I figured I would write a little article for fellow neighbors to help in the future to be prepared for events like hurricane sandy.
This is basically the list of things I keep handy for events like this and or things I keep handy anyway in the event of things like this. why I have them where to get them cheap and how to use them. Some of this is less useful for apartments but much of its still usable.
Lets start with light. LED's are your friend. a typical AAA powered LED light will go for a very long time on a set of batteries sometimes days even if you LEAVE them on. you want to make sure they use standard full size cells AA AAA C D cells even 9v is ok. avoid "button" cells at all costs. they are VERY expensive and very low capacity. ideally you want AAA and AA cells units since these cells are cheap in bulk and have a 10 YEAR shelf life.
your best bet is EBAY or a store like Big Lots. don't want UNTIL the storm to get your lights (how did that work out for you this storm?) nough said?
remember you need 10 at least. trust me. when they restock biglots has a very nice 10pack of AAA powered 6led insanely bright flashlight for $10.
for batteries goto Dollar Tree and buy 8 packs of 4x AAA alkaline (ONLY DO NOT BUY HEAVY DUTY ONLY USE ALKALINE) so for $18 you have 10 flashlights and enough batteries for all of them.
you should have a small tupperware type bin a $4 bin will hold a lot of stuff.
here is the minimum.
10 Flashlights. the small 6-9 LED aluminum 3x AAA powered ones are ideal. Very bright very small.
Hand Warmers (the open air activate ones) just in case.
Can Openers (at least 2) for opening canned goods. TEST THEM make sure they work before you store them. same with the flashlights. don't leave batteries in them but TEST each one before you toss it in the bin.
Avoid candles. they are dangerous and a fire hazzard with LED's there is simply no need to mess with candles.
anything you "wish you had" this past storm? put it in the bin.
some other things that are nice to have.
LED TAP LIGHTS. these are the little hockey puck lights with 3 LED's in them. they are not super bright but they are bright enough and again run on AAA. they have self sticking tape on the button. install one in each bathroom. no power? just "tap" the light and you have enough light to do your business. install them wherever you think they might be useful. they are $2 each ($1 for the light $1 for the pack of batteries 3xAAA)
mount them high and out of the way but not too high for shorter family members to reach.
Generator. a 1500watt generator will run more than you think and you can get them used for under $100 on craigslist if you hunt long enough (make sure it can SUSTAIN 1500 watt so it might be a 1750 or 2000 watt peak with a sustained 1500watt capacity. though 2500-3500 is much better.
every now and then I see new generators (2500-3500 watt class) on sale Aldi sometimes has them for $150. of course with a storm approaching you can forget getting a good deal. must prepare.
you can run your freezer 2-3 hours a day on this. you can run a small microwave on this. and if you use LED bulbs in your home you can run as many lights as you want on this.
2x 5 gallon gas cans. $10 a pop roughly at walmart ($8 to $15) don't leave them filled leave them EMPTY but keep them in the garage etc.. for when the need arrises.
have tree's? chainsaw. you can get chainsaws for under $100 or get a used ELECTRIC chainsaw ($10 to $40 on craigslist if you hunt around)
wait we have no power? did you miss getting the generator? yeah it will run one of these saws just fine. don't forget the $3 bottle of BAR OIL to keep with the saw.
if you get a gas saw have a 1 gallon can with oil already in the can. DO NOT put fuel in it till the need arrises. the addition of ETHANOL in all our fuel means you can NOT easily "store fuel" without problems. make sure you put the OIL GAS tag on this can so you don't mistake it for regular fuel can AND to remind you to use oil since most chainsaws are 2 cycle.
Can't or won't get a chainsaw? get a regular hand saw and an axe. $5 a pop at yardsales etc.. they take more work and energy but work just as well in the end.
with the axe and chainsaw the neighbors and I cleared a fallen tree from the street in under 20 minutes.
extension cords. at least 2 50ft cords and a couple 25ft cords. some heavy duty 3 way outlets and a bunch of 12+ ft "cheapy" extensions cords and a couple of power strips (put all this in your bin) the cheapy cords will let you run LED lights (OR CFL's) anywhere you want the strips give you more outlets.
use the heavier cords for the "high power" stuff like yor refridgerator. use the cheapy cords for your lower power stuff (cell phones dvd players game systems etc..)
remember the smaller generators were not designed for a continious duty cycle. so run if 4-5 hours a day. I advise JUST before dark each night so you gain the advantage of lighting without using battery power.
a good lighting source is at IKEA for $15 you can get a 3 watt clamp LED light. you can plug 20 of these into ANY generator and it won't even notice them.
1 aimed at the ceiling will provide reading walking light for an entire room.
always thing BACKUPS. get yourself a continious duty 2000watt power inverter. Harbor Frieght is a good place to get these very affordably.
a 1200/2400 peak invert might be enough (test it) and you can get those for $110 at harbor freight wait till you get a 20% off coupon and get it then. ($22 off!)
better would be the 1500/3000 unit ($130 or $104 with 20% coupon)
if your generator fails you can hook this inverter to the battery in your CAR. start the engine and now you can run a single high power item at a time. run your freezer for 2 hours to keep everything frozen once per day.
Some things to do BEFORE the storm.
FILL ALL YOUR GAS TANKS. this should go without saying. every single drivable car should be FULL well before the storm hits.
NOT only does this mean you don't have to worry about getting/finding fuel as the storm hits and afterwards but it also means you avoid uneccessary driving and waiting in line and any other associated crap.
HIT THE ATM and have some CASH on you. if power is down sometimes places will still take CASH but won't be able to take PLASTIC without power.
FILL your gas can's when you fill your car. don't forge the chainsaw can if you hae one.
Some other good things to have on hand.
Keroscene heater. a 5 gallon can of keroscene will run a single heater for days. run it just at night and you can go a week. if its REALLY cold select one large room put the heater at the center (MAKE SURE NOTHING BURNABLE IS NEAR IT) and semi seal off the room entrances. hang a sheet over each room BUT leave an opening at the buttom "AND" an opening at the TOP so you have VENTILATION!!
Don't forget your critters. dogs and cats will be fine as long as you are fine. smaller critters might need special care. especially lizards. they are very intolerant of cold. temps below 70' are dangerous for lizards temps below 60' are lethal. Below 50' they expire quickly.
Do you have a basement? sump pump to keep seepage out? make sure it works before the storm. pour some water into it see if it turns on and does its thing.
run an extension cord to where the pump is so if you lose power AND flood you can start your generator and or inverter and keep your basement from flooding.
Run extension cords to your fridge freezer etc.. and then to where you plan to use the generator/inverter so if it happens you can just start it and plug things in as needed.
you should ALWAYS have at least 1 month's food in the house. that is just common sense. plenty of non perishables canned veggies etc..
make sure a bunch of its food that in a pinch you can eat cold.
if you SUSPECT a storm is comming stock up on some bread and milk as this is always "first gone" when the storm rush occurs.
in a pinch if your out of bread hit your convenience stores and look for hotdog or hamburger rolls. its just white bread and tastes the same but many don't buy it thinking its not what they want (they want loafs of bread)
make sure if you need C or D cells you buy them and keep the amount you need for your gizmo's on hand since they sell out like bread and milk does in events such as this. even now several days later its hard to find any D cells anywhere.
though AA and AAA are plentiful enough ie the last minute panics have not bought them all though in a more severe incident or closer to the center of action this may not be true. Modern Alkalines last 10 years and still hold 80+ % of their capacity.
If you prepare properly. fill up your gas tanks already have milk bread and batteries then you don't need to be out and about in "the panic"
you can stay home and PREPARE your home and your family. you will be calmer and you will reduce danger by not being out in the pre storm panic.
INSPECT your property AND your neighbors property NOW before any storms. are there potentially dangerous tree's? are they sound? can you cut/trim them to reduce their danger?
Egg Harbor City weathered the storm insanely well considering how close to AC it is. one of the ways they did this was to go around and PRE TAKE CARE OF potentially dangerous tree's that could harm homes or take down power lines BEFORE the storm. you do the same.
Bring in anything that can blow away. flip tables upside down if you can't bring them inside etc.. Don't forget your trash cans.
Fill a bunch of 1 gallon milk jugs with water. you should do this anyway. one in each room. might make the difference between a small fire and a lose your house fire and if you keep them fresh they are good emergency drinking water. Each month I "replace" a jug with a new jug. this way nothing from the plastic leeches into the water. as a fire jug you don't need to do this but as a water jug its probably a good idea.
in some area's even if you don't lose water pressure if the water source is contaminated with debris the water might not be safe to drink.
having a couple extra batteries for your cell phone ($5 to $10 a pop on ebay) is not a bad idea. just remember to "cycle" them (IE switch them out now and then) and charge them all up before the storm.
Be careful using your "CAR" to charge things since you don't want to deplete your battery and be unable to start your car.
Got any questions? ask. got any advice or things you want to add? please do so.