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A cautionery tale about preps for power cuts.
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
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Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:42 pm    Post subject: A cautionery tale about preps for power cuts. Reply with quote

This report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42771668

Is rather concerning, and could have ended in loss of life.
A man in Scotland had been without electricity for a week, presumably due to the adverse weather.
He decided to walk some miles to the nearest village for assistance, became stuck in drifting snow and was lucky to be rescued.

This does show the importance of being prepared for prolonged power cuts, especially in remote areas.
Minimum preps in my view should include.
A low tech means of heating at least one room and doing very basic cooking, fuel for at least a month.
Lighting for at least a month, preferably fuel burning due to the warmth produced. 3 Tilley lamps, 2 in use and one spare and at least 40 litres of paraffin might be prudent, plus electric torches and batteries.
Food for a month, that requires minimum preparation and is not perishable.
Bottled water for a month. Do not count on melting snow.
Warm clothing and bedding, sufficient changes of clothing to last a month.

It would be well to avoid any need to go out in such extreme conditions. What seems an easy walk can be fatal in drifting snow.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 4839
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:21 pm    Post subject: Re: A cautionery tale about preps for power cuts. Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
This report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42771668

Is rather concerning, and could have ended in loss of life.
A man in Scotland had been without electricity for a week, presumably due to the adverse weather.
He decided to walk some miles to the nearest village for assistance, became stuck in drifting snow and was lucky to be rescued.

This does show the importance of being prepared for prolonged power cuts, especially in remote areas.
Minimum preps in my view should include.
A low tech means of heating at least one room and doing very basic cooking, fuel for at least a month.
Lighting for at least a month, preferably fuel burning due to the warmth produced. 3 Tilley lamps, 2 in use and one spare and at least 40 litres of paraffin might be prudent, plus electric torches and batteries.
Food for a month, that requires minimum preparation and is not perishable.
Bottled water for a month. Do not count on melting snow.
Warm clothing and bedding, sufficient changes of clothing to last a month.

It would be well to avoid any need to go out in such extreme conditions. What seems an easy walk can be fatal in drifting snow.

Minus 14.1C? Oh the humanity Rolling Eyes Where were the road crews to clear the drifts for a week? And of course even a remote house in the wilds of Scotland doesn't have a serviceable pair of snow shoes hung on the wall.
Nice John Deer in that picture of Glasgow airport. Looks like mine's big, big brother.
Any veteran can tell you that when necessary one change of clothes is enough if you can just keep them dry.
But all kidding aside I'll add to your list a LED headlamp which gives you hands free light in all the dark corners you don't have emergency lamps for. In a four day power outage I had earlier this year I became very attached to mine and had it in my pocket at all times it wasn't on my head. Also some three inch diameter candles that will last for several nights if all else fails.
I don't need bottled water as mine comes in by gravity alone from my spring but for the neighbors I took them each a 55 gallon food grade plastic barrel full of water so they could wash dishes and flush toilets. One would take less floor space then a pallet of bottled water and not create the throwaway plastic waste.
25 lbs. of rice stored in gallon glass jars or mouse proof metal cans (Popcorn and potato chips (crisps to you) come in them around Christmas time. A can full of pasta and another full of flour and yet another full of dried beans and split peas. A cupboard well stocked with can goods and a freezer full to the brim most of the time covers my food supplies.
Now add in a 4000W contractors generator and 45HP JD tractor with plow to plow my half mile private road and the five miles to town if the town road crew quits or goes wheels up and I'm pretty well set come what may.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Almost all carbohydrates then. With your temperatures you have no trouble storing lard, butter, small amount of meat and fish. Vegetables and plenty of cheese and eggs. All in all a much better diet than carbs.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your climate, VT, means that you have snow every year for the majority of the winter. In most of the UK, even Scotland. if we have snow it usually only last for a few days unless you're up a mountain and not many people live there. If they are they are probably farmers who have a tractor and a snow plough attachment and so are OK.

We get these extreme, to us, conditions about once every ten to twenty years and it's just not an economic proposition to invest in a lot of supplies and equipment. Whether or not we should be preparing for an even greater crisis is another question entirely.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodburner wrote:
Wow! Almost all carbohydrates then. With your temperatures you have no trouble storing lard, butter, small amount of meat and fish. Vegetables and plenty of cheese and eggs. All in all a much better diet than carbs.
The meat and vegetables are in the freezer and the canned goods. The dry grains and beans have the advantage of not going bad if they freeze or thaw out. Not a good diet by themselves long term but better then boiling and chewing an old boot. Wink
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:

We get these extreme, to us, conditions about once every ten to twenty years and it's just not an economic proposition to invest in a lot of DODGY. .
If a person or group were going to come and try to kill me once every ten or twenty years I'd have a defense ready every day. That something like the weather is impersonal and unthinking does not make it any less dangerous and a few cheap preparations and supplies that don't go to waste are worth having on hand. My folks told me "You can drive just as cheap on the top half of the gas tank as you can the bottom half and you will have to walk home less often".
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could easily survive the worst the weather could throw at us in the UK. Yep, definitely be able to last out. A years supply of logs, lots of eggs, cheese.........see earlier post. Head torches, wind up torches, and jumpers, coats and blankets.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could live near normally for a month, and survive in some discomfort for at least a year.
I have had several short power cuts, but nothing serious.
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cubes



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're going to be using fuel-burning lamps/cooking equipment I'm assuming it's inside?

If so, maybe a CO detector might be a good additional investment too?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, in a prolonged power cut I would use paraffin burning Tilley lamps and an Aladdin lamp.
These are clean burning and most unlikely to emit CO, but yes I do have a couple of CO detectors "just in case"

Heating would be primarily from the multi fuel stove, supplemented with a Tilley infra-red radiator and the stray heat from the lamps.

I keep logs for one full winter, and some coal.
Paraffin stocks are about 250 litres, perhaps a couple of years normal consumption, or maybe 5 years with strict economy.

All essential electric lights are on a UPS, but in a prolonged outage I would conserve battery power by use of Aladdin and Tilley lamps instead.
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A realistic assessment of the house you live in is in order. Anything built before the twentieth century that has not been extensively upgraded has plenty of leaks and drafts to support gas and paraffin (as you call it, kerosene to me) burners running round the clock just as you average (cooking room ) range can have four burners plus the oven burning without fear of CO2 poisoning.
If on the other hand you have built your Doom-stead to Passivehouse standards you need to check your calculations and make sure the oil lamps are not burning oxygen intended for the occupants.
But at the most you might need to crack a window open a quarter inch for each extra flame you light.
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PS_RalphW



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pedantic chemist again,. You would be dead from CO poisening long before you suffered from CO2 poisening.
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS_RalphW wrote:
Pedantic chemist again,. You would be dead from CO poisening long before you suffered from CO2 poisening.

Word play? Is not being dead from CO2 poisoning suffering from it?
" pedantic" good vocab word of the day. Smile
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Care should be taken not to confuse carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

Carbon monoxide is exceedingly poisonous, it is produced by the imperfect combustion of common fuels.
The most common sources of carbon monoxide are petrol engine exhaust fumes, and the burning of charcoal.
If fuel such as natural gas or paraffin is burnt fully and efficiently, then dangerous levels of CO are unlikely.

Gas or oil lamps or candles with a clean burning flame are unlikely to be dangerous. Gas or oil lamps with an incandescent mantle are safer still since perfect combustion is assured by the glowing mantle.
Tilley infra-red radiators are relatively safe, since the glowing mantle assures perfect combustion.

CO is generally produced by imperfect combustion, especially when a flame is cooled by contact with relatively cold surfaces, or if the burner is badly adjusted.

CO poisoning can be fatal, or may cause permanent brain damage.
If such poisoning is suspected, the patient must be given fresh air, preferably outdoors. Severe cases should be given oxygen.

Battery powered CO detectors are readily available and should be installed in any area with a solid fuel stove or an open fire. Also prudent IMO in case of emergency use of other fuel burning equipment.
Every year people die of CO piosioning, but most were doing something stupid, usually involving charcoal or petrol engine exhaust. A few are killed by defective gas appliances.

Carbon dioxide by contrast is a normal constituent of the air and is vital for human life. It is only dangerous if present in concentrations several times greater than normal.
The efficient combustion of any fuel* will produce carbon dioxide, but this is normally of little concern.
A candle produces about the same amount of carbon dioxide as a person at rest, therefore before lighting a candle you should take whatever precautions that you take if another person enters the room.
A Tilley lamp produces about the same carbon dioxide as 6 people, so before prolonged of same in a small or ill ventilated room extra ventilation might be needed.
For most rooms the existing airflow will be fine. Do you worry about carbon dioxide levels at the family Christmas dinner ?

*except hydrogen.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A small point: 0°C outside in, say, Norway can be quite pleasant; not so in the UK and Ireland, with its high humidity.
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