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Verminius Rex

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Preparing for the Apocalypse, or just a snowstorm... [Nov. 8th, 2008|08:36 pm]
Verminius Rex
Between pics of the snowstorms in the Dakotas and chatting with worm poo guy today (while freezing, must price those Carhartt thermal coveralls this week, even if market is over for the season) I was thinking about the lack of an emergency kit in the house.

During the Y2K scare that many of us remember, every butthole with something to sell was crawling out from under a rock telling us about how we should build a bunker in the back yard and stock up on their brand of dehydrated food and turn our cash into gold. I didn't believe any of it, the people panicking the most had no clue what they were panicking about.

But the level headed did say having a 3-7 day supply of drinkable water and preserved food in the house is a good idea. You never know when a storm, blizzard or other natural disaster (or some idiot hitting a power pole) will happen. Marz won't let me build a bunker (and I'm too lazy and cheap to do that, although the extra square footage would be nice. Probably turn it into a sewing room anyway if we built one) and she says no to dehydrated food. Disappointing, yes. Realistic, yeah, that came a bit later.

So what is the household going to get for an emergency? Tomorrow I'll start clearing off a shelf downstairs, where I'll keep a supply of canned food, enough to feed the family for a couple days. Probably heavy on the soups and stews. And I'll see just how long those gallon jugs of water are supposedly good for. The goal is to have a supply that I rotate once or twice a year at most, but can be absorbed into the regular household meals so nothing is wasted.

I'd like some sort of heat source that didn't involve storing massive amounts of flammable fuel. A candle heat source would be nice, but without a fireplace that's unlikely to happen. I'm still researching, and finding some neat stuff along the way.

[User Picture]From: affreca
2008-11-09 04:15 am (UTC)
Kerosene space heater. A couple of gallons will keep a room warm for several days (says the girl who heated her house for two winters with just a kerosene heater and kerosene she carried from the gas station).
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[User Picture]From: electron_pusher
2008-11-09 04:57 am (UTC)
Kerosene is a royal-t-fucking-bitch to find in Lawerence / KC area.

Says the guy who came from the east coast, and did do the kero heat thing w/ space heaters. I bought a heater here, and then couldn't find fuel.

The farm supply store up north of town is the only place I knew of to find it and at one point it closed. I am not sure, but it might have re-opened. Still, it is very hard to find.

Whereas propane you can get at any grocery store. FWIW
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[User Picture]From: verminiusrex
2008-11-09 05:01 am (UTC)
You can actually find kerosene by the gallon at most hardware stores, I think. Although that would probably make the cost prohibitive. We got some at Westlake years ago for an art project (something about using it to transfer xerox copies to some other surface, I think).
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[User Picture]From: electron_pusher
2008-11-09 05:06 am (UTC)
True, but that stuff's like 6$ / gallon before the price went through the roof.

My room / half house heater, when I was using it a bunch, went through 5ish gallons day. Maybe 10 gallons lasted just shy of 3 days.

All depends on what you want :). But I agree it's smart to be somewhat prepared. We live out in the woods, so it's way worse, but even in town it's a good idea.
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[User Picture]From: affreca
2008-11-09 04:27 am (UTC)
Making Light Blog has had several good threads on emergency preparedness. The comments have a lot of good ideas.

I'd swap out water every six months or so.
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[User Picture]From: verminiusrex
2008-11-09 04:43 am (UTC)
Someone actually pointed me at that about 2 hours ago. It does have some good info, although I'm going fairly light on my emergency kit. So far 4 cans of chunky soup and a gallon of drinking water from the store, that says it's good until next October.
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[User Picture]From: electron_pusher
2008-11-09 05:03 am (UTC)
As it turns out, I've been doing a LOT of reading on this topic, and I am making plans to put up (and rotate through) a significant amount of food. Different reasoning, but would also do what you want :).

Anyway: There are a TON of resources out there. I've spent weeks, every night, reading up.

This is a woman w/ a fascinating set of articles / advice on how to do stuff:

Emergency Essentials has stuff that will last a minimum of 5 years on the shelf (and really, a lot more, but they're only standing behind 5). This place has all sorts of canned food properly prepared for storing:

Anyhow, good luck! If you want to get into pressure canning (easy!), let me know. I've lots of good links :). (or long term food storage as well).
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[User Picture]From: amnesiacat
2008-11-09 04:16 pm (UTC)
My parents have the same sort of thing at their house. Besides the food and water they also keep a very well stocked first aid kit (which I suppose is mostly due to the fact that mom is a nurse) and they also have a wind up radio so they can listen to weather reports if the power goes out. I'm not sure where they got it, but it's come in handy more than a few times.
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[User Picture]From: margaretq
2008-11-09 07:02 pm (UTC)
wind-up weather radios can be found at any major hardware store, farm supply store or radioshack as well as I am more than sure 999,999 places online. I'd be shocked if you couldn't buy one at most Wally worlds as well.

A brand-name, NOAA-approved one with all the warranties in the world will cost $40-$100.
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[User Picture]From: amnesiacat
2008-11-09 04:34 pm (UTC)
oh BTW- My thermal Carharrt coveralls cost me about 85 dollars. They are worth every penny.
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[User Picture]From: margaretq
2008-11-09 06:58 pm (UTC)
I hope you post your final plan, choices and perhaps even a compiled list of best resources - or a portion of any of those. Because I likely won't read all comments that accumulate here - and I'd love to know.

I've never gotten around to doing the emergency preparedness thing. But, after hearing the horrors of an ice storm that crippled this area of KC only a few years ago and listening to someone more knowledgeable at work discuss the coming winter... I'm thinking it wouldn't be bad (for anyone in kansas) to at the very least be prepared to go without utilities for a few days (that could happen for any number of reasons). I am sadly without any ability to do so. I still live in an apartment with no storage space for such stockpiling - but I have a storage unit now (no flammables allowed).

I believe I will start with buying a non-electric-powered can opener (yeah, I told you...), few gallons of water and a weather radio... but a heat source is prob something worth looking into too.

Just a note to people reading this: I'm already a bit bored of listening to homes burn to the ground by make-do heating sources. First tip - don't start a fire inside your home inside a trash receptacle or sev small fires spread around in COFFEE CANS. oh, you'd be amazed....
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[User Picture]From: silverfae
2008-11-10 04:54 pm (UTC)
During the Horrible Ice Storm of (whenever that was), our two-story 80 yr old house was without power for three days. We were able to stay reasonably warm with two dozen candles placed around the living room and sweaters. Yes, that's all it took. We usually had a small stock of those little tealights and we used those along with our big candles. I imagine a small apartment can do just as well.

Of course, for H and family, the candles aren't such a good idea, but there must be something more.

I'd hate to have to exist on canned stews and soups, but I still have a manual can opener near the ones I've put away, along with a lil can of sterno.

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[User Picture]From: verminiusrex
2008-11-10 05:07 pm (UTC)
That's actually the kind of information that I was looking for. Candles may not be ideal with the kids, but I'd rather store some dollar store jar candles in the basement than a couple gallons of kerosene or a propane tank. And the odds are that no emergency will occur until after the kids are old enough to leave the candles alone. But I'd rather have them on hand just in case.

I agree that soup and stew wouldn't be the most enjoyable fare while snowed in, but it's something that I can eat occasionally but keep in stock, and heat over a candle flame if I really have too (we have a teapot warmer that could heat up a thing of soup, although it would take a little time. I'm curious and might actually try it something just to satisfy my curiosity.)
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From: starstraf
2008-11-10 08:59 pm (UTC)
there were many threads on this after 9/11
http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/emerg_kit.htm was the one I bookmarked
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