On 2/12/14 an ice storm blanketed a large part of Georgia, with the accompanying power outages and trees down and icy roads. As I sat in the dark in my home in Sylvania, Georgia, I wrote down a few observations about this experience and then finished this up after the power was restored. The following is a list of what worked for me in this situation.
1. Portable Little Buddy propane heater. Nice, safe propane heater rated for indoor use. I already had a good supply of the small propane bottles. Used a total of 4 during the 2 evenings I spent at home. I turned it on for about 5 hours each evening and it took the edge off the cold in the living room. Closing off the 2 doors to the bedrooms and dining room made more efficient use of the heater. Of course I turned it off before going to bed. This year I plan to buy the Big Buddy heater and several large propane tanks to fuel it. These are safe for indoor use and can also be used for camping, etc.
2. GasOne butane stove. No fuss to operate and easily heats water, coffee or anything you want to cook on the burner. Be sure to set it up on something sturdy and non-flammable. Do not set it on a wood composite table, or anything plastic.
3.Instant tea, coffee, hot cocoa- very comforting in the cold. I filled an old thermos with the hot drinks and they stayed warm for about 3 hours. The first thing I ordered when the power came back on was a new 2 liter thermos bottle and a 24 oz. wide mouth bottle for soups, stews, bulky food.
4.Instant oatmeal, canned soup, canned stews- quick, nourishing meals. I also personally like the single serving Spam slices- but some folks can’t stand the stuff.
5. Car charger and portable charger for cell phone. I charged up my phone on the hour ride home from work and I also have a portable battery operated charger and a solar phone charger. As we had a little warning that this storm was coming, I made sure my Kindle was fully charged before going to work.
6. Weather radio with a hand crank as well as battery and solar back up- a must have to keep up with what is going on.
7. A thermos, or 2 or 3. I never see a thermos mentioned in prepper articles- but they are so great to keep food hot. I had an old one that belonged to my dad and a small one from a garage sale. As I said before, I ordered 2 more when I could.
8. Wool socks, long underwear, oversize sweats to layer over other clothes. For the 2 days I spent without heat and light, I constantly wore 3 layers of clothes and managed to stay warm enough- but it wasn’t fun.
Also a knit hat really helps keep your head warm.
9. This is just a personal need- a large sweatshirt or old sweater you can put on the dog. Even inside with the propane heat, my Dane was still shivering, so I put an old sweater on her and she curled up and went to sleep.
10. Extra quilts, blankets, sleeping bag. I scour garage sales and thrift stores and can often find used wool blankets and sleeping bags for less than $3.00 apiece. I have a water bed, and when the power goes out it gets cold quickly. To use it, you must insulate yourself from the cold water with heavy quilts and blankets.
11. Not a necessity but nice to have to pass the time – battery operated cd/dvd player and cassette player. I love to listen to audio books.
12. Good led flashlights and lots of batteries. I also have some chemical light sticks, kerosene lantern and candles for backup. I have a large Coleman 4 panel flashlight with detachable panels. It will light up a good sized room, and you can use the panels separately in another room – outside if necessary.
13. Heavy duty space blankets- I have the all weather blanket from Grabber Outdoors. As well as wrapping up in it. You can drape it- silver side up in back of you on the chair or couch and it will reflect the heat. That works great.
After 2 days, I took the food from my freezers Still frozen solid) down to my daughter’s house, as she had power and an empty freezer. I lost some food, but not a lot thank goodness. I also abandoned ship on the third day and went to stay with my youngest daughter, as I had to work the weekend and needed a bath and clean clothes. My driveway remained blocked for six days and I had to get out by driving through the back field and through mylandlord’s yard.
So I feel I came through the storm in pretty good shape, but there is definite room for improvement. It was a wakeup call for me to get better organized and have my preps in a centralized location instead of all over the house. I’m glad the situation didn’t last longer than it did. And I can’t imagine how the folks coped after Sandy for months on end. I am glad for the preps I had and hope my adventure will help out someone else think about getting ready for the unexpected.
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