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Lights Out

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nettdata, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    Mr. Toast

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    Seems that Calgary has a bit of a power issue downtown.

    Downtown Calgary without power until Thursday after electrical fire




    Last time I was involved with a major power failure, it was downtown Vancouver, and people lost their shit. No bank machines, nobody had food (mostly apartment dwellers who shopped nightly on the way home from work), and minimal light, and a lot of stairs as backup power for elevators drained or didn't work. It was surprising just how quickly people started to get out of their comfort zone.


    FOCUS: Ever been removed from The Grid for an extended period of time? How did you cope? Have you made any preparations?
     

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  2. Nettdata

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    Once I moved out from downtown Vancouver onto a lake, my power became incredibly unreliable. One time we had a power surge so bad it fried the house's surge protector and melted power bars into the carpet in the house. Luckily I had a ton of old UPS's that protected all my electronics, but other people weren't so lucky. My neighbour lost almost $10k in electronics (computer, tv, stereo). Almost a year after the fact BC Hydro admitted liability and ended up paying for all that stuff, but still... power is something that we tend to take for granted.

    After my first outage, I picked up a small inverter generator (inverters provide much cleaner power that you can run computer gear on) and always kept a few cans of gas on hand. A small generator will run 10+ hours on a small tank, so I had about 5 days of continuous power if I needed it. I could work out of the house for a week without power (as long as the internet lines weren't trashed).

    Other than that, a fireplace, natural gas stove in the kitchen, and a BBQ were very handy, especially when we'd have a handful of 2-day outages throughout the year. It'd happen a lot at the beginning of winter during the windy season... lots of branches falling on lines, and crews busting their asses for days making repairs.

    I've gotten into the habbit of having a lot of simple but long-lasting food on hand, at least a week's worth.
     
  3. Juice

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    A few years ago a Nor'easter hit the upper east coast on Halloween. The temperature was just right in CT at the time that the storm covered everything in snow and ice. This was a particular problem because most of the trees still had leaves on them. The weight of it all brought everything down and I was without power for almost 2 weeks.

    The stormed dragged a huge cold front behind it, and having electric heat at the time, made for a less than ideal experience. The first few days were fine, my roommate and I duct taped and insulated the shoddy windows where we could to keep the heat from leaking out as much as possible, but it stayed comfortable. Since no one could commute to work due to road blockage and downed power lines, we sat around in the dark and listened to my battery powered radio that could only pick up AM stations. Every now and then one of us would sneak off to our separate rooms for a "nap", but due to the lack of any ambient noise, we knew the other was sneaking off for a beat off session to pass the time.

    The next few days it started to get cold. On the 7th night, it hit into the low 50s in my place. That doesnt sound that bad, but when youre in doors, it feels very cold. We slept with sleeping bags on our beds and had to throw most of the food in the fridge out at that point.

    As soon as it dipped below 45 degrees in my apartment and roads began to clear, I packed up the cat and went to my parents house where they had a wood stove and a generator in the barn to keep things going. I also went to pick up my grandma because shes old and didnt have heat either. I brought her to my parents house only for her to demand I bring her back home because she was under the mistaken impression that she would be able to have toast or something. My dad laughed in her face and told her he wasnt hooking up the toaster to the generator so she could have a little comfort food. I brought her back home where she sat around in the cold the rest of the time, being very cross on the whole ride back. Whatever, you old bat.

    Also I could hear my neighbor sobbing because his parakeet died. I think that was a coincidence, but I hated that bird anyway, so it was a small win for me.
     
  4. Parker

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    If we lose power, I'd be dead after 2 hours. Unless I had sporting equipment. Never get tired of a good game of something. Also, this reminds me that I need boardgames. Because thinking right now, if my power went out in my apartment, we'd probably do some DIY projects we've been talking about but sure as hell don't have anything else to do.
     
  5. AFHokie

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    Some of my earliest memories are of a snow storm in the early 80's that knocked out power for over a week. We spent about a week sleeping around a Kerosun heater.

    [​IMG]

    From what I remember it was a pretty awesome thing to have...it heated an entire floor of the house and did not need tended to like a wood fire, provided a suitable cook surface to boil water/heat up food and enough light we didn't have to burn a ton of candles or lamps.

    Currently, as long as it's not extremely cold I'd be fine if I lost power. I keep a few weeks worth of food & water on hand, but since I'm in a condo building my heat is electric. I have a couple camp stoves and lanterns, etc plus fuel on hand, but a camp cook stove is far from adequate heat for a room in the dead of winter. I've thought about picking up a small propane heater, but not sure how much my building would bitch when the building manager sees me wandering in with a 20lb propane tank. In an emergency, I'd tell them to pound sand, but I'd prefer I had it before I needed it.
     
  6. Nettdata

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    Are they safe to run indoors? I'd think that they'd suck the air out of the room and fill it with CO... or am I missing something?

    Usually that kind of thing, especially one of any appreciable size, needs some fresh air source.
     
  7. AFHokie

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    It's recommended to crack a window when it's running and I wouldn't run one in a bedroom or other small room with the door closed, but in the middle of a living room in an open floor plan I'd say it's fine. The one from my parents was from the early 80's and pretty basic. New one's have Oxygen Depletion Sensors as well as accidental tip-over safety shut-off, but I wouldn't rely on the sensor alone.
     
  8. CanisDirus

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    If the Grid goes down, I got a campfire outside, a nice natural gas stove and I would begin to roast meat over the fire before it spoils. I would like to also purchase a generator. Any recommendations? The biggest trouble is cold, without the gas stove I have a great deal of blankets and sleeping bags and got duct tape and blankets over the windows, and basically live like cavemen too stupid to make a fire.

    That's pretty funny.
     
  9. The Village Idiot

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    My last apartment lost electricity fairly often. I had a box filled with flashlights, candles and matches. We were routinely without electricity once a month, for 12 hours at times. It fucking sucks. I would just play guitar or read. Fortunately, most of the time we lost electricity, the next block over would have electricity so we'd just go out if it didn't come back on in an hour. I would really love for this city to invest in a decent power grid.
     
  10. Fiveslide

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    I'm not one of those people who calls in power outages, I know when it happens that others will bug the shit out of the power company. So when I was in the only residence without power, because of a problem with the line from the pole to my house, I went much longer without than I should have. It was not until it was dark and I stepped outside, seeing all the street lights and nearby houses lit, that I realized I was the only fool without air conditioning and lights that entire day.
     
  11. Noland

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    The last little hurricane to come through here (Ivan? Isaac? I forget) knocked out power for a week. No one evacuated because a Cat 1 isn't anything more than a thunderstorm (unless you live in New York and then it's a "Superstorm") but August in New Orleans is a miserable time to be without AC.

    The neighborhood had a good time grilling everything that was going to go bad in our freezers, but after that it stopped being fun so we left town. Which, if you have the option, is really the best way to deal with a loss of power; go to a place where there is power.
     
  12. Angel_1756

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    Remember that power outage in 2003 that took out the Eastern seaboard? Well, my little town was one of a handful that never lost power. 22,000 people, 6 gas stations, 4 grocery stores, 6 Tim Hortons... and a whole shitload of people who descended from every corner of Christ-knows-where to take what they could. 8 hours after the power went out, our pumps were empty, our store shelves were bare, our coffee shops were closing up shop. It was pandemonium, and for what?

    I found out a few years later that my boss had spent three days eating peanut butter sandwiches and reading by candlelight because her car didn't have gas and she couldn't plug in the kettle for tea or coffee. I asked if she had a barbecue and she said she never even thought about using it to cook anything until months later. I mean, come on.

    My mom, on the other hand, has a long-term emergency plan in her head that involves water collection and purification, crop growth, animal slaughter, weaponry for protection and the division of valuable goods for barter. This is what you learn growing up in China, I guess.
     
  13. Rush-O-Matic

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    I Got The Power

    I know a guy who asked one of my buddies to come pick him up when the power was out. When asked why, was his car in the shop? No, but he couldn't get out of the garage, because he had electric door openers.
     
  14. AFHokie

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    Re: I Got The Power

    I just cannot fathom how people become so reliant on modern conveniences they essentially go full retard when the power goes out.
     
  15. Parker

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    Re: I Got The Power

    It's REALLY easy. Grow up in the middle of a large city your entire life and have your family be from the exact same place. Then go to school, college and later work in a large city. I grew up in the middle of Chicago, middle class as fuck. There is no talk of hunting, fishing, camping etc here. Also, I'm black, so when white people talk about going up to Michigan and Wisconsin to "camp outside" and "get back to wilderness" I think two things. 1) My people slept enough outside during slavery. 2) I'm not paying money to pretend to be homeless. I brought up camping once when all my white friends talked about it and my mom's response was "We did not get shot with fire hoses, beat up by the police and march so we could go on actin' like we have no money." All of our vacations were to the top cities. Dallas, Houston, LA, Minnie/St. Paul and Disney World. Going camping wasn't considered a vacation.

    Living in my high rise apartment now, I barely have enough storage space to store a variety of food for a week. Let alone stocking up for some disaster. No way in hell I'll be able to get an electric generator up 16 flights if the power goes out. Like I said, it's really easy. And growing up how I did above, I was taught success basically means acquiring nicer and nicer shit to make your life easier. Dishwashers, electric garage openers, electric mowers, etc. Stuff my parents and their parents couldn't afford.

    So when the power goes out, I'm utterly and completely fucked.
     
  16. Rush-O-Matic

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    Re: I Got The Power

    Maybe my mind just works differently, but I'm always thinking "oh, what's this button do?" or "Hey, I bet I can take this apart." and to not even wonder what the little handle and cord hanging down is for - mine is even a red handle that practically screams "pull on me!" I don't get it.
     
  17. Nersesian

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    White dude here with the same issue. I don't camp, I don't fish and can be barely bother to keep more than what I need for dinner that night in the fridge. I didn't crawl out of the trailer to sleep on the ground dammit. I think I would be ok while I have enough booze and weed in the house, but after a day or so, I'm going to be one of those people you see on the news demanding the Indian place around the corner open to feed me. Probably the biggest issue I've got is snow in DC and the city tends to shut down when OPM says to.

    We have a fairly high alcoholism rate here, so I can always snow boot up and trek to the nearest open bar and wait for this whole thing to blow over. I've got some extended family in Maryland and those fuckers have generators, ammunition and candles, but I would have to listen to their droning on and on about preparedness. I'll just wait for emergency rescue and thank $deity our power lines are buried and my condo has an onsite generator.
     
  18. wexton

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    Re: I Got The Power

    Yea, same with my parents garage, bright red manual release handle.
     
  19. Juice

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    Why would you guys be seriously fucked? Arent we talking about a temporary power outage, not a long-term grid collapse?
     
  20. Misanthropic

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    Re: I Got The Power


    How folks don't know you can disengage your garage door opener is beyond me.


    A couple of years ago this storm you may have heard about called Hurricane Sandy hit our area - followed by 9 days without power. The first few days weren't too bad - we spent time at various neighbor's and friends' houses who had fireplaces and wood burning stoves, there were more than a few multifamily barbecues as we emptied our freezers, and it was relativley warm. Then it started getting colder, the gas lines grew longer, and suckage set in. On the ninth day it snowed here and I finally said "fuck it" and took the family to a hotel.

    So last year we had a 14kw whole house generator installed and hooked directly to the natural gas line coming into the house. It literally powers the whole damn house, and then some, turns on automatically after 15 seconds of power outage, and turns itself on for 15 minutes once a week to ensure it is working when we need it. We have semi-regular power outages here, so we've used it 3 times, for maybe a total of 5 hours. Works fantastic.