Disaster Planning Catch-All

Hurricanes, fires, floods, pandemics, political strife, - you name it. It seems now more than ever there is a real reason to be prepared for some sort of disaster. Whether it be for sheltering in your home or evacuating from it, this is the place to discuss tips, ideas, and resources for disaster planning.

This thread is NOT meant to get deep into controversial discussions around the reasons behind the need for disaster planning (no "debating" climate science for instance) or denigrating anyone who is here to discuss this topic in good faith (no "crazy prepper" rock throwing please.) Let's keep this thread civil so it is not moved to D&D.

I'll start off by posting a few interesting links.

The TechPod podcast of all places has done two good episodes on this topic with a lot of good basic common sense ideas:

24: The Mad Max Threshold
49: Proto-Prepping

If you plan on storing food, here's a good site to refer to to check how long food lasts:

https://www.eatbydate.com/

All right! We're about to move, but when we get situated, I'm going to definitely be preparing to last a month or two. Also will be planning to have a bug-out bag for evacuating.

Anyone have experience with hooking up a generator to your house? I have a middle-of-the-road generator right now that I'd be willing to upgrade. Right now, it's enough to run two fridges and a few fans and has been very handy for hurricane season.

I know you can get an interlock switch professionally installed so you can just attach the genny to the house and cutover to it when needed. Was wondering if anyone has had that done?

I've also only recently learned that there are natural gas generators too. My house uses natural gas so this is an attractive option for me as well. I can't ever recall hearing that natural gas service was interrupted, unlike being unable to get gasoline during a crisis. Thoughts?

Longer term though is that I'm planning to get solar panels and am hoping whole-home batteries become more viable (and affordable.)

I don't have any experience. My plan will probably be to get a nice portable Honda generator and a couple long extension cords.

Just went through my camping/ survival closet. I have a few weeks worth of dehydrated meals... Mountain House just extended their shelf life to 30 years too, so I think I'm good there.

Other than that I have a good set of camping supplies from just enjoying camping. If need be we can pack it all in the car in about 5 mins. We have a decent amount of medical supplies as well. Mostly basics, bandages, ibuprofen that kind of thing.

Our main concerns are flood and tornado. Loss of power can come with either of those. I haven't gone down the generator route because our power is so stable (hydroelectric) but the power station could always get hit. Making sure we have ways to stay warm or cool, fed, and dry are the main issues aside from being able to evacuate if need be. We also have plans on where to go should we have to leave based on various things and options in more than one direction.

I just bought a generator today, and took a look into how to integrate it into select household circuit items. I really don't want a bunch of cords strung about. I started looking into Manual Transfer Sub Panel Switches. This one popped up with good reviews on Lowes.

Pretty straight forward, pick the circuits you want to run on the gen and wire those through the switch. Run a wire from the switch to an external wall and mount a outlet allowing you to plug your gen into the wall to supply the power.

This Old House Video gives a rundown of an install.

I'd given the big standby natural gas generators some thought, and maybe further in the future I'll invest in one.

Otherwise, with a family of 5, we try to have about 2 weeks of freeze dried ready to go food on hand. Water I could do better on, we keep a couple of flats of water in the garage that we rotate through, and I have a 5 gallon jerry can I fill when I feel the need arises, like this week with the fires.

I keep a big plastic footlocker full of my camping gear that is an easy grab if we need to head out.

PaladinTom wrote:

Anyone have experience with hooking up a generator to your house? I have a middle-of-the-road generator right now that I'd be willing to upgrade. Right now, it's enough to run two fridges and a few fans and has been very handy for hurricane season.

I know you can get an interlock switch professionally installed so you can just attach the genny to the house and cutover to it when needed. Was wondering if anyone has had that done?

We had that done about 15 years ago, after a wind storm knocked out power for several days. If we were doing it again, we'd get a generator with an automatic cutover, just for the convenience. As it is, we drag the generator out of the shed and haul the cable across the yard to the interlock switch when necessary.

We've only lost power a couple of times for longer than a couple of hours (75 year old house in wooded suburbs, with power lines running above ground -- a tree on a line somewhere in the neighborhood cuts off the power about once a year due to wind, ice or blizzard), and have been glad to have the generator available when that happens.

We have a relatively inexpensive gas generator, which does the job of keeping the electronics powered, the forced-air heat moving around, and the lights on, but the power isn't quite as clean as what you get from the electric company; you definitely notice a pulse in the lights. But it's well within the acceptable operating range for the 110 circuits in the house (can't run the dryer or the oven).

Only time we've had electrical troubles was a lightning strike near the house that took out half the ethernet ports on the cable modem, the dishwasher's motherboard, and the UPS/surge protector on the TV. And that was totally unrelated to the generator.