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Posted: 9/15/2004 5:05:42 PM EDT
I posted this as a reply to another post. After thinking about it a bit, thought I'd make it a stand alone with hopes that others would add to it.

Damn, I feel for you guys. I'm just getting back together after Frances. Twenty hours of hurricane winds, two days w/o water and nine days w/o power. Will need a new roof on our house, our yard is destroyed, and some of our best friends home is on the bottom of the lagoon (live aboards).

There are still areas here w/o power, and not expected to have service before the 19th. This was a good test for our personal readyness for a disaster. There will be changes made.

A couple of tips, too late for now but...

Water You can't store too much. We could flush the toilets with the water we flooded the kayaks and canoe with to avoid them blowing away, but we ended up with a couple of extra people at the house during the storm, so our drinking water supply ran down faster than expected. Some people do not have the survival mentality, and just expect things to return to normal within a day. I saw a lot of waste during the first days after the storm.

Generator Two ways to look at these. Big or small. Small: When power is lost area wide, fuel becomes real scarce. A 3kw generator will keep your regrigerator cold, run some lights, TV and fans. A tank (~3qts) will run somewhere around two hours. A tank or two in the morning, and another two in the evening will keep your refrigerator cold enough to save your food. Use a cooler and ice to keep people from opening and closing the door for drinks and the like. We had a lot of neighbors run their big generator 24 hours for the first day or so, then have trouble finding enough fuel to keep it running much after that. If you have a way to store fuel safely, have at it.

If you have a generator, resist the temptation to "take in" friends/family food. The food (frozen) will usually be starting to thaw, and put extra heat load into the freezer that you are working to keep cold. Trust me on this...

LED flashlights. Can't have enough of them, same goes for matches (even some waterproof ones). I have several Surefire lights, but nothing beats LEDs for not eating batteries. I bought half a dozen from Cheaper Than Dirt, for five bucks each, plenty to go around during the storm.

I use a Coleman gas stove. I know the propane ones are popular, but you ever try to siphon propane? My logic, can find gas anywhere, lawn mower, car, neighbors car.

MREs, GET SOME. Cooking becomes a drag during a long term outage. Water, being hard to find, becomes a problem both cooking and clean up.

I could write a book. but hope this at least helps someone.
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