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Riding Out The Storm

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posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 01:03 PM
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Recently here in Kentucky we experienced one of the worst ice storms in the state's history. Over 700,000 households were without electrical service and over 200,000 of them were without water as well. We live in one of the more rural areas of the state, and it was hit a lot harder than most unfortunately.

I can't adequately describe the feeling of demoralization you experience when you're suddenly plunged back into the dark ages like that. Had we not had emergency provisions and supplies on hand though, it could have been much worse.

The sheer weight of the ice caused numerous large trees to fall across power lines disrupting electrical service to our community, and for a brief period even knocked out phone service. two-thirds of the people on the road have cisterns, so they were also without running water. We could'nt even get out of our driveway until I chain-sawed up several trees. It looked more like a tornado had struck rather than an ice storm.

The entire road was littered with dead fall, and was inaccessible to traffic either trying to enter or leave. Thankfully, just about everyone around here owns at least one chainsaw, and started clearing the roads to traffic almost immediately. This simple act helped reduce the power company's repair time tremendously. The county road crews had little debris to clear away, which in turn allowed the power company crews to begin restoration of services much sooner. Even so, priority was given to the major population centers, so It was about 10 days before our power was restored, and almost two weeks before we once again had running water. In this post I intend to describe what we did in that time to keep ourselves warm, fed, hydrated, and even entertained without the benefit of technology.

Being of a survivalist mindset, I already had all the essential on hand to make the transition from the 21st century back to pioneer days a much smoother process. If we had waited to purchase all the needed items till disaster struck, we'd have been s**t out of luck. Half the stores were closed due to power outages, and those that had backup generators had nothing but stripped bare shelves to offer. You could'nt find a bottle of propane anywhere, and things like lanterns, flash lights, and batteries were non-existent. Kerosene heaters were in short supply, with some stores even having waiting lists. Even if you were lucky enough to get one, kerosene was also in short supply as a result of hoarding by some individuals. I met some people who drove over fifty miles to get it.

Generators were sold out within the first 48 hours at most stores. Needless to say, bread, milk, canned goods, and other easily prepared items were also in short supply. Everything was being sold at a premium, and the local business were getting rich of the crisis. One even put a message on their billboard that read: Let it snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow..

Water and Sanitation

The first thing we did was see to our water needs. Our cistern is powered by an electric pump, so it was necessary to draw water out via a weighted bucket. We filled every water bottle we had and stored them in the kitchen area for easy access. We did the same for water to flush the toilet after each use. For your edification, it takes approximately one gallon of water to adequately flush. LOL We really had no water shortage because I always keep the cistern topped off, and a full tank of water on my truck at all times. I estimated we used roughly 4 gallons of water per person, per day during this time period. That covered drinking water, flushing water, and bathing water. Not being able to take a shower was probably the worst thing about the whole ordeal. I just can't get my day started off right without one.

Lighting

I keep a full battery of kerosene lanterns on hand with accompanying fuel at all times just for such emergencies. We also had several hand-cranked flashlights, emergency candles, and battery powered lanterns as well. No, we didn't forget the matches. We didn't have to go a single day without some type of lighting thankfully. The dark is great when you want to sleep, but it bites when you have things you need to do that require sight.

Heat

For heat we used Kerosene heaters. We had two already in use when the storm hit supplemented by electric units on cold nights, and a third in the storage shed. We normally heat by a wood stove with an electric blower, but was unable to do so this year do to a leg injury I sustained earlier in the year. Believe me It's difficult to cut and split wood when your knee refuses to cooperate with you. My knee is much better now by the way, but was too late in healing for me to cut wood and allow it sufficient time to properly season. Unseasoned wood by the way produces less BTUs, creates more smoke and creosote, and is a bear to get lit.

To cut down on the amount of kerosene we used, we partitioned off the house into sections with plastic sheeting. This kept the heat in the areas we chose to spend the majority of our time in. It worked very well. We did have to allow for adequate ventilation though to avoid carbon monoxide build up. Luckily we keep a minimum of twenty gallons on hand to avoid multiple trips into Town, so we were okay for most of the 10 day period, but did have to go out once for fuel. I lucked out and found one remote station in the area that still had kerosene, and replenished our supply for the duration. I guess you could consider that hoarding, but the store is so remote no one but local hardly knows it exists.

Food

As for food, our cache came in very hand. We already had easily prepared canned goods like hams, corned beef hash, chili, spaghetti, raviolis, Vienna sausages, potted meat, peanut butter, crackers, etc. For drinks we had hot cocoa, tea, and canned fruit juices. Our hand-powered can opener was a blessing, as was our cached propane stove and bottled fuel. We were still able to enjoy hot meals and drinks despite the lack of power. We kept a couple of gallons of milk for our 6 year old in a Coleman cooler filled with ice on the porch where it was below freezing. We even had popcorn on a few occasions. Yes, I cache popcorn too.

Communication

Our phone was out initially, but with a little finagling, I reestablish our connection. We also have cell phones, but service is poor in the best of time due to hills and trees obstructing the line of sight to the towers. Our battery powered short wave radio was our link to the outside World. It has AM, FM, NOAA, and several shortwave bands on it as well.

Entertainment

For entertainment, we read and I also hooked up our generator to power the TV and satellite dish for five hours a night. At the end of that time we retired for the night to conserve the fuel. I cache gas for both the generator and my chainsaw as a matter of necessity. My chainsaw turned out to be one of the most useful tools I had. I guess we weren't totally plunged into the Dark Ages after all, since we got to watch CSI and ICarly every night. I didn't even have to miss an episode of Man Vs Wild thankfully. Bear is the Man! LOL

Medical

Nobody in our home takes any prescription medications on a regular basis, so we were good in that regard. The only OTC drug we used were ibuprofen to relieve muscle aches. We have a fully stocked first aid kit on hand, and I also have previous training as an EMT and basic life support Instructor as well.

Neighbors

After we had attended to all our basic needs, we checked our relatives and neighbors to see if there was anything we could do to assist them. Most were set up as we were, but thanked us for our offer. Those who weren't prepared, were given shelter by their families and friends. Nobody did without that I'm aware of on our road. It helps that most of us are related by marriage or blood I guess.

Conclusions

Overall, I'd say we rode the storm out fairly well. We could have done a few things better to improve our situation I guess, but offhand I can't really single anything out.


[edit on 16-2-2009 by LLoyd45]




posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 01:21 PM
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One for the uneducated such as yours truly. A succinct account of what the 4 Ps can yield.

Read and inwardly digest people.

S&F.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by LLoyd45
 


Thankyou for that account Lloyd45, very informative. I hope that everything is now back to 'normal'.

Look at it this way, you and yours had a 'taste' of what could happen and it looks like you came through unscathed and probably more mentally prepared for any future events should they occur.

I know that you have written an account here for us, but for your own sake, i would write a thorough reflective account with contributions from members of the family. This will be handy when you want to review what was good and what was bad about the event and what things would you change if you could. You may be surprised at what the other members of the family thought about this event.

Take Care.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Wotan
reply to post by LLoyd45
 


I know that you have written an account here for us, but for your own sake, i would write a thorough reflective account with contributions from members of the family. This will be handy when you want to review what was good and what was bad about the event and what things would you change if you could. You may be surprised at what the other members of the family thought about this event.

Take Care.

Everything is back to normal for the most part aside from the neverending cleanup of the fallen trees, but on a positive note, I'll be more than ready next year as far as wood supplies go.

Your idea about having everyone write their own impressions is a great one. I never thought of trying to see it from their perspectives. I'm sure my teenage sons will have a totally different take on it than me. Their biggest crisis was no internet service. My wife seemed more concerned about bathing and clothes washing since all our other needs were met, and my little girl missed her daily dose of Nick. LOL

We had a really bad wind storm with 80+ mph gusts back in September which shut the area down for roughly five days, so we were definitely better prepared for the ice storm.

Experience is always the best teacher in my opinion. You can have all the gear in the World, but until you actually have to put it to practical use you'll never be sure if it's adequate or realize what needed items you overlooked in your preparations.

Thanks for all the positive feedback.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by Nirgal
One for the uneducated such as yours truly. A succinct account of what the 4 Ps can yield.

Read and inwardly digest people.

S&F.
Thanks Nirgal. Nothing can substitute for planning and preparation, and even then you can come up short if you're not careful. Thanks for the feedback.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 01:58 PM
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No problems.

Use a reflective model such as ''Gibbs Reflective Cycle'' for yours and families accounts .... it may help. Your family may even enjoy writing down their experience of the event ....... just let them be honest in their writing and be prepared yourself for some critisism ....... it will help you in the long term.

Wotan



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 02:06 PM
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A damn good report Lloyd, it will benefit others like the one produced by an MD in NYC on 911 did.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by Northern Raider
A damn good report Lloyd, it will benefit others like the one produced by an MD in NYC on 911 did.
Thanks Raider, I appreciate your input. I left a few things out that I may post later if anyone's interested.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 06:00 PM
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Thanks for the post Lloyd.

I remember a night after that storm we (my SO and I) were driving up one of the parkways at night through KY and I remember how dark it was out there. I specifically remember telling him I hoped everyone had some sort of back-up power and were prepared for it, because as many times as we've gone up that way at night it's NEVER been that dark.

I am happy to hear that you and yours pulled through it so well.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 10:10 PM
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I was in this storm, and the one back in September.
The worst part was having to drive a Nissan Sentra on Ice covered roads to get to work. I had a few close calls but nothing serious.

I was fortunate that my grandmother still had power, just a few miles away. (Louisville / Fairdale)

She welcomed me into her home and took care of me for a couple of days, while my father stayed with his girlfriend.

I found it odd though, that after such a severe storm... that we had really warm weather that seemed to really benefit us...

All of the ice melting away... must have been convenient for all of the road crews repairing the lines. Must have saved millions of dollars on repairs.

I hate to bring it up, but I think it had something to do with Chemtrails. I saw them streaked all over the place in the sky after the storm, more than I usually see.
The fist thing I see when I walk out of my front door at 7 am, streaks of them right over Louisville. I'm not saying that there is a connection, would be nice if someone could look into it.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 10:35 PM
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Loyd, Arkansas got hit with the same storm as you. My family and I have a story very similar to yours. We live in a rural mountainous area of north central Arkansas. We like you were fairly well fixed. We heat with a wood stove as a backup for out heat pump already. We keep an emergency supply of almost everything and go through one of these storms almost yearly. This time our power came back on after only a couple of days but others still don't have power restored. We lost our water (after the power came back on) and it was out for several days but we keep a plastic 55 gal drum plus several 5 gal containers as an emergency backup. We made it fine as did most of the folks in our area who have experienced ice storms or a tornado recently in the past year or so.

R.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 10:43 PM
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reply to post by LLoyd45
 


Star and Flag, some good info for ppl to consider in there.

Great Post Lloyd !

One thing I'd add is, in our ice storm here, we had fires due to
electrical lines down.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 11:03 PM
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The great thing about Kentucky is they weren't standing in line waiting to get FEMA debit cards to buy some food and videogames. Kentucky is a very resourceful and caring state as the OP mentioned his concerned for neighbors. I heard a story of a neighborhood in rural KY that set up 6 generators to power everyone's power kind of like a mini power plant.

I'm sure this won't be the last time you'll have to be resourceful and I hope spring comes here sooner than later.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 11:11 PM
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Great story Lloyd45 and very informative. We lost power here in Indiana for a few hours. But we were prepared for this. Ten days would be a good test of systems though.

I have a few things I would like to add that I've learned recently. First, regarding the vast amounts of water needed to flush toilets. To avoid this you can drain the toilet of water and line the inside with a heavy plastic bag and use this for a time. Enzymes can be purchased to break down waste and deoderize. Eventually the bag can be replaced and old one tied off and disposed of. For those not blessed with a cistern, a plastic 55 gallon drinking grade water storage barrel is availabe to store water (aee here)

beprepared.com...[[ProductNameURL]]

Also beforehand, you can take several used gallon plastic milk jugs, wash, fill about 80% full (to allow for expansion) of water and freeze, to use to keep food cold in power outages, by placing in refridgerator. Also, if you can, fill your bathtub with water to use and don't forget the water in the water heater is available for use as well.

For heating the Big Buddy, indoor approved, propane heater works fine and the fan is battery operated (see here)

beprepared.com...[[ProductNameURL]]

Bottom line is the time to prepare is before the need. Like you said in your post, the store shelves go bare quickly after disaster has struck.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by Ex_MislTech
reply to post by LLoyd45
 


Star and Flag, some good info for ppl to consider in there.

Great Post Lloyd !

One thing I'd add is, in our ice storm here, we had fires due to
electrical lines down.
We didn't have any fires in my area, but several transformers did blow once the power was restored. It's always a good idea to shut down your main breaker and unplug all major appliance when the power goes out. A class C fire extinguisher is also a handy piece of equipment to have around for electrical fires.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 11:41 PM
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We had no power or water for 13 days. It was quite an experience. Eventually the roads were cleared enough for me to get my daughter and her kids to a warm home, while my wife and I stayed to keep the house warm with the wood stove and kerosene heater and to look after our dog and four cats. We actually had a lot of fun being alone together. We have a radio that can be solar powered or wound up and that helped us to keep in touch with the world around us. After a few days we made a list of things to keep on hand to make such a transition from 21st century to 19th century living easier. Our supply of firewood is depleted now, but we will make it up again soon. I just got a load of wood from a downed tree at my other daughter's house. We sure hated to lose all the frozen foods we have in our freezers, but oh well. That's the way it goes. I read a lot and we played cards a lot. Fortunately my wife was able to get away each day after the third day to go to work and stay warm and visit with other people. Meanwhile, I sure did enjoy my solitude. We have county water, but we also have a cistern which I keep full to use to water the garden and that sure came in handy. Anyway, here's a shout out to the nice man from the Elliot company of North Carolina who came here to help out, working 16 hour days, everyday for more than two weeks. I noticed some of my neighbors had some lights on one night while we had none. I stopped him while he was driving down the road in front of our house to ask him what was up and he stopped, took a look, came back with a crew and restored power for us right away.Great work those linemen did during a very cold and nasty weather spell.



posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 11:54 PM
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reply to post by romanmel
 
Great suggestions romanmel, especially concerning sanitation needs and water storage. As for the Big Buddy heater I have one of those with the adapter hose for use with a 20lb propane cylinder. It worked admirably in keeping the bathroom area warm when nature called.


A few things I plan to buy in hindsight are:

  • Candle sconces to place on the walls throughout the house. They're not only decorative, but in an emergency can be quite useful.
  • A separate generator for running our water pump in the event of another blackout.
  • Good boots for everyone. Working outside in the ice and snow required much better footwear than we had. Cold, wet feet can really put a damper on your day when your without power or hot, running water!
  • A good wench for my truck. It could have been of immeasurable use in dragging off trees or unsticking vehicles on the roadsides. I have a good chain and a tow strap, but a wench would still have been nice.
  • Lots of salt for the walkways and stairs. We got caught with our pants down on that one, and suffered many a bruised ego as a result.



[edit on 15-2-2009 by LLoyd45]



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 12:11 AM
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reply to post by kyred
 
I enjoyed the time my family got to spend together as well. You never realize how little you really interact with your family until something like this occurs. I was amazed at how much my oldest son actually had to say being devoid of the internet. LOL

I'm glad you and your family weathered out the storm in good order. I know there were a lot of people throughout the state and region that had it much harder than we did, and my heart goes out to them. It's a tough transition going from Leave it to Beaver to Little House on the prairie over night.

The linemen in our area were commendable as well. They worked 24/7 until they had everyone up and going. I sure didn't envy them their job though!



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 12:31 AM
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During the blackout of 2003, I found that glowsticks came in real handy in the dark, especially if you have younger kids. I didn't feel comfortable letting them walk around with a lit candle, so the glowsticks were great to have.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 12:31 AM
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deleted double post

[edit on 16-2-2009 by Schleprock]




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