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PREP AAR on Irma. What I learned
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Deep in the Hearta Dixie, south GA
    Posts
    751

    AAR on Irma. What I learned

    As some here know, I retired after 31 yrs in FEMA. I never was home for any disaster that immediately impacted my house or immediate area. My mission for FEMA was to be in before any known incident hit, or to be the first fed asset on sight for the unknown events. Here are a couple items I learned from being home during Irma.

    1. My big soaker tub leaked about 5 ga/day. Drain was duct taped. I will test this again to verify if it was the tape or if the nozzles leaked.

    2. Need step by step instructions for genset hook-up and operations for wife. This is a portable genset with a whole house connection out side at the meter. There are some breakers outside that need switched as well as all the double gang breakers inside.

    3. Kerosene can was behind lots of crap in garage. It should have been very accessible.

    4. I was monitoring the sheriff dept radio. Heard of a few cars that were stranded very close by due to trees or poles laying in road. There were two sub-divisions for them to seek shelter, mine was one of them. Monitoring the radio gave me a heads up.

    5. I checked on my elderly neighbors next door before and when the eye went over (wind speed died down) and both times they had issues. One was their genset wouldn't start. The ON-OFF switch was in the wrong position. The other issue was he was refilling his genset right after he shut it down, HOT. I told him to fill it cold.

    We were ready for a months of power outage. I asked friends and some in the neighborhood today how long they could have gone. One said 2 weeks, one said 10 days. Most said 3 days.
    Last edited by Mr. Peabody; 09-13-2017 at 11:57 AM.
    Member of the Nowski Brigade
    "Fighting communism was more fun when it was a group effort abroad instead of an insurgency at home."

  2. #2
    2. Need step by step instructions for genset hook-up and operations for wife. This is a portable genset with a whole house connection out side at the meter. There are some breakers outside that need switched as well as all the double gang breakers inside.
    Excellent.

    This needs to be extrapolated to include many things. (too many to cover in my response).

    Knowledge of "tweaking" necessary in going from normal to emergency situations is necessary for every utility and every conceivable disruption.

    Best to post procedures in a conspicuous place for individuals who may be present during the absence of the normal tweaker.

    Your generator hookup procedure is a prime example.

    Another (only one of many that exist for different people):

    We have a huge cistern & water catchment system.

    In the event of any potential for contamination of said system procedures exist for isolating cistern from catchment system including sealing of possible contaminant entry points and, if necessary long term due to extended electrical outage, conversion to gravity supply versus pressurized supply.

    Not simple unless explained by designer.

    Many other such examples exist for all of us.

  3. #3
    Checklists! Even the best of us can be rattled and not thinking correctly. The checklist makes sure we don't do something fatally dumb, because of that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    50,447
    Battery powered commo is very useful when the lines go down. I just got an inexpensive ($75) programmable handheld scanner that is battery powered and seems to work well so far, though the programming sequence is weird. Still need to decide on short range two way radios for the family and neighbors as well, and fill that gap too. I didn't figure on difficulties here with Irma and we didn't have any, so the pressure was minimal to get this shortcoming remedied.

    Also need to get a new portable multiband shortwave to add to the mix.

    Thanks for the lessons learned.....
    The wonder of our time isnít how angry we are at politics and politicians; itís how little weíve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    32,642
    We are well set to go many months without grid power, but the generator part we may be able to use it for a limited time say two weeks before the fuel runs out. The gen-set we have is portable so getting ahold of someone with a gas station and doing a quick hookup to run the pumps I could drive home with a 100 gallons gasoline plus top off the tank's on the truck.


    My home is setup with an inlet box for the generator and its a 50 Amp setup, so power management is done by switching the panel box breakers on and off.
    The generator is only run for two hours at a time at four or five hour intervals this is for refrigeration we have and after they are empty it would only be needed for running the well pump once or twice a week.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by vestige View Post
    conversion to gravity supply versus pressurized supply. Not simple unless explained by designer.
    Our well can be converted to gravity feed if the power fails. Turn off breaker, turn two valves. To convert back if power comes on, turn two valves, then the breaker on. Got a page in the well house in a plastic jacket giving the sequence, because as you say it's not obvious.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Behind Enemy Lines
    Posts
    138,800
    AAR: After Action Report.


    IT'S A COURTESY TO OTHERS TO DEFINE YOUR TLAs.

    Thanks

  8. #8
    AAR: After Action Report.
    Thanks...

    I first thought it was from a black rifle site.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,480
    What's a TLA?
    Job5:20: In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.

    Ps.91: 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
    11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Behind Enemy Lines
    Posts
    138,800
    Three Letter Acronym (snicker)


    Done with tongue firmly in cheek...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,480
    T Y!
    Job5:20: In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.

    Ps.91: 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
    11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Little cabin in da big woods.
    Posts
    26,556
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Olson View Post
    AAR: After Action Report.


    IT'S A COURTESY TO OTHERS TO DEFINE YOUR TLAs.

    Thanks
    A thank you for those of us who don't have Iphones or text. Getting tough to figure these things out. As to the AAR, I figured it was something like that but wasn't sure.


    In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

    Proverbs 16:9




  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    50,447
    What's a TLA?

    A gotcha
    The wonder of our time isnít how angry we are at politics and politicians; itís how little weíve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    48,204
    Hey, at least he didn't call it the results of a hot wash.
    Mookie War Creed
    "I am the Sword of my Family and Shield of my Nation. If sent, I will crush everything you have built, burn all that you love, and kill every one of you."


    Welcome to dar al harab -dar al kufre.


    Make sure that the hill you choose to die on is one someone else will be able to (or want to) climb to drop flowers on your grave. Make it worth SOMETHING.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    A BURB OF BUFFALO NY
    Posts
    2,003
    3 inch back water valve should be installed. This prevents your sewer from flowing in reverse in times of flooding.
    vienna 1683.

    Turn your swords into plowshares ,and you'll be plowing for those that didn't...

    We didn't create GOD out of our imagination ,He created us out of his.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    S. Texas
    Posts
    9,468
    Good advice.

    Over the phone, I had tried walking through wife (outside Tampa) of friend who was out of state, how to shut off her utilities before leaving house for higher ground shelter.

    That was fun (not) considering I'd never been in the house before and was trying, over the phone, to help her first find and then safely get water, elect and gas all shut off.

    Here, for Harvey, we'd had plenty of time beforehand and had positioned and rigged up and test ran genset with power cords and house power off. We made some changes
    then with exhaust vent tube and how we ran extension cords, etc., that would have been a real pain and much less convenient to of sorted out if we'd only pulled everything
    out when the lights had later gone out and wind/rain were already pelting all down and around. Gotta practice and test everything well beforehand, as close to actual expected
    conditions as possible, or risk being painfully reminded later what 'assume' means. Just this week drained genset of remaining fuel and ran it dry and re-stowed all for next use.

    - Shane

    PS - Friends, customers and relatives later asked how we'd made out with power outages and all and I'd told them we'd better of been fine, being a prep proponent and all,
    or if we had not done well, then they'd probably never hear about it as I'd of suffered in silence, too embarrassed to admit that we'd not been prepped right here.
    Last edited by shane; 09-13-2017 at 03:43 PM.

    THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!
    WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT!
    When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! (Overseas Fallout)

    "A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them;
    the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."
    - Proverbs 22:3

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    S. Texas
    Posts
    9,468
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrapman View Post
    3 inch back water valve should be installed. This prevents your sewer from flowing in reverse in times of flooding.
    Very important.

    Our septic goes downhill, right next door, to a small city collection and pump out station that pumps it off elsewhere.
    I confirmed beforehand with city employee checking on it one day how it all worked and he showed me inside how if
    pumps ever quit, for any reason. the open tank top there at ground level would run over into the back fields and away
    so it could never back up into our place here. Gravity, pretty reliable stuff there.

    - Shane

    THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!
    WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT!
    When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! (Overseas Fallout)

    "A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them;
    the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."
    - Proverbs 22:3

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    I'm Not Sure....
    Posts
    1,677
    I asked friends and some in the neighborhood today how long they could have gone. One said 2 weeks, one said 10 days. Most said 3 days.
    3 days...

    Hasn't that been what the government (FEMA) told everyone to have in case of emergency?? 3 days of supplies??

    I wonder how well that has worked out for the people of Texas and Florida??
    ...Rubbin' is Racin'......

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    South Louisiana near New Orleans by the Mississippi River
    Posts
    10,146
    Been through Katrina and 3 days or even a week, is not nearly enough, if the grid goes down.

    Scale down, cut and conserve ALL water, food, fuel, dirty laundry, plates, etc.. because you never know when power will be restored. In other words, think extreme camping in your house, with little amenities and comfort.

    We were very well prepared, yet it was still hard, until those beautiful, blessed, Energy trucks came in!

    (To say the least, we invested in a Generac as soon as we could afford it. )

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Michiganistan
    Posts
    615
    My take away, and what has been my concern for years. I have no one else interested is learning my skill set. I'm the Mcgiver of our it shop. None of the younger people at work or at home want to dive in and fix the problem. They stand around with hand in pockets starring at dead phones. I need someone to teach. Any ideas?
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet"

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Behind Enemy Lines
    Posts
    138,800
    If I lived up there, I'd take up the gauntlet.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Michiganistan
    Posts
    615
    Thanks, any one in mi pm me. For all those in the zone prayers and ask away will help as I can.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet"

  23. #23
    Knighttemplar... consider seeing if any schools in your area have technology classes, at classes or an FFA chapter. Talk to the teachers, and see if they have any suggestions about some kids that might have the interest and aptitude yo learn from you. There ARE young people out there who still like to build and do hands on stuff. Admittedly, they tend to be easier to find in rural areas, and areas where most families still gave fathers at home and involved.

    Summerthyme

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    50,447
    I need someone to teach.

    The problem exists everywhere. Our family gunsmith had the same problem and went to his grave with no one having learned what he knew. It was a tragedy.
    The wonder of our time isnít how angry we are at politics and politicians; itís how little weíve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Knighttemplar View Post
    My take away, and what has been my concern for years. I have no one else interested is learning my skill set. I'm the Mcgiver of our it shop. None of the younger people at work or at home want to dive in and fix the problem. They stand around with hand in pockets starring at dead phones. I need someone to teach. Any ideas?
    Many community colleges look for teachers with interesting skill sets, no PhD required , to teach community ed classes.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    I'm Not Sure....
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally Posted by Knighttemplar View Post
    My take away, and what has been my concern for years. I have no one else interested is learning my skill set. I'm the Mcgiver of our it shop. None of the younger people at work or at home want to dive in and fix the problem. They stand around with hand in pockets starring at dead phones. I need someone to teach. Any ideas?
    Is there an app for that?
    ...Rubbin' is Racin'......

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Mid-South
    Posts
    5,074
    Thank you Mr. Peabody for all the pointers.

    I went through Hurricane Fran and it was a lot of trauma. At that time, our neighbor has a generator big enough to share some lines to our house, to run refrigerator, fans, lights and hot plate. I can not imagine going through that again, because it was not easy! So preparing ahead, will help when things like that does come along.

    We all need to take notes and get busy getting prepare, if we are not. I for one was not prepared for Hurricane Irma and found out how fast stuff flies off the shelves when when the governor declares a state of emergency.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Dozdoats View Post
    I need someone to teach.

    The problem exists everywhere. Our family gunsmith had the same problem and went to his grave with no one having learned what he knew. It was a tragedy.
    I have a gunsmith on the road to my property who is not family but I have known him for 40+ years.

    When he is gone... a world of knowledge goes with him.

    I have personally known 3 "true" gunsmiths in this area and he is the last.

    Tinkerers abound.

    Gunsmiths... not so much.

    The same applies to most trades.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    South Louisiana near New Orleans by the Mississippi River
    Posts
    10,146
    Quote Originally Posted by Dozdoats View Post
    I need someone to teach.

    The problem exists everywhere. Our family gunsmith had the same problem and went to his grave with no one having learned what he knew. It was a tragedy.
    Teaching at a Community College is a great way as bluelady suggested, or perhaps, "Youtube."

    I'm amazed at the tutorials you can access for almost every subject!

    No, it's not perfect but given the lack of time and interest the younger generation has in learning, at least you can give it your best shot in not letting your skills go to waste.

    One never knows. Should they wake up and need it, even if you're long gone, hopefully they can access your filmed skills.

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