A Good Neighbor
We charged the neighbor’s cell phones. So at that point, they let us run the generator all night! The generator ran from 6pm to 6am and then ran out of gas. It used 25 liters of gasoline. So here that equates to about $20 a day for gas. If it runs for a month, it will be expensive; $20 times 30 equals $600 per month. Ouch! At this point I tried to shut generator off before it ran out of gas. I was afraid the voltage will vary a lot when it does last couple revolutions before it stops.
The power was “on” sometimes intermittently. At first it was on for four hours and then off. One night it was on all night. Sunday it was on all day and cut off at 7:30pm. There was no schedule. For several days, it was on at night. Because of never knowing when it will stop, I always keep a flashlight in my pocket. I have lots of headlamps and flashlights that use AAA batteries.
I would recommend having at least double the number of rechargeable batteries that you are using in your devices. Flashlights with triple A batteries could use up a set of batteries before your backup set is recharged! So for high use AAA battery applications, you need three sets of batteries for each device!
Packing For Emergency
This is a good tip I saw not related to this. Although it seems more logical, do not pack one Rubbermaid plastic tub, carry on bag, or backpack, for each person but instead pack multiple containers with two sets of clothes (warm/cold climate) for each family member. This way if you run out of space and can’t take all of your containers, nobody gets left without clothes.
Earthquake Safety Projects
Another project I did was to make a safe area in the house for supplies. I currently have two sturdy steel shelves facing each other about eight feet apart. I live in a one-story house. I expect the shelves would support the ceiling if it collapsed in an earthquake. What would cause a problem would be if they tipped over.
Stabilized Steel Shelving For Ceiling Support
To prevent the shelves from tipping over, I thought of putting steel angle iron to attach them together. I put one angle iron on the top and one angle iron on the bottom on one side only to keep them from tipping. Then I had a space of six feet high by five feet wide by eight feet long that should not crush easily. The angle iron is against the wall, so I am not ducking my head every time I use the shelves. The change didn’t not cost much, so why not, and now the shelves can’t tip over.
Readily Available Hacksaws
Another consideration, only for the Philippines, is to have hacksaws stored outside the house as well as in each bedroom. The windows all have steel bars on them (not up to USA fire code). So I needed to be able to cut the steel bars to get into the house if the walls collapsed, and I’d need to get out before the collapse.
We have had many after shocks. So I am making some small changes to the house.
The guest bedroom has a bunk bed. The bunk beds here are different than I have seen in America. Both beds are wider than in America. The bottom bed is 54 inches wide, and the top bed is 36 inches wide. There is a very heavy steel tube frame. I am thinking that the steel frame would be handy in an earthquake. If you sleep eight hours, you have a 1/3 chance of being in bed when a quake hits. So I got a bunk bed to replace the bed in the main bedroom. The current bed is only 54 inches wide so the bunk will not be any more narrow. I only need to buy the frame, as I already have the correct size foam mattress. No one will be sleeping on the top.
For the kitchen shelves, I am planning to put a 3-inch high board on the edge of the shelf. In an earthquake, the board will keep cans from sliding off the shelf. For cabinets with doors, some have two round knobs for handles. For these cabinets, I looped a cut inner tube from a motorcycle over the two knobs. It holds the doors closed but is easy to slip off. For other cabinet doors, I need to get some type of latch to hold the door shut in the area where the canned foods are stored. This is to protect the tile floor from being chipped by a falling soup can.
Currently, I use a heavy custom made extension cord to connect the generator to the house. It is about 60 feet long and very heavy for an old guy like me. So it is a lot of work to unwind it clear out to the generator. In the future, I will put in a permanent electrical line in conduit underground. Then all I would need to do is walk out to the generator and flip the switch for the electric start of the motor.
The return of consistent power has been a slow progress and city water has been inconsistent too. Other areas of our lives were learning experiences that I will share also.
Interim Water Set Back
On Tuesday, July 11th, I ran electricity from the generator to the water pump and washing machine, so I could wash clothes and wash dishes, but I ran out of water. I guess the water flow was much less than a normal day. It was my hope that the water tank would fill up that night. We still had containers of water to flush toilets though. We also had bottles of distilled water to drink. But then I heard on the news that the city had a problem with their water supply. The news did not give details as to why. I do have water filters and a stream nearby, but it is just a lot more work!
Some Days of Power Progress
On Friday, July 14th, the electric was on from 5 am to 11 am. It was time to turn on the water pump to push water through our high end filter and fill lots of empty distilled water bottles. We also got two loads of clothes washed and dishes, and we were able to filled six one-liter water bottles with filtered water. When the electric is off, that is all you have.
If possible, over your sink, have a shelf so that you can place a 4 or 6 liter container with a valve so that you can have clean water at the twist of a faucet or push of a button. This would be very handy for washing your hands.
On later days, the electric power was still having rotating blackouts. Sometimes it was eight hours off, sometimes four hours off. Sometimes it was on all day Sunday, as businesses are closed so more electricity was available. One bad part is that there was no schedule, so we always keep the generator full and all batteries charged.
As of July 27, some power outages were still happening. The power was out for 2.5 hours on the evening of the 26th from 6:30 to 9:00 PM.
Remembering Typhoon Yolanda and Generator Maintenance
A good thing is that there are no long lines for gasoline, as there were for Typhoon Yolanda. One guy I talked to had bought a generator three years ago after the typhoon Yolanda. Once he was done using it, he just put it away, and never ran it. So now, after the earthquake when he needed it, it would not start. His first trip out was to the shop to get it repaired.
I would run my generator every month to keep the battery charged. Still after two years, the battery had gone dead. I replaced the battery about six months ago and had the carburetor cleaned. When I needed it this time, all I needed to was turn the key.
Storing fuel for a long power outage would be a pain. One or more 55-gallon drums is easy. The hard part is rotating the gasoline all the time. You need a manual pump on top of the 55-gal barrel or install a valve at the bottom and elevate the drum to allow a gas can under the valve. Once every month or so, you could fill the car with gas from that drum. Still it’s a hassle as you need to fill about ten five-gallon containers with gasoline at the gas station and bring them home and fill the now empty 55-gallon drum.
Because of this, you need two 55-gal drums, so you always have one full, even when changing gasoline. Currently, I have three 5-gallon containers of gasoline plus what it is in the generator tank. Running 24 hours a day, that would last me two days. Running eight hours a day, so a few hours to cool room with AC, run washing machine, and water pump would last six days.
Plastic Lids Don’t Keep Everything Out
Note that large freeze-dried cans usually have a plastic lid that comes with them. The plastic lid will keep out ants, once the can is opened. It will not keep out mice. I lost one can of freeze dried food to mice. Also sometimes the lids are damaged in shipping and will not keep out ants or keep the food fresh. It is good to have several large containers to transfer the food to if the lid was damaged.
Made In China
Here, in the Philippines, I have had a problem with the caps of gasoline containers coming apart. To extend their life I have covered outside of the cap with car body filler. Many items in the Philippines are not first rate! There is made in China for the USA and made in China for the Philippines. The quality is different!
My Bug Out Gear
First, I have two backpacks with typical bug out gear. One is for me and my wife, and one is for my son. (Children want their own.) Each pack has a complete set of gear, such as knives, lighters, pot, stove, fuel, food, water, et cetera. Second, I have travel carry on bags that are 21 inch by 8 inch with more gear.
I used to go camping in the USA for many years, so I have a lot of camping gear. Camping gear and “survival” gear are about the same. I have a tent, sleeping bag, much more food and water in these bags. I have a small Toyota Wigo car. To have room for luggage, I have a roof rack. The travel bags are small so that weak old me can lift them onto the roof. I weighed each one and spread the weight evenly between them. Each weighs about 20 pounds. If we decide to evacuate, our plan is to put backpacks in the car and travel bags on the roof. If for some reason we need to abandon the car and walk, I still have the the backpacks with gear and food and water for a few days.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 72 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
Round 72 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.