Preparing for Power Outages?

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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 19:19:10 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@THE-DOMAIN-IN.SIG

70's style avocado green, coiled cord to the handset but hard wired, not modular. Also hard wired to the wall connection. Installed by The Phone Company when we got service to the place in 1972. Still working like it was brand new. One does have to remember to tap the microphone occasionally to loosen the carbon granules or else the sound gets low and muffled. Other than that, yep, it'll still be there after the Big One goes up.
I also have one of the stand-alone touch-tone pads for when that is necessary. Also made by Western Electric, these were add-ons for dial phones during the transition to touch-tone. Like the phone, it still works perfectly.
I was once told by a Western Electric engineer that the design life for these phones was 80 years. I believe it.
John
--
John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Years ago, I used to have this Sony cordless phone that had two identical batteries: one in the phone, and one in the base. The charger was in the base, so the idea was that when the phone battery gets low, you swap them. This had a number of benefits:
(1) You don't have to hang up the phone when the battery dies. The phone was actually built so it would hold the call for a good 30 or 60 seconds while you switched batteries out. (2) With the old NiCd batteries, the memory effect was still significant and you wanted to discharge batteries all the way whenever possible. This made that easy. (3) When there was a power outage, the battery in the base could power the unit and you could still talk in style on your cordless phone, unlike all the suckers that had to revert to using an old-fashioned phone with a cord.
Of course, like all Sony products, one day it just stopped working for no apparent reason.
- Logan
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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 23:56:38 -0600, Logan Shaw

Of course no matter how good the batteries or the design, a cordless phone won't work in an AC power failure. The battery powers the handset, but AC powers the "base station".
This is why God gave us wires.

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That version on Sony and some of the Vtech phones would use the battery in the base to power the base station. In my Vtech the base battery is only good for about 4 hours.
--
Jim Rusling
More or Less Retired
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I really like my Vtech 2.4 GHZ. The base is also a speaker phone, but not an answering machine. The range is good and the sound quality is very good. I have had this unit for probably 4 or 5 years now.
--
Jim Rusling
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wrote:

I wrote:

Mine too.

OK. I'll give them one more shot.
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When there is a storm coming that makes me think we may lose power for a while, I fill the bathtub with water (so that I have water to put in a bucket and pour down the toilet -- no electricity means no well pump), I have bottled water for drinking (again, the well pump), we have a regular stock of foods that don't need to be cooked. We also have candles and flashlights, a charged/battery backup weather radio, an alternate heat source (a propane fired fireplace that requires no electricity), a 'normal' wallphone that does not require electricity, a full tank of gas in the car. And if the power goes out, noone is to open the fridge.
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I joined a free, easy to use Yahoo! group and learned a lot.
shameless plug, yes, I know....
Group Email Addresses http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PracticalSurvival3/?yguid 9694305 Post message: snipped-for-privacy@yahoogroups.com Subscribe: snipped-for-privacy@yahoogroups.com Unsubscribe: snipped-for-privacy@yahoogroups.com
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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Date: Sunday, May 04, 2003 7:40 AM
Ice Storm 2003 NYS, USA Lessons Learned
April 03, Thursday, 2003 News radio people were talking about freezing rain coming. I decided I wasn't going to go any where, the weather was actually pretty good until dark. I could hear the rain all night. ** Lesson: When the radio people talk about weather, go immediately to buy groceries and gas up the vehicle. And the gas cans. Better than that is to keep groceries at home, and couple gallons gas in the shed.
April 04, Friday, 2003 Freezing rain and mixed rain at night. Went out in the morning, it was slippery on the porch and steps. I threw down some salt, that helped a lot. Took a long time to scrape the ice off my truck. I have power.
Called my parents. Their power had gone out about 2 AM last night. Which really surprises me. I'm out in the country, they are in a suburb. They seldom have power cuts. Dad had put his big lantern flash light on the kitchen table, and pointed it towards the ceiling for light. He also went to the cellar to wire the generator into the furnace. Dad got the generator out, and had it running for a moment or two. And then the motor jammed, and the pull cord won't pull. He decided about 6 PM that it was cold enough to need a fire in the fireplace, and about that moment the power came back on. ** Lesson: Run the generator every year, even if you're sure it works fine.
Got a call from Jason, a bachelor friend of mine. Jason is blind, so he wasn't sure if the lights were out. I suggested he try the microwave, and the fan over the stove. Both of them dead. His power is out. But the natural gas was OK. He was low on groceries, so we planned to go for lunch and shopping. ** Lesson: Keep groceries in the house. Shop before you run out.
I called a bunch of people from church, and other friends. Several people were without power, but they were all "doing OK". Radio news guys say about 50,000 people without power. ** Lesson: Call a few people and get the word out. But don't spend all day on the telephone trying to be nice to people. You're wasting your time.
I thought to call the restaurant. The diner Jason and I usually go to was without power. Saved a trip. since the phone is working, much easier to call and ask if they have power. I did manage to find a grocery store which had power. And an eat in cafe. ** Lesson: During power cuts, telephone to see if the restaurant or stores are open.
I loaded bags of salt and gravel into the back of my truck, figured that would be the major need. I took out my heating and AC tools. I drove to Jason's. The trip took about twice as long as usual, I drive very slow in bad weather. Many traffic lights were out. But regardless of anything else, the State Thruway had power, and was still collecting tolls. Hmm. ** Lesson: Travel takes twice as long in storms. And the State still wants their highway tolls.
The parking lot was very slippery. And we got freezing rained on. But it was nice to get him home with groceries. We got food that would cook on a gas range, the microwave won't work without power. He also bought four submarine sandwiches, which was a great idea. "no cook" food.
We got back to Jason's house, and his dad suggested that he go to the firehall, they have power there, and Jason could be safe and warm. I headed for home. By this time, I was cold and tired from braving the weather.
I headed home, very slowly. As I was coming into the trailer park, it sure did look darker than usual. I mean, totally dark. Arrived home 7 PM to find that the power had gone out at 5:53. I have an old Westclox mechanical dial face plug in clock. I keep this old retro clock so that I know when the power goes out. The hands stop. This may be old technology, but it's very useful. ** Lesson: Just because you have power NOW doesn't mean you will have power LATER. And others may have power now, but not later. Keep a written list when you make phonecalls to check on people. Leave lots of space next to or between their names on the list for updates Things change, and you will want to revise your notes.
My neighbor Al was standing out by the street, watching everything. He had a 2D Eveready flash light which was growing very dim. I offered him a couple batteries, but he didn't want them. Al told me the neighborhood news. There was a branch down behind our trailers, and we went out to look. The branch was balanced on the power wires. I realize that Al is the "Neighborhood Watchman". He is the man who knows who has power, and so on. ** Lesson: Most neighborhoods have a Watchman who wants to know everyone's business. This surprised me, I thought Ernie was our watchman, but he stayed indoors and out of sight most of the time.
Across the street, I visited Ursula, who is elderly. Kenny (who lives across the street from me) was also visiting. He and his wife are doing OK with a couple burners on the stove. Kenny wishes he still had his kerosene heater. I considered the problem. The Spirit said it didn't matter if I offered to loan him one of mine. I didn't.
Ursula, elderly and frail, was very cold. I visited briefly. Ursula was wrapped in a blanket, white and shivering. She was worried about carbon monoxide from the burners on the stove, but more worried about it being cold. I offered to run her furnace off my generator, but she didn't want that. Seemed to her to be too dangerous. She aparently doesn't know much about electric.
Ernie, on the other side of me, had a coleman lantern, and was doing fairly well. Coleman fuel is supposed to pour out monoxide, nearly as bad as charcoal. He lived to tell about it, though. He said he had a generator coming from the fire hall. He wasn't going to wire it into the furnace, he was going to run an electric space heater with the generator. Wow, that's guaranteed to drink gasoline for the generator. 1500 watt space heater instead of a 700 watt furnace blower.
Skip, the truck driver, wasn't home at the moment.
I went home to work the phone. Everyone seems to be OK. One gal I talked to started a sentence "if it gets too cold" and I expected her to say "you can come over here". But to my disappointement, she just reminded me that we had a couple church meetings tomorrow, and I could go to the church to warm up. Dan's house is covered in ice, and so he's out in the garage assembling the generator they bought in March 1999. Needs something to do. ** Lesson: Not everyone out there welcomes you, and wants to invite you over. Remember who invites you over, they are your friends. Remember who calls YOU, because they are really your friends.
More telephone calls. I reminded a lot of people "have generator will travel" but no one was interested. ** Lesson: Don't waste a lot of time on the phone offering to give your services away.
I lit my kerosene heater, and went to bed. I listned at the back door for a few minutes. The darkness combined with the sound of branches cracking and popping around the neighborhood. It was spooky. ** Lesson: No matter how comfortable you are, Mother Nature is still very powerful.
Saturday April 05, 2003 Woke up to the sound of branches popping. I looked out the door, and realzie that a lot of the noise was pieces of ice falling off the trees. It was 60F in my bedroom. Not bad, at all. I use my setback thermostat to run it down to 64 at night, so I'm used to that. Got up, and pour the bath tub full of warm water, and warm up that way. Gas water heater is a good thing to have. Natural gas is very dependable around here. Breakfast. Still have milk and some ice cubes. ** Lesson: Ice cubes and refrigeration are wondeful. In the winter you can put your milk out on the back step.
Radio says 67K people without power. Someone found a creative way to warm the house. He hooked a garden hose to his laundry sink, and snaked the hose indoors, through the rooms of his house. Ran hot water slowly through the hose, and into a drain. The hot water hose helped warm the house. Very clever. Must remember that.
I had breakfast, and decided to try to find something useful to do. At about 7:30 AM, the tree guys came down the street. Saw up branches, and feed them into the chipper behind the truck. One of my neighbors had a branch fall through the back window of the son's car. I had no damage to my trailer or vehicles.
I talked to Skip today. He had a battery radio, but no batteries. He also has a gas range, but no pots or pans. I went home, and got him a pan out of my camping kit, and some batteries for his radio.
I mentioned gasoline to Skip, and he told me which gas stations had power today. The van was low on gas, so I threw two gascans in the back and took them along. I found a gas station which had power, and long lines of cars waiting to gas up. I got in line. At 1.73, I was able to fill the two gascans, and then put some in the tank before the pump shut me down at $50. But it sure is nice to have some gasoline. But fifty bucks! Wow!
I made a few more calls, and found one friend of mine who had borrowed a Honda generator from his brother, and the generator refused to start. Went there, and it started with a shot of ether on the air cleaner. Can't kill a Honda. It was very quiet, too. He had sent his son to go fill up the gascan, and the Suburban. His son came back much later, there was a very long line of cars waiting to buy gasoline. ** Lesson: Stock several cans of ether starting spray at home. You may need it.
I learn that the reason he needed a generator is because the cellar had about two inches water. Rain coming in, and the sump pump won't work without electric. They were able to move some of the water by buckets, but that the water was coming in faster than they could carry it out. Another friend let them use a 12 volt sump pump which wasn't doing much good. The fire department came down the street at that moment. They let us plug into their generator to run the sump. Finally, we did get cellar pumped. They also have a Bissel carpet cleaner which we used to extract water out of the cellar carpet. The carpet is a total loss, no surprise.
While in the dark cellar, I blew the bulb on my 2AA minimag. Had to find my way out of the cellar, and up to the truck to get another bulb. I've been considering the Opalec conversion, to make my mini mag work on LED light bulbs. [It was daytime, so I had enough light to get out. I did try the Opalec, which at $28 is much the same as Nite Ize that is now at Walmart for $4.97. It is better than filament bulbs. Less light, but more dependable. Since then, I got the Terra-Lux conversion which is far superior to either the filament bulbs or the LED conversion. But more pricey $30]
I also wired a plug into the furnace wiring, and they can now run the furnace on the generator. ** Lesson: Even if the home owner has tools, go get your own tool box. Sure is faster if you know what tools you have, and all the wirenuts and parts.
About this time, some friends came over. Their house has power on one leg of the incoming. The furnace is on the dead side. I went to go exchange a couple breakers, and put the furnace onto the power.
We did get a dinner invite with one of his sons, whose family has power. That was much appreciated.
I came home and tried using a fluorescent lantern that takes 6 D cells. I learn that recharged carbon batteries are near to useless, they only last a couple hours. Resolved to buy only alkaline batteries.
Sunday April 06, 2003 Decided to go to the city to attend church. One of the chapels had power. Many traffic lights are without power. People are mostly courteous, and treating them all as four way stops (as the law requires). Stopped at my parents to use the computer and wash laundry. I made a couple phone calls, and it turns out my lunch invite had been delayed. The Spirit said to visit a couple friends. I did, and found them cold in the house, it was 40F in his living room. He was wearing his winter coat indoors.
Radio says that up to 145,000 people are without power. Three or four counties have been declared "state of emergency, no unnecessary travel".
Went to my dinner invite, which was wonderful. And then went home to get my generator. And no big surprise, my generator wouldn't start. I'd bought it in early 1999, and had run it, and then put it in the box and had not run it since then. I gave it a shot of ether, on the air filter, and it ran for one second. So, several shots of ether later, the carb diaphram started to deliver gas.
Went to Scott's and wired the generator into his furnace. About an hour's run time, and the living room and rest of the house came up from 40F to 69F, which was major improvement.
I got home about 11 PM to find my own house about 47. I lit the kerosene, and it was about 52 in my bedroom by the time I went to bed. I didn't want to run my generator at 11 PM and wake the neighbors. I tried to heat the house by running the shower on full hot with the bathroom door open. it was nice, but I set off the smoke detector, and had to take the battery out for about an hour. It is a 2001 dated battery, I've got to change that some day.
Monday April 07, 2003 Woke to find it very cold in the trailer. I decided that if I could run the generator for others, I could run it for myself, too. I got my box of electrical tools, and wired the furnace. I put the generator out on the porch, and chained it to the railing. An hour of generator allowed me to check my email, and also to warm the house a bit.
I went to ask the neighbors if they would like me to wire into their funaces, and warm them up. Al had a kerosene heater, and said his trailer was warm from end to end. I notice though that he didn't at any point ask if I was OK, and would I like to come in and get warm. Ursula said she didn't want a wire across the street. Ernie said he had a generator from the firehall, and he was OK. Skip had gone to go find a warm mall to visit.
The generator runs for about an hour and a half on a tank of gas. It was long enough to warm the house, but not that it was running all night.
The friend with the 40F house where I was last night didn't have a telphone. I considered whether to drive up, the Spirit said that it was personal choice, but not needed. So, I drove up there to see if he was OK. I found a note on the door, they had gone to a shelter, and weren't home. Well, that explains the promptings.
I pulled out the cell phone, and made a few more calls. Didn't find anyone else who wanted use of a generator.
Went home, and powered up the furnace for my night sleep.
Tues April 08, 2003 This AM, decided to go to the bank, and a couple stores. I found the Dollar Tree had sold out of D, and AA batteries. But they had plenty of 9 volt and C cells. ** Lesson: Keep batteries at home. Also, buy some flash lights that run on C-cells, since they don't sell out as fast. Mag and Kel have lights that run on C-cells, and American Science and Surplus used to have C-cell flash lights ( www.sciplus.com ).
I had a sense that I oughta plug the furnace back into the house power before I left to go to the store. I got home, and was about to pour gas into the generator when Skip came home and cheered. The power is back on. I plugged the furnace back into the power, and got back on the computer.
This writing is public domian, and may be copied, distributed, etc.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org www.mormons.org . .
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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:44:10 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe

I find this and the various responses fascinating. We went through weeks without mains power after hurricane Wilma without any problem, keeping the refrigerator powered, fans at night, hot water, clotheswasher, electric chainsaw, lights, tv, etc. Didn't need AC, but coulda had that too. I didn't even bother to go to a gas station for a couple of weeks. Had planned for the event years ago.
When I lived up north, a barrel stove that I had made and installed in the house served during power outages and was largely what kept us toasty for all winter. The stuff in my car alone could have made reasonable survival possible for at least a couple of days.
I must just be wired differently, I can't even consider the possibility of not prepping for basic stuff like this.
Gather together a few basics: a gallon of distilled water per person (it'll keep longer and can be used to cleanse wounds) a couple days worth of canned food - canned beef stew can be eaten cold or hot and heated in the can. Peanut butter lasts a long time and is high calorie a good strong hunting knife a blanket and/or space blanket a good book (can also be used to start fires or as tp) waterproof matches or lighter a change of warm clothing - sometimes clothing gets wet a half dozen candles for heating water and food, light, and starting fires any medicines whatever else floats your boat.
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I'm with you, that the first two days of my power cut were an adventure in camping in. By the third day, the coldness had soaked into the very center of my trailer, and it was really getting miserable. If I'd not had the generator to run the furnace, I would have had to move my matress into the kitchen and live there.
Interesting about the summer and winter LPG. Much the same with diesel road fuel, I've heard. A trucker going north with a tank full of summer fuel might have jelly in the fuel lines when he gets to some place cold.
--
Christopher A. Young You can't shout down a troll. You have to starve them. .
: : : : : : : Oh, the first 48 hours is almost (and, in some respects, : literally) a : : picnic. : : : : It's the second and the start of the THIRD 48 hours when it : beings to get : : "old." : : : : That's what happened to us in the "Northern Neck" of VA when : Isabel hit the : : fan. : : : : We get 4-6 hour outages every time there are high winds or : significant snow. : : Ice storms can put out "off the grid" for a day. : : : : Unfortunately, our generator is just about impossible to start : when it's : : below 32F. : : : : And yes, we need electricity for our water and heat. We have : "back up" LPG : : heaters. Next on the "wish list" is a kerosene heater that : will also : : provide some light. : : : : AND we found out that hard way that LPG comes in a "winter mix" : and a : : "summer mix." The difference is that the "summer mix" only : provides : : enough gas pressure to make the regulator work when the tank is : over 70F. : : : : NB: LPG isn't necessarily pure propane. It's often a mixture : of propane : : and butane and "whatever." : : : : : :
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Generally small generators will start fast with propane (from an unlit torch) in the intake.
--
Committees of Correspondence Web page:- tinyurl.com/y7th2c

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Anyone care to discuss the advantages of various lighting methods (a bright light enough to read a book by which would last for many, many hours) using kerosene, white gas, batteries...
--
Jonathan Grobe Books
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Jonathan Grobe wrote:

There is a reason why people use electric lights. Burning things is both dangerous and smelly.
Anthony
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Yes, convenience.

Perfectly possible to do it safely and non smelly with what is used for gas powered camping lights.
And you can just plug a decent led torch into the car etc too.
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Those solar powered garden lights work fine.
LED torches powered from a big gel cell battery or car battery last a long time.
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I wouldn't want a white gas lantern inside the house. The idea if it flaring up is no fun. Propane lanterns are nice and bright.
Have you heard of kerosene mantle lamps? Aladdin is the most famous: http://www.aladdinlamps.com They are bright like the white gas and propane lamps, but burn kerosene.
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Growing up in the country we used Coleman lanterns inside the house in emergencies, like ice storms when the power would be out for a day or so. We never had a flare up. I don't know if the white gas burns cleaner than kerosene or not. I'd also be more careful in a modern home - our house was not as airtight for sure, so the risk of CO poisoning was lower.
I note when I go to their website today, Coleman sells kerosene mantle lamps that look exactly like their white gas lamps did.
James
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How much carbon monoxide do they generate? CO;Silent,odorless,deadly.
--
Jim Yanik
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How big a battery? 8-)
battery powered fluorescents. I've got a 2 tube camping lantern that runs for 40 hrs on one tube,20 hrs on 2 tubes,cost is about $12 USD,uses 4 D cells. Then I've got a brighter $10 12v single tube light that I can connect to an external battery,like a car/scooter SLA battery or my homemade alkaline D cell powerpack.It carries 8 AA cells internally. I used them both after Hurricane Charlie;No power for 7 days.
There also are other models of fluorescent camping lanterns.
**you can't use kerosene or white gas lanterns indoors.** (unless you want to asphyxiate/incinerate yourself;CO poisoning,Also a fire hazard.)
--
Jim Yanik
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