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Lost Electrical Power for 9 Days. Good Practice.

Written by Gary North on March 5, 2012

Here is the story of a family that learned the basics of preparation. The power went down and stayed down.

Without electrical power, our lifestyle changes fast. It gets bad, fast. Then it gets worse.

 Now, it was time to put my action plan to the test. I got out all my heavy duty 12 gauge extension cords, electrical strips, Coleman battery lanterns, etc.  I fired up the Coleman 5,000 watt generator on the first pull and plugged everything in: the refrigerator, the chest freezer, the TV and satellite box.

The next morning, walking outside through the front door I sure could tell a severe storm came through. Debris, shingles, branches, lawn furniture, and more was everywhere. . . .

My wife called me into the house to show me the news on TV. It turned out that we had experienced a very widespread tornado and storm damage covering three states. Our entire regional area including St. Louis was 80% out of power. My gut feeling told me what we were going to be without power for a number of days. I thought, “Oh well. I’m a prepper. I’m ready!”  A quick check told me that I had about a weeks worth of gasoline for the generator.

Later on that morning we took a little drive around our village to see what was up. Nothing was open, and I mean nothing. No Wal-Mart, no Kroger, no McDonalds and no gas stations. There was very little traffic and all the stop lights were out.   Returning home around noon we walked into a very hot house. Should I open the windows or keep the house closed up?

It wasn’t long before I had to make a decision. It was 98 degrees outside and 82 degrees inside and climbing. To make a long and miserable story short, I decided to keep the house closed up. . . .

Day Two: One long continuation of day one: hot!  At least I had all the conveniences of home: satellite TV, refrigerator, freezer, lights, coffee pot, etc. No one else in the subdivision seemed to be as well off. That night around 9 p.m. my wife and I went for a drive to see if anything was open yet.  Everything was still closed.  Driving back into the subdivision I got an eerie gut wrenching knot in my stomach as I was approached my house. The entire subdivision was totally black, except for my house.  It looked like Christmas from the outside. The entire subdivision was totally silent, except for my house, where the blaring sound of a generator permeated the silence. I realized that I had a big red and white circle on my back! We got inside, closed the curtains, and repositioned the lights. There wasn’t much we could do about the generator noise. . . .

Day Three: The days are getting hotter along with the inside of the house. I had to report to work, and the roofer was expected to drop by later. The roof was repaired by the time I got home, the wind turbine replaced, and the vent pipe repaired, all for a very reasonable price.  I was surprised that I didn’t get gouged!

I was getting 24-hours run time out of the generator at 50-75% capacity and the oil needed to be changed.  Remember those big red and white circles on my back? The neighbors on both sides of me came over shortly after I returned home from work and asked if I had any ice and/or bottled water to spare. Along with everything else going on, we had a water boil order and we had been advised not to directly drink the water.

I was willing to help but I didn’t let it be known that I had 10 cases of bottled water and two 55-gallon plastic food grade barrels full for emergency use. I only had a small amount of ice in a few ice trays but I gave them what I had and refilled the trays.  I also gave them plenty of ice cold bottled water from the fridge. I’m learning many of the people in the subdivision are driving 50-100 miles to get air conditioned motel rooms to escape the heat and sleep. Some are asking us to please try and keep an eye on their property.

To read about days four to nine, click the link.

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3 thoughts on “Lost Electrical Power for 9 Days. Good Practice.

  1. max penn says:

    Very few are ready for any thing like no power. We all have been living in a country that has made keep everyone safe and in a dream world. All think nothing very bad can happen here!! RIGHT. When it happens, whatever it may be, 90% will die in the first month. Because of lack of skills and lack of preparing for it. Each and everyone that dies say's "it can't happen here".

  2. You were lucky-because you prepared, that is. Most folks cannot (no fault of theirs-limited budget) can afford a generator, lewt alone someone qualified
    to install the generator.

    I keep thinking: What did (or how ) our ancestors-how did they survigve?

  3. MontanaMEL says:

    Most 5KW gensets have 4 common plugs on 2 different breakers of 15 amps each.. Get a tape measure..figure coming in a window or two with those cords…figure out what you need…maybe 1 for 100 ft to get down the basement stairs for the freezer/water pump/heat pump fan/blower…2 ea for Refrg/coffee maker/microwave duty, say 25 ft ea (14 ga works fine)..and one 50 ft long for the TV/PHONE/sat box (14 ga works here too).. Put the genset in the flower bed outside the kitchen window…run the long cord to the window nearest the stairs to the basement…or, PRE RUN SOME ROMEX WIRE across the basement and up the stairs…put a plug on it there and just run a "short cord" to that doorway location..think… figure out how to CHAIN that genset down…or, it will walk the first night!.. (Con't below)…