Hurricane Sandy, Five Days Without Power, Three Weeks Later, and the Gear That Made My Life Easier

by suburban on November 23, 2012 · 13 comments

share save 171 16 Hurricane Sandy, Five Days Without Power, Three Weeks Later, and the Gear That Made My Life Easier

image2 300x224 Hurricane Sandy, Five Days Without Power, Three Weeks Later, and the Gear That Made My Life Easier

This is my (Suburban’s)  slightly overdue postmortem of Hurricane Sandy.  It’s Thanksgiving day as I write this, and I want to say thank you again to all of you, my readers, as well as a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.  My thoughts this holiday weekend are with those who’s homes and lives have been forever changed by the hurricane a few weeks ago.

It’s no secret that many are still without power, heat, etc. from Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter that just came barreling through the Northeastern United States.  For what it is worth, I was affected much less than others in the NY and NJ areas that were devastated by the storm. In fact, I am almost embarrassed to discuss it, but think  it is important to convey what worked for me, and what I lacked that could have been more helpful. However, I was without power for almost five days, and I found that I had more than a few products that help make my life easier over the week, and I wanted to share them with you.  There were more than a couple…

You will probably notice several pieces of gear dedicated to lighting.  I do not underestimate the requirement for light.  Since much of what we do is done during dusk or when it is dark out lighting is both a convenience and a psychological asset during an emergency, that I liken to having a campfire.

  • Duracell DPP-600HD Powerpack 600 Jump Starter & Emergency Power Source with Radio:  This peice of gear was “almost” invaluable in helping me keep many of my low voltage devices charged, such as my phone and the ASCELLA Emergency Light Bulb.  It offered me some peice of mind that I would be able to charge my devices with no power at all for an undetermined length of time.  I didn’t really use the flashlight or the radio, but it felt good to know, I had three outlets of power to use if I needed to, even if I had to ration power.  Speaking of rationing power, I did turn my mobile phone off and on at defined points in the day to conserve power as well.  I dodn’t want to be an energy hog, and glad I did it in order to ration the battery.
  • image3 224x300 Hurricane Sandy, Five Days Without Power, Three Weeks Later, and the Gear That Made My Life EasierEtón FR160B Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger:  This was probably one of the most valuable assets I had during the power outage. It offered news, entertainment, emergency updates, a way to trickle charge my phone, etc.  I charged it in the window during the day, and kept the volume at a level where the battery would last almost the whole evening.  When the battery went dead after a few hours, I would simply wind it up by the handle for a couple minutes and turn it back on to listen to some music or the news.   Those that say “radio is dead” because of Internet services are sadly mistaken.  In an emergency situation the radio was the only communication method I relied on to get my emergency news and entertainment. Do not underestimate this device and buy two of them so you have them…
  • Hybrid HL40 Solar / Battery Powered Flashlight:  Another tool that used the sun as a renewable resource, I kept it at my side most of the week I was iwthout power.  Again, charging it in the sun during the day, and using it in the evening for light duty work, helped make the darkness better.  Best part, no batteries burned up because they were rechargable.  Going to pick up a couple more of these for the Bug Out Bag as well as the apartment.  Use them as a primary or backup flashlight.  The choice is yours…
  • The ASCELLA 5 Watt Emergency Light Bulb / Flashlight:  I wrote about this Light Bulb, and didn’t realize how useful it actually would become until the power went out.   I had it screwed into my desk lamp in my home office.  Upon the power going out, I moved the whole lamp to the kitchen so that I could use it to cook over the stove since the stove light was not working.  I simply turned it on and off and didn’t have to have someone hold a lantern or flashlight for me.  It was invaluable to me during power outage.  The best part, the light went on automatically when the power went out.  It allowed me to find it without fumbling and turn it on and off so the battery would not die.  Loved this device and as mentioned will be buying several for gifts and for myself.  At 29.00 you may think it is a bit expensive, and maybe it is, but when the power went out, I didn’t think about the pricing, I thought about the convenience.  Great device that can help anyone anytime.
  • Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater:  As the temperatures dipped into the high 30’s in the evening, I bundled up, and was relatively warm, but when that chill hits, you just want heat and to be warm.  Without the ability to start a campfire, and honestly wanted to do, I fired up my Mr. Heater.  It took the 45 degree living room of my apartment, and heated it up to a steady 65 degrees.   I would turn it on high, and then back it down to low, and this thing worked like a champ.  It allowed me to relax a bit more and stay warmer.  My next purchase as a heater backup is going to be a free standing kerosene heater that will heat 1000 square feet of space.  That should heat my apartment nicely.  There is a generator in the works as well, as I already spoke to the house owner about it.
  • image4 300x224 Hurricane Sandy, Five Days Without Power, Three Weeks Later, and the Gear That Made My Life Easier15 Watt Solar Panel:  I used this to trickle charge my Duracell DPP-600HD Powerpack every day.  I put the panel in the window and let it go.  Sadly, I do not know how well it did or did not work as the meter on the Duracell is digital and rounds to the nearest 10 percent.  It seemed to slowly do the job however.  45 Watt input would probably been a much better load, however.  Something that I may look at in the future…
  • Sanyo Enloop Rechargeable Batteries:  Rechargables I used in my small LED tactical flashlights that I had laying around the house…  Making sure they were charged prior to the outage, they lasted all week without recharge or replacement.  They say Enloop are currently the best re, and I have to agree currently…
  • The WaterBob:  As a safety measure, not knowing whether or not the water was going to be affected in my area, I not only had my 35 gallons of stored water, I filled up the Waterbob in my tub with about another 50 gallons of water.  While I didn’t require the use of it, it was good to get it out of the box and have to have a practical use for it.  It seemes pretty durable, was super easy to use, and there is no reason everyone should not have one of these sitting in the bathroom closet in the event they need one in an emergency.  I was glad I had it and really didn’t need it.  Had I needed to, I would have been very thankful for having it…
  • Kerosene Lanterns:  Let me just say, a fantastic tool to have, for two reasons.  First, just to have the light, and a natural glow.  Second, heat.  When your hands got a little chilly, you just simply cup them a few inches from the top of the lantern and the heat of the flame heats you right up.  Nice incremental heat source and lighting source.  I used them every day the power was out.  Loved them.
  • Coleman LED Lantern: This got some pretty heavy use.  With 4 D batteries, I thought for sure by the end of the week they would be dead.  Not to mention that the batteries had been in ther for over a year at this point… Not even close to dead.  Why?  The D batteries charge small rechargables in either side of the removable panels, and then allow you to use the batteries in the panels, vs. the 4D battery pack located in the bottom of the lantern.  Great tool, a bit expensive, but the versatility of the device itself made it a great peice of gear.
  • image6 224x300 Hurricane Sandy, Five Days Without Power, Three Weeks Later, and the Gear That Made My Life EasierCoffee Percuulator and Coffee Press:  Comfort foods, is all I can say.  When the power is out and you cannot use the drip coffee maker, these were my tools of choice for boiling water for coffee and tea.  I didn’t have to skip a beat with my morning coffee or my evening tea.  Made life MUCH more bearable under the circumstances…
  • Portable Camping Toilet:  Yes, I have one of these in my apartment in a corner hidden away… It’s there because I accidentally ordered it one day on Amazon.com.  It was about 45.00 – 50.00 when I bought it, and thought about sending it back, but with all the camping I do, I am sure it will come in handy in the future.  Until then, if there is an emergency where I have to shelter in, and the sewage system is down for a short period of time, I think that this will come in pretty handy.  While I did not “need” to use it this time around, I was glad it was in the corner in the event I needed to…
Overall, I thought I was pretty prepared for sheltering in.  With the natural gas not down, I didn’t have to worry about using my grill (although I did), and could continue to use my stove to cook.  I took it upon myself to play with some Bannok recipes and fry up some Bannock Bread with my eggs.  Oh man was it good.
Areas that were challenges, were procuring gasoline for my car.  I was not prepared for a gasoline shortage.  That is changing as we speak.  Procuring ice for my coolers was also a challenge.  That is where the generator is going to come in.  Keeping the refrigerator/freezer up and running a little longer and periodically running the generator would have been very helpful… I lost a lot of fish in the freezer, and a bunch of stuff in the refrigerator.  With winter coming, and a fragile grid infrastructure already, those are preps that will be accelerated…
I hope this helps some of you that are preparing for whatever it is that you are preparing for.  I did not expect to be sheltering in myself, because most of my plans are (were) to bug out, in the event of an “event” of sorts.  I realize now that I cannot nor would it always be practical to bug out.  What are your thoughts on all of this…

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