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A random SHTF

2058 Views 28 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  ronin.45
Our neighborhood (some 4600 people) lost power on Sunday night due to a remote transformer blowing up in the mountains. Still don't know the exact cause but the power company had to helicopter parts in and build a new road to fix it. Anyway, Sunday night we (and all the others) lost power, phone, cell, and internet. Apparently the huge outage took out some of the cell towers and DSL servers - again I don't know the details but I know we didn't have the services. Power was predicted to be out 3 days min. and included all the commercial buildings in town. Everything, like gas stations, Dr. offices, grocery stores, EVERY store was closed. Power company fixed the problem in 1.5 days. Kudos to them. Here's what I learned.
  • Our generator was our best friend. Powered refrigerator, well pump, and some simple appliances. We were able to shower with hot water and keep our food from spoiling unlike most of our neighbors because of the generator.
  • It's REALLY dark without any city lights. We live remote, but it was definitely darker and quieter.
  • Security was the first thing on my mind and I was glad we had a driveway gate. The news publicized the power outage and every bad guy who owned a TV knew we were sitting ducks without electricity, phone, or cell service. All the other times we've lost power was due to a bad snow storm, so security was never an issue - i.e. bad guys aren't cruising the streets with three feet of snow on them looking for stuff to burglarize. If it matters any, I saw two cop cars the entire time and no additional security or limited access to the neighborhood was provided.
  • Traffic was an issue. Our street is a main country road, but it seemed like a highway during the blackout. I can only guess people were heading to the big city (Denver) for supplies, or just heading to a motel. Not sure, but they were all driving fast. A serious WTF?

What would I change? I'm thinking about a second, bigger generator (without the generator we would have had to leave), more gas (I had 22 gallons in cans and another 18 in our plow truck), trail cams for the driveway (battery powered security), and some more loaded pistol mags (I had one in the gun and two spares for each, but for some reason I've never felt before, I felt like that was not enough.)
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Nothing like a real life situation that shows you just how prepared you really are.

The last couple of Winters have been colder than usual for this part of the Country. Last Winter we has a spell of over a week with sub-zero temps (without the wind chill tossed in) and during two days of that, our power went out. No problem with refirgarated/frozen items but heat... man was that an eye opener! Fortunately we were prepared (so-what) and got through it.
Did make up move into action about updating for anything like that to happen again.
 

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  • Our generator was our best friend. Powered refrigerator, well pump, and some simple appliances. We were able to shower with hot water and keep our food from spoiling unlike most of our neighbors because of the generator.
We often waste fuel running a generator because we're not using it effectively. Consider a battery bank that can charge while you're running the genny and you can use the battery power while the genny is not running.

It's REALLY dark without any city lights. We live remote, but it was definitely darker and quieter.
I know I'll be told it's not necessary, but this is where night vision shines. You may not need it often, but it can literally be a life saver when you do.

  • Security was the first thing on my mind and I was glad we had a driveway gate. The news publicized the power outage and every bad guy who owned a TV knew we were sitting ducks without electricity, phone, or cell service. All the other times we've lost power was due to a bad snow storm, so security was never an issue - i.e. bad guys aren't cruising the streets with three feet of snow on them looking for stuff to burglarize. If it matters any, I saw two cop cars the entire time and no additional security or limited access to the neighborhood was provided.
I'd look at driveway alarms as well. Something like this: http://www.absoluteautomation.com/sti-wireless-driveway-monitor-solar-powered/ would be pretty maintenance free.

  • Traffic was an issue. Our street is a main country road, but it seemed like a highway during the blackout. I can only guess people were heading to the big city (Denver) for supplies, or just heading to a motel. Not sure, but they were all driving fast. A serious WTF?
The driveway alarm would come in handy, as would light discipline. If they don't know you're there, you're not a target. Cover your windows and walk around the house from the outside looking for light leaks.

What would I change? I'm thinking about a second, bigger generator (without the generator we would have had to leave), more gas (I had 22 gallons in cans and another 18 in our plow truck), trail cams for the driveway (battery powered security), and some more loaded pistol mags (I had one in the gun and two spares for each, but for some reason I've never felt before, I felt like that was not enough.)
Consider only running the genny for 3-4 hours at a time and using battery power as needed make up the difference. Since you're rural, I'd consider buying a raised 100-200 gasoline tank and filling it with treated fuel. Rotate it through your vehicles every 6-12 months. You won't need a pump if you let gravity work for you.

I keep 10-15 loaded pistol mags and anough loose ammo to load many more on short notice. I'd recommend the same amount of rifle mags and the extra ammo on stripper clips with a stored speed loader. I also like the LULA quick loaders.

Sounds like you did great. Use this experience and address the weaknesses you identified.
 
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· Millenium #3936
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Several of our local counties were without power for 11 days back in 2011 when the grid went down.. in just 11 days we experienced..looting/violence.. gov imposed dusk/dawn curfew, empty groceries, non working gas stations, no businesses or restaurants and very limited communication and someone stole my gas grill. I would really hate to see what 30 days would be like. I was running out of twigs for my firepit and without boiling water I would have been in a jam. I lived off of oatmeal and dehydrated eggs and beef the entire time. Well, I did have some canned ravioli
 

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Our neighborhood (some 4600 people) lost power on Sunday night due to a remote transformer blowing up in the mountains. Still don't know the exact cause but the power company had to helicopter parts in and build a new road to fix it. Anyway, Sunday night we (and all the others) lost power, phone, cell, and internet. Apparently the huge outage took out some of the cell towers and DSL servers - again I don't know the details but I know we didn't have the services. Power was predicted to be out 3 days min. and included all the commercial buildings in town. Everything, like gas stations, Dr. offices, grocery stores, EVERY store was closed. Power company fixed the problem in 1.5 days. Kudos to them. Here's what I learned.
  • Our generator was our best friend. Powered refrigerator, well pump, and some simple appliances. We were able to shower with hot water and keep our food from spoiling unlike most of our neighbors because of the generator.
  • It's REALLY dark without any city lights. We live remote, but it was definitely darker and quieter.
  • Security was the first thing on my mind and I was glad we had a driveway gate. The news publicized the power outage and every bad guy who owned a TV knew we were sitting ducks without electricity, phone, or cell service. All the other times we've lost power was due to a bad snow storm, so security was never an issue - i.e. bad guys aren't cruising the streets with three feet of snow on them looking for stuff to burglarize. If it matters any, I saw two cop cars the entire time and no additional security or limited access to the neighborhood was provided.
  • Traffic was an issue. Our street is a main country road, but it seemed like a highway during the blackout. I can only guess people were heading to the big city (Denver) for supplies, or just heading to a motel. Not sure, but they were all driving fast. A serious WTF?

What would I change? I'm thinking about a second, bigger generator (without the generator we would have had to leave), more gas (I had 22 gallons in cans and another 18 in our plow truck), trail cams for the driveway (battery powered security), and some more loaded pistol mags (I had one in the gun and two spares for each, but for some reason I've never felt before, I felt like that was not enough.)
I'm glad everything worked out for you. That sounds like a giant pain in the ass.
The bigger generator and more fuel makes perfect sense. In your rural location it could be handy several times a year. My father built his rural dream home several years ago. He included a hardwired automatic backup generator that runs off his big propane tank.
As for security, keeping a handgun with a few mags handy sounds like plenty. You are looking out for looters and idiots not cartels and jihadists.
It also sounds like you have a great electric company.
 

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If you would have to left in just 1.5 days without the generator you need to toughen up a bit.
I am also LOL. I don't disagree with you, but having three young kids in the house, missed work calls/emails and no running water makes things rather uncomfortable. I could have easily toughed it out, but really no need to in this case.
 

· Watcher.
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In a grid failure situation,being able to produce yer own power is great,someone seeing a "light" is not.I agree with AS,a few gen1 nvds are worth the money.You could watch yer place and most would be none the wiser.Gen1 stuff is cheap and would serve that purpose quite well.

As to a genny upgrade,I agree again AS.Have yer genny charging a b/b as it's running appliances.We use solar to charge batts,we can run the well pump off it.Keep stored water so if the pump quits you have a b/u till you can fix it.Also use an above ground pump,easier to access/fix.

We use IR game cameras and a couple of Mastiffs as early warning devices,a well trained k9 is worth it's weight in gold.Geese are also great alarm systems.Next,don't think bad weather=no thieves;there are some highly motivated thieves out there.They know,bad weather=a highly delayed response time.'08.
 

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We lost power for 11 days due to Hurricane Ike hitting Ohio. Luckily it was September and temps were mild. We used the grill to cook. Got used to cold showers. I was working 12 hour plus shifts (officer) and it didnt seem that bad. However, I have a hunting place in the hills. So it was like a camp out for my son and I, but I was too busy and tired to have anytime to deal with the issues. Battery powered radio helped with local information. Candles and the old oil lamp works. Since learned those yard solar lights can be utilized inside at night. I've even seen a chandelier of solar lights for a room. I got canned deer meat for meals (BBQ, deer n noodles, roast style). No security issues or outsiders on my street to deal with. Wore out every chainsaw blade I had helping neighbors with all the trees down.
 

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I'm thinking about a second, bigger generator (without the generator we would have had to leave)
You couldn't survive in your own home for 36 hours without power? That sounds unlikely for the average person, but I won't discount needing power for some medical necessity.

Also, a full freezer should easily last a couple days unplugged.
 

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You couldn't survive in your own home for 36 hours without power? That sounds unlikely for the average person, but I won't discount needing power for some medical necessity.

Also, a full freezer should easily last a couple days unplugged.
I don't think he said he couldn't survive without power. I think he just prefers electricity. If you have the ability to provide power in an outage, why wouldn't you? It also sounds like he lives where the power could go out for much longer periods.
 

· local trouble maker
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What is the longest I lived without electricity? three months.
The hardiest? 10 days in subzero were a storm took out over 20 poles. That wasn't that bad. broke out the propane heaters and cooked on them, plenty of food at home so it was no big deal.. went to bed at dark. the worst part was breaking the ice to keep the cows in water.
 

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What is the longest I lived without electricity? three months.
The hardiest? 10 days in subzero were a storm took out over 20 poles. That wasn't that bad. broke out the propane heaters and cooked on them, plenty of food at home so it was no big deal.. went to bed at dark. the worst part was breaking the ice to keep the cows in water.
Congrats?
 

· 10mm Philosopher
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I'm glad everything worked out for you. That sounds like a giant pain in the ass.
The bigger generator and more fuel makes perfect sense. In your rural location it could be handy several times a year. My father built his rural dream home several years ago. He included a hardwired automatic backup generator that runs off his big propane tank.
As for security, keeping a handgun with a few mags handy sounds like plenty. You are looking out for looters and idiots not cartels and jihadists.
It also sounds like you have a great electric company.
Pretty much agree with this. ... Another generator and more stored fuel. Agree also with installing trail cameras & alarms along the driveway, especially if yours is a long one with trees and bushes and/or winding turns.

On the premise this experience served as a SHTF-teaching lesson, it also points are that, if you're prepared to do so, bugging-in is less of a hassle than bugging-out with a vehicle and heading into the unpredictable variables of other panicky people (or bad guys) traveling the road.

On the weapons issue, having a pistol on you (i.e., immediately accessible), with a spare loaded mag or two, is always a bare minimum in these situations, and while everyone's SHTF scenario will vary, in a highly rural area where I'm doing a bug-in on my property - and especially if it's of significant acreage size-wise - I'll have a rifle loaded and within reach.

All that said, I'm glad everything worked out, and it sounds like you've got some good, competent folks staffing your power company. :cool:
 

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Good read and thanks for the post! What size is your Genny right now?
 
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