be detected during the first arriving officers circle check of the burning structure. It's vent and fill pipe is something that a well trained or experienced fire officer will look for and take into account when developing a fire attack.
The gun powder or the fuel drums are a different issue because their presence cannot be detected during the fire officers size up. If like Neon John you live too far out in the country for the fire service to help you then I guess there is nothing to do but satisfy yourself that you and yours won't be in danger. I'm assuming that most folks on Usenet would not want to hazard their firefighters needlessly and might be interested in ways to avoid that.
One of the firefighters who was a presenter to my Fire Science Hazardous Materials class addressed the problem of the home storage of firearms and reloading supplies. He was disabled in the line of duty when as a nozzle man he had made the second floor landing in a perfectly ordinary home and a loaded shotgun stored under the bed in the fully involved bed room cooked off both rounds and blew him across the landing and down the stairs. The thrust of his presentation was that the most benign seeming buildings can hold the largest dangers.
The point of all this is that it's often fairly easy to cut the firefighters a break just like it is fairly easy to look out for utility workers in how you connect a generator. So why not invest the time and effort in doing so. -- 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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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:44:10 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe

BTW, it's times like this that you'll look back on and remember. Everyday life is normally so uneventful that it is remembered as one big blur. I don't think I'm the only one to feel this way.
Last night I heard a story by a man I know who was guarding the food supply of his town in Siberia in 1944 with minus 40 degree F. weather. He was feeling bad at night, fever, so he got on his small sleigh and told the horse to go back to town, a mile or two. But he passed out and fell off the sleigh. Woke up and had no idea where he was. All there was was snow and stars. After a while, he saw the horse in the distance. The horse stopped when it noticed that my friend wasn't on the sleigh. So he caught up to the horse and iirc tied himself to the sleigh this time, or at least held on. He passed out again, and later found out that he made it to town, and then they took him to the next town a couple miles further, where there was a hospital.
It's been 63 years and of course he still remembers this story. It's makes the piddling winters we have in Baltimore (even with 2 or 3 weeks of 20-30 degree weather, and our 3rd snow storm all day today) seem even more piddling. I'm sure they don't bother him, at age 80 or so.
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