posted on Nov, 10 2012 @ 03:51 PM
I survived the two storms also.
Yes, it was a great learning experience. Sort of a "test-run" on how well we are prepared.
Here are some pointers that were eye-openers for me and my family.
Cell phones - leave them off unless they are going to be used at that moment. If the power fails, so will cell towers. Granted they have battery
back-ups, but they will not last long. Keeping the phone on will cause it to roam around trying to find a cell signal. That burns up the battery
quickly resulting in a soon to be dead phone.
Interestingly I have found that malls had power and cell service. I found myself driving to my local mall to make calls and get food from the food
court. When done with calls, turn off phone and keep the car charger plugged in so phone is recharged and ready for next round of calls.
Cash - Having cash on hand is mandatory. There were some gas stations and grocery stores who had power, but no internet or phone lines - credit cards
were not accepted there. Cash was the only method of payment. As such, I recommend about $1,000 in $20 dollar bills. Nothing higher than $20's
though. I only had $100 in cash and that did not last me long.
Water - Yes in NYC there will be pressure due to gravity, but note that should the emergency be earthquake or explosion related, the water pipes will
likely crack and leak. If you are using a well for water and it is breached by sea water or other contaminates, you are out of luck. Take the garbage
pail out, use a new clean garbage bag and start collecting rain water. (Sandy wasn't much of a rain storm though.)
Apartment buildings - definitely a no-zone. No water, no lights, no HVAC, no elevators, and no heat. Anyone in the hallways or staircases is a
possible victim or target. Do not stay in apartment buildings. Much too dangerous.
I have heard personal accounts from survivors of people going into their basements to start pumping out water just to be electrocuted because the
circuit panel was still live. (Look at electric meter to see if it is clocking KWH. If it is moving, you still have juice. Stay away from the water
and wear sneakers for insulation.)
I heard a story about one person who was in the basement (power was off) and a wave of water came in and filled the basement with seawater to the
ceiling. The guy was caught and had to swim to the staircase to get out. Basements are dangerous too.
Having gas for hot water is good as the water heater will likely stay on (provided it is above water), but heat requires a water circulation pump to
be functional. I am not sure if they are 12 VDC pumps or 110 VAC pumps. If 12 volt, then a car/boat battery can be used. I also don't know how many
amps they require.
Having no heat or hot water - my kids had a good thought - which worked. They pulled a camping tent from the garage and set it up in the living room.
They slept in side overnight in sleeping bags. The tent retained so much of their body heat to the point they had to unzip the sleeping bags and the
tent as they were getting too hot inside. They used the rainfly to help retain heat. I froze my butt off sleeping on the sofa with as many blankets on
as I could find.
Use pets (dog and/or cat) to help keep you warm at night.
My 2 cents