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Question about power outage.....help me understand. ***Updated post 63*** - Page 2

post #21 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngieB View Post

That seems incredible scary to me to be so dependent on "the system" to provide you with the basic necessities .

 

This is not different from most of the U.S.

 

I live in earthquake country and we don't have a backup generator or alternative heating system.  We keep a supply of bottled water and non-perishable food, and it doesn't get cold enough for it to be unmanageable if we didn't have heat, and we would just eat safe, uncooked food in the meantime.  It's not exactly a "plan", but we would make do, as most people in the Northeast are now.

post #22 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

yes you are right. but most of the media coverage and pictures are of urban areas. 

while people in the rural area are out of power (which they are used to) those affected by wind and floods are the hardest hit. 

those of my friends without power are actually managing quite well in the rural areas. some got cell phone reception back, some havent yet. 

Ok, so the the people who are struggling with the power outages are those who live in a more urban area, that make more sense. We just aren't hearing about the people in the rural areas because they are deal with it better because they are use to the loss of power. Here in CA if the closes major city to us, Sacramento, losses power even for a few hours its all over the news.
post #23 of 135
We live in the suburbs of Chicago where the weather can change at the drop of a hat and we have been known to get a wicked winter storm on occasion but we do not have a generator in case of power outage. Honestly, I've lived in my house for over 10 years and in that time we have probably experienced a dozen or so moderate to severe snowstorms, a bunch of severe thunderstorms, and all sorts of strange windy weather and we have never lost power for more than 8 hours at a time.
post #24 of 135

For what it is worth, my MIL and BIL both  live in houses with at least an acre of wooded land one in CT and one in NY. The power goes out for an extended period (at least a few days) at least once during the winter, sometimes multiple times. They both have small generators, wood piles, canned food stocks, extra water, and sources of heat and light. And they both the space, experience, and means to do so. One of them has their own septic systems and one has city septic. If they lived in the city they would have none of those things. They are both semi-rural and the power is far less predictable and thus they are more prepared. People living close to them but in less rural areas are more likely to keep their power or get it back quickly and are always less prepared.

post #25 of 135
What downs more power lines is trees or branches falling on them, not snow. Ice buildup is also a problem, because of the weight and it doesn't blow off, like snow. Electric companies cut back trees near power lines, but thinning is more effective. That's because when wind can get through, it's less likely to knock the tree down. The fact that the trees had leaves was an additional factor, and reported, but could not be changed.

I was out doing a week's shopping on Friday when a cashier mentioned the hurricane. I went into emergency mode. Since we have no car, I took those groceries home, then went back out. Gallons and liter bottles of water, batteries for the flashlights and radio, and a couple essential items that I was low in, but not critical, were my next purchases. Candles are too likely to set off the smoke alarms, and since we are close to the hospital, we rarely go without power too long. Water supplies can become contaminated, hence the bottled water. Recommendations are to buy canned food and a manual can opener, along with water and batteries. Radio reports didn't really begin until we got home from our frantic shopping on Friday. Because we heard early, we were able to get what we needed. Not everyone is lucky. Some folks find empty shelves when they get to the store. Stores don't have enough for a hurricane on hand 'just in case'. Many who have had window damage from past storms buy plywood to cover their windows for protection. So there was preparation. But sometimes one can't do much. Maybe because of location or finances. Most hurricanes don't make a sharp left turn into land. This one was unusual.
post #26 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngieB View Post

You are all right, I have never lived in a city or apartment and I didn't understand the limitation you would face. That seems incredible scary to me to be so dependent on "the system" to provide you with the basic necessities .

 

What should people in big cities and in apartments do differently? 

post #27 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

What should people in big cities and in apartments do differently? 

I would think keeping some basic camping supplies would be very helpful. A small propane camp stove for cooking and a small propane heater that is safe for indoor use. Both items would only require the small green propane tanks that are fairly inexpensive . An ice chest with some ice to keep stuff cold. A few hurricane lights or propane camp lights. Everything but the ice chest would fit in a Rubbermaid tub that could fit in a closet. Canned and easy to cook food and bottled water would also be important. Of course likes said before, I've never lived in an apartment so there may be reason this wouldn't work that I'm not thinking of.
post #28 of 135
Carbon monoxide poisoning. You should NOT be burning propane indoors, and the fire hazard is not fair to the neighbors. I think you could be fined severely for burning in an apartment. I'm glad you're not my neighbor!
post #29 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Carbon monoxide poisoning. You should NOT be burning propane indoors, and the fire hazard is not fair to the neighbors. I think you could be fined severely for burning in an apartment. I'm glad you're not my neighbor!

redface.gif I said I wasn't sure, it was just a thought. Like I have said before I'm just trying to understand why it seems so much more complicated to live without power in the urban areas.

So there are no other options besides being completely and totally dependent on a somewhat fragile grid system? Are you comfortable with that? Again, I'm just trying to get a better understanding.
post #30 of 135

I think when you live in a place like NYC, youre life is very dependent on a grid system. Lots of people dont have room to store their off season clothing, much less camping supplies that they'd only use in case of emergency. 

 

As for me, I live in rural Kentucky, and the power has gone out several times for several days over the past few years. We're fine- in the sense that we have wood heat, can use our propane grill on the porch to cook and have candles and flashlights. But, it sucks. No internet, no ability to charge cell phones, no ability to communicate with the outside world for days at a time. Usually it happens to us when the roads are terrible and we cant drive anywhere, so we are just stuck. For the first two days it's fun to read books by candle light and come up with fun ways to entertain ourselves. But by the time our clothes and bodies get dirty and we are running out of fresh food, and we've all been in the house limited to a couple of rooms that we've closed off to heat efficiently- all we really want to do is use our smart phones and watch a movie. And I love the idea of being in the country and being left alone. Just not for lots of days in a row. 

post #31 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I think when you live in a place like NYC, youre life is very dependent on a grid system. Lots of people dont have room to store their off season clothing, much less camping supplies that they'd only use in case of emergency. 

As for me, I live in rural Kentucky, and the power has gone out several times for several days over the past few years. We're fine- in the sense that we have wood heat, can use our propane grill on the porch to cook and have candles and flashlights. But, it sucks. No internet, no ability to charge cell phones, no ability to communicate with the outside world for days at a time. Usually it happens to us when the roads are terrible and we cant drive anywhere, so we are just stuck. For the first two days it's fun to read books by candle light and come up with fun ways to entertain ourselves. But by the time our clothes and bodies get dirty and we are running out of fresh food, and we've all been in the house limited to a couple of rooms that we've closed off to heat efficiently- all we really want to do is use our smart phones and watch a movie. And I love the idea of being in the country and being left alone. Just not for lots of days in a row. 

Exactly, it's not like I'm jumping up and down with joy that we get to live without electricity for a week and towards the end I'm getting pretty grumpy but its a inconvenience not an emergency. The more people post who live in these urban areas the more I think yikes, that is pretty bad, there don't seem to be any other options.
post #32 of 135

There aren't many, no. Urban living is very dependent on the power grid, and space tends to be at a premium.

post #33 of 135

You can shovel snow, but you can't shovel water.

post #34 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngieB View Post

This is so interesting to me. First I can't believe that the east coast doesn't experience more power outages with all the crazy winter weather like blizzards and ice storms, I'm kind of jealous . I was also wondering for the moms who do live in the storm zone what did you do to prepare? There was a few day notice and lots of warning that there could and most likely would be long term power outages, so you had time to get ready. I understand that gas for generators wasn't an option for many but did you think about other ways to keep food cold or alternative heating methods? Once again I'm not trying to be mean I'm just very interested in how people deal with these emergency situations. Also has this change how you plan to prepare for future emergencies or do you feel like this was such a rare storm that you don't have to worry about more in the future?

 

There was a few days warning, but they weren't entirely sure of what track it would take until it got here.  (They kept switching where landfall was going to be within hours of it hitting.  We were told over and over to prepare for the power to go out for weeks and it never so much as flickered.)  There's no guaranteeing there was money in the budget with a few days notice for more food or ways to keep the food they had cold.

post #35 of 135

OP, I am utterly baffled that this is being explained to you, over and again, and that you still don't seem to get it.

 

In a nutshell .... an unprecedented, massive hurricane that hits coastal areas and urban areas is a hell of a lot different than regular winter power outages out in the country. I live in upstate NY, and we experience outages due to thunderstorms, wind storms, ice storms ... and sometimes for no apparent reason at all (an older transformer blows, lines that should have been replaced years ago keep getting bandaid repairs, car accidents, etc.). People don't typically "prepare" for them, we deal with them as they come. Some have generators and/or wood stoves, others manage in the dark and cold/heat for awhile.

 

The point being, no one could have predicted what hit on Monday, and the aftermath. And, inthat particular situation, there isn't a hell of a lot one could do in a 17th floor apartment but stay put.

 

Use a propane fueled device without proper ventilation in an enclosed apartment? Are you mad?!?!?!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngieB View Post

This is so interesting to me. First I can't believe that the east coast doesn't experience more power outages with all the crazy winter weather like blizzards and ice storms, I'm kind of jealous . I was also wondering for the moms who do live in the storm zone what did you do to prepare? There was a few day notice and lots of warning that there could and most likely would be long term power outages, so you had time to get ready. I understand that gas for generators wasn't an option for many but did you think about other ways to keep food cold or alternative heating methods? Once again I'm not trying to be mean I'm just very interested in how people deal with these emergency situations. Also has this change how you plan to prepare for future emergencies or do you feel like this was such a rare storm that you don't have to worry about more in the future?

 

I first heard about the hurricane last Thursday. I prepared in much the same way I prepared for Irene - put everything outside away in the shed, made certain that I had batteries, working flashlights, plenty of water (for drinking and for washing/flushing toilets), lots of peanut butter, jelly, bread, fruit, cracker type stuff, and candles, and gassed up my car. I depend on a sump pump so that my cellar doesn't flood (I live in a high water table area, and have a wet dirt cellar), but I can't afford a generator nor would I be comfortable running one on my own. There is no room in my tiny house for a wood stove.  I had a trusted friend checking on my basement while I was at work, ready to call the FD for a pumpout if necessary (same during Irene). I'm currently living below the poverty level - "being prepared" at all times, for anything, can be expensive.

 

Fortunately, we dodged the worst of Sandy's bullet here. But my heart goes out to those in NYC, NJ, LI, and other areas who are suffering greatly. Have some compassion, OP.

post #36 of 135
Filling freezer bags with water, and placing them in the freezer to create blocks of ice while the power is still on, filling the freezer, and keepinh the freezer closed when power goes out, helps to keep the food for longer. The freezer is an ice chest, of sorts, and doesn't require storage when not in use.

As to being comfortable with being dependent on the grid, when that's what you are familiar with, it's not so unsettling. Going into the country seems a bit daunting to me. It's a matter of what you're used to dealing with.
post #37 of 135

First of all, I think you have no idea of how small city apartments are, and how much space is at a premium.  For many city apartments, "Just a coleman cooler" is not even practical.   In some of the ones I've seen, the ENTIRE amount of kitchen storage they have available is about "just a coleman cooler."   If you're going by city apartments and houses you've seen on TV, you have to remember that's fiction, not reality.  There is simply no room to *live* and have months of supplies and "just in case of zombie apocalypse equipment" stashed.  Unless, I suppose, you use the coleman cooler as your ... bed frame?   Footstool?  Sofa?

 

Second:  big cities bury their power lines.   So wind doesn't actually take them out very often compared to more rural or suburban areas.   I live in a small town in Central NY.   Our power flickers whenever a fat squirrel jumps from branch to branch in the tree that touches our power line.   IN the city, it takes a much bigger event -- like a transformer blowing from historic tidal surges, for example! -- to knock out power.  Heck, my friend in Midtown Manhattan still has power, even with trees and traffic lights blown down all around his block.  And this was not a "minor emergency" or a "little storm."  The winds were the least of it.  The biggest part of this was an absolutely historically unprecedented tidal surge. 

 

THird:  I know a bunch of people who are in Manhattan, on Long Island, or in New Jersey.   Several of them are still without power and are running low on fuel for their generators.  But you know what?  They're not on TV complaining.  Because they were prepared for this possibilty, even if only mentally ("Well, we can't keep the fridge cold, so we'll be eating shelf-stable food for the forseeable future.")    MANY people were.  They're just keeping on, staying calm and waiting.  They're sharing power with their neighbors if they've got it, helpng each other move branches, charging each other's phones so they can report out to family.    In the media, you're seeing the people who didn't prepare because they couldn't (economically unable) or they refused to ("Those weather forecasters are always crying wolf") or because they're too stupid to understand that weather forecasting is a science of probability, not absolutes (Notice that forecasts are always framed as percentage chances, as in "There's a 30% chance the storm surge will overtop the barriers and flood the subway system.")   Math is apparently America's weak spot everywhere.  

 

There are plenty of poor people, feckless people, or stupid people in rural areas and on the  West Coast, too.  They're the ones who have to live in substandard houses that don't conform to current earthquake safety regulations.   Or the ones who don't clear brush from around their houses because of aesthetic reasons and run towards the ocean during tsunami warnings to take pictures.     

post #38 of 135

I think you are wrong in assuming that a power outage due to a winter storm is the same as a power outage due to a huge, massive hurricane.  Which brings water.  Lots of water. 

 

I'm fairly well prepared for a standard weather caused disruption of utilities.  Bad snow storm?  We'd be fine for about a week.  Cold but fine.  However, no amount of alternate heat sources are going to help when your house has 10 feet of water in it.  And when the scale of the disaster is not just your block or your town you cannot go to the store in the next town when you run out of supplies or expect medial or other emergency services to be able to reach you.  When entire blocks of homes are washed away or burned I'm not sure it is still considered a minor emergency one can ride out with a stash of propane and peanut butter.
 

post #39 of 135

Have you seen any photos of New York City or New Jersey?  You're calling that a minor emergency?

 

You think people should be running generators and Coleman stoves in their apartments?

 

Do you realize that water treatment plants, oil refineries, power stations were taken out?

 

Have you seen the photographs of all the people being evacuated from the hospitals?

 

This thread is mind-bogglingly insulting to people who have DIED, to people who are suffering, to people who have no homes, no transportation, no jobs.  You find it "interesting" that people are dying because they weren't prepared for the largest hurricane in recorded history, which took an unprecedented route and hit one of the most densely populated regions in the world?  This was a "minor" emergency?  YOU'RE JEALOUS?

 

I cannot even begin to tell you how angry this thread is making me.  

post #40 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post

First of all, I think you have no idea of how small city apartments are, and how much space is at a premium.  For many city apartments, "Just a coleman cooler" is not even practical.   In some of the ones I've seen, the ENTIRE amount of kitchen storage they have available is about "just a coleman cooler."   If you're going by city apartments and houses you've seen on TV, you have to remember that's fiction, not reality.  There is simply no room to *live* and have months of supplies and "just in case of zombie apocalypse equipment" stashed.  Unless, I suppose, you use the coleman cooler as your ... bed frame?   Footstool?  Sofa?

 

Second:  big cities bury their power lines.   So wind doesn't actually take them out very often compared to more rural or suburban areas.   I live in a small town in Central NY.   Our power flickers whenever a fat squirrel jumps from branch to branch in the tree that touches our power line.   IN the city, it takes a much bigger event -- like a transformer blowing from historic tidal surges, for example! -- to knock out power.  Heck, my friend in Midtown Manhattan still has power, even with trees and traffic lights blown down all around his block.  And this was not a "minor emergency" or a "little storm."  The winds were the least of it.  The biggest part of this was an absolutely historically unprecedented tidal surge. 

 

THird:  I know a bunch of people who are in Manhattan, on Long Island, or in New Jersey.   Several of them are still without power and are running low on fuel for their generators.  But you know what?  They're not on TV complaining.  Because they were prepared for this possibilty, even if only mentally ("Well, we can't keep the fridge cold, so we'll be eating shelf-stable food for the forseeable future.")    MANY people were.  They're just keeping on, staying calm and waiting.  They're sharing power with their neighbors if they've got it, helpng each other move branches, charging each other's phones so they can report out to family.    In the media, you're seeing the people who didn't prepare because they couldn't (economically unable) or they refused to ("Those weather forecasters are always crying wolf") or because they're too stupid to understand that weather forecasting is a science of probability, not absolutes (Notice that forecasts are always framed as percentage chances, as in "There's a 30% chance the storm surge will overtop the barriers and flood the subway system.")   Math is apparently America's weak spot everywhere.  

 

There are plenty of poor people, feckless people, or stupid people in rural areas and on the  West Coast, too.  They're the ones who have to live in substandard houses that don't conform to current earthquake safety regulations.   Or the ones who don't clear brush from around their houses because of aesthetic reasons and run towards the ocean during tsunami warnings to take pictures.     

 

I realize this is a serious topic, and I understand and do not negate the severity of it. I just lol'ed at the bolded. Especially, because, if I had the finances, I would totally and seriously prepare for zombie apocalypse. That being said, I live in Indiana, where (pretty much) the worst thing that has (could?) happen to me is a winter snowstorm/power outage, which I'm mildly prepared for.

 

I feel really bad for the people who were affected by Sandy. We got some wind and a bit of rain/snow from it, and that was enough to make me realize just how bad it had to have been out east.

 

(And I would totally use a cooler as a footstool. Even if I didn't have to.)

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