Alternative Energy Sources For Disasters

Written by The Ready Store

So you have stocked up on Food, Water, Shelter, and Clothing to be ready in the event of a disaster.  But have you considered Fuel?  What will you use to power that generator?  What will you use if there is power?

If you have stocked up on Freeze-Dried-Foods you are at least one step ahead the of the game since these foods don’t need to be cooked. However there is still the matter of keeping warm, having good sources of light, and being able to get news and communicate.

Here are a few items you can take advantage of to help you be ready:

Keeping Warm:

Emergency Blankets
Hand Warmers
Magnesium Fire Starters
Water Proof Matches

Wood for Fuel

Sources of Light:
Flashlights
Dynamo Lights
Candles
Light Sticks
Lanterns

Communication:

Solar Powered Radios
Dynamo Powered Radios

Another way to be prepared is to think about using alternative energy sources as a backup for your local power grid.  There are many home wind-power kits you can purchase as well as solar-power kits.  These can be placed in areas of your yard or home where they will hardly be noticed.  You can store extra power in batteries and if you want you can even rid yourself of the need to connect to the local power company’s system.

Some of the benefits of doing that include reduced costs and in some areas the power company will actually pay you for providing some of your extra power to them.

In addition to electricity, make sure that you store an adequate supply of fuel for the use of your generators in the case of a power outage.  Check with your local officials for

the proper way to store fuel safely.  Energy is something most of us take for granted these days.  Make sure you are not left without it when disasters strike.

Updated June 26, 2009

69 Comments

  1. Saskia wrote:

    I really like the hand-crank radio I bought here last year but I’m now a little stalled on buying supplies. It’s really hard to find room for much more in a NYC apt! I get a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what is best to buy next. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated..

    http://www.disastermusings.blospot.com

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:10 pm
  2. Walter wrote:

    We live on a boat full time and have 600 gallons of water, a diesel generator with 700 gallons of fuel, and a 2-week supply of canned rations from the Ready Store – but this sounds like a nice, easy technique for food storage & prep (compared to the #10 cans).

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:35 pm
  3. David P. Chesler wrote:

    Great ideas. Is all about working smarter not harder. Be a MacGuyver!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:47 pm
  4. D Land wrote:

    We have done some of these things and have considered solar panels. Have no experience with them, so am hesitant to spend the money. Do have a backup generator.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:48 pm
  5. Robin Ingram wrote:

    Currently we have things like emergency blankets, hand warmers, candles, and lanterns, and an emergency radio, but we do not yet have a back up method of power or fuel stocked up. My husband has mentioned fuel before, but I think I am going to look into storing it. My uncle has a large propane tank on his property as his back up source…I wish I had the kind of money to invest in something like that!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:48 pm
  6. Brian Emrich wrote:

    I love the newsletter updates!!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:49 pm
  7. Russell Lindsay wrote:

    The 72 hour kits are a great way to have everything that you may need in a hurry. Just grab the bags for each person and you have every thing that you may need for three days. i actually have one week kits for myself and my wife, complete with water.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:49 pm
  8. Laura Piedimonte wrote:

    I think that is the hardest for most of us who are just beginning to get prepared for any disaster. My situation is that we live in a subdivision that has homeowner do’s and don’ts which really limits us; would love to be able to do some sort of solar (can’t alter the roof) or wind (can’t put up any structure taller than the house); it’s just crazy. I think that we need to try to change the laws in this country now that we are living in times like no other, otherwise, the laws will prevent most people from being able to survive when something terrible happens. I appreciate your site, your advice and always enjoy all the great information you provide. Energy is something that we all take for granted, and my biggest fear is living with no heat in the winter.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:49 pm
  9. Jim Smith wrote:

    Here’s another way you can cook using 16 bricks to make a stove and use twigs for fuel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSMR2ANIZ7E

    I tried it out and it works great!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:58 pm
  10. Luke Nichols wrote:

    I try the shotgun approach to energy preparations. gas generator, propane/camp fuel for cooking, lots of batteries and rechargeable lights, I think solar chargers, or a good inverter system is the next step for me.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:00 pm
  11. Chris Wales wrote:

    I also do the shotgun approach. I try to have a ‘backup’ way to do the most critical things. Hand crank flashlights, 115hour candles for lighting. MRE’s, food (Mountain House/Saratoga Farms,) and water stashed throughout the house, not just in the kitchen. I recommend having a battery/hand operated radio for news and weather. Heck just having a charcoal grill and a propane ‘camping’ grill is a great way cook for yourself and your family. Besides, who wouldn’t want to grill out every day for a week!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:17 pm
  12. Jen wrote:

    I have just finished preparing the basics for our 72 hour kits and have a small supply of freeze dried food stored. One thing I need to work on is an alternate fuel source. I love reading everyone else’s replies to get some good ideas.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:21 pm
  13. Oneavgjoe wrote:

    Wind-ups can power more than you thought. Well, more than I thought until I looked around. See this site for more ideas on wind-up and crank solutions to get power to your apliances:

    http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2007/12/wind-up-your-la.html

    Joe

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:29 pm
  14. Michael Barnett wrote:

    Another good device is the hand crank charger for cell phones. Communication may or may not be affected by a disaster, depending on what it is, but if it is one that affects power and requires either a shelter in place or isolation (quarantine), like in the case of a Pandemic, then one of these chargers with the multi connectors really comes in handy. It also helps to have items like propane, sterno and matches available as well.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:32 pm
  15. Ai Kelley wrote:

    Living in So. Cal., solar power is the way to go in terms of alternative energy. However, keeping warm isn’t usually a problem here so much as finding ways to beat the heat.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:37 pm
  16. Eileen wrote:

    I like the idea of the MRE’s that have self contained heating & water for a grab and go. What I have done is created a grab and go from your blog suggestions, and it’s in the garage in a backpacking pack ready to go if needed.

    I’d like to add the MRE’s to the list.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:41 pm
  17. Russell Lindsay wrote:

    Another good thing to have fuel source that is good is extra propane tanks for your grill to cook on if you don’t have electricity

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:44 pm
  18. Jim Welborn wrote:

    Has anyone tried the natural gas/ propane back-up generators? I was trying to find out how long they will run on each, grill sized, propane tank if the gas lines fail. Can anyone point me to the information please?

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:49 pm
  19. Lynn Hilliard wrote:

    Thanks for the ideas. I’m limited to those that I can use in my apartment, so propane is best suited for me (cooking on my outside balcony).

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:54 pm
  20. Tyler Drinkard wrote:

    They had an article on the New Scientist website that detailed how solar energy was getting a big boost by shifting the wavelength based on location – to get the most out of the panels based on where you’re physically located. I’m buying a home currently, and I’m seriously considering this in the near future.

    Thanks for the newsletter :D

    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:59 pm
  21. Theresa Newbauer wrote:

    I think the wind power is an interesting alternative…I wouln’t mind having a wind tower in my yard. Would be useful even if there wasn’t an emergency.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 2:28 pm
  22. Adrien Neely wrote:

    As a member of the NRA and a subscriber to The Ready Store newsletters, I find that a growing number of folks are truly getting prepared for a breakdown in our society. It is most important that we stock up with the essentials and encourage our friends and families to do the same.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 2:36 pm
  23. Shawn M wrote:

    Good articles! Keep it up!!
    Shawn

    July 2nd, 2009 at 2:45 pm
  24. Tori Lee wrote:

    I also appreciate all the great information I have been provided with. Not only on your website but also on your blogg. I work in the energy industry and so I am constantly made aware of what is going on as far as energy goes. I have been studying up on the various methods of energy and I think Solar is the way to go. I have read reports of wind energy and the recent decrease in winds over periods of time since wind power has been used. I am convinced that solar power is definately in everyones near future and we should all be think alternate energy!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 2:57 pm
  25. Tori Lee wrote:

    Hello again, my return is to tell Jim Welborn where to get the information he requested. Just go to this website:
    http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm Just go to this website for an answer to your question and more.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 3:09 pm
  26. Tori Lee wrote:

    Natural gas is a naturally occurring fuel extracted from deep within the earth.
    It is not one gas but a mixture of various naturally-occurring gases. The types of gasses in this stew vary from well to well. Natural gas is primarily methane (alias “cow” flatulence), but also contains other flammable gases such as propane, butane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The main uses for natural gas in homes are for heating, hot water, clothes drying and cooking.

    Propane is extracted from natural gas, and is one of the so-called LP gases. ‘LP’ is an acronym for “liquefied petroleum”. Many years ago, it was found that propane could be turned into a liquid, or “liquefied”, under fairly low pressure. This quality allows shipping and storage of large volumes of propane gas in relatively small containers. Other gases can also be liquefied, but propane is by far the most common LP gas. Because of this the terms LP gas and propane are often used interchangeably.

    Propane is the fuel commonly used for portable appliances such as gas grills, stoves, lanterns, soldering guns and heaters. However, homes without access to natural gas can install large LP tanks outside and pipe the gas in for use with stationary appliances. Because of the consistency of the product, LP gas appliances can be designed to be more efficient than natural gas appliances. The portability of the fuel makes LP gas accessible to a wider number of people.

    Because all homes do not have access to natural gas, many manufacturers design their products to use LP gas instead. This makes them more widely useful and, of course, salable!! Depending on the product and its design, it may also be compatible with natural gas. This, of course, is something the company must determine so that their product is used safely. In the case of your fireplace logs, for example, if you cannot legally use the fuel gas they were designed for within your fireplace, contact the manufacturer.

    They may have a conversion kit available to allow the logs to use the other gas. State safety departments have written laws concerning the use of gas appliances. These laws are not consistent across the country. The best source of information concerning your local regulations would be the state regulatory agency involved.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 3:13 pm
  27. Benjamin Dorer wrote:

    For those of us who are apartment dwellers, a camping stove and an extra tank of gas are important– as well as batteries, radio/flashlight, and lots of tasty freeze dried food!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 3:22 pm
  28. Mona Leon wrote:

    Living in hurricane-prone south Florida — keeping warm is not an issue — it is keeping cool & avoiding heat stroke/exhaustion. Also avoiding the relentless disease-carrying mosquitoes. An article about those would be nice. I have been looking into survival books on how to make your own stove to boil water using debris, ie: tin foil & cardboard box. Having lost my roof in 2004 double hurricanes, I can tell you that having enough supplies does you no good if they are scattered over 3 counties. Having stuff stored in waterproof containers in differnt locations is NOT a sure proof way of knowing you will have access when you need it.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 3:29 pm
  29. Laura Fager wrote:

    I need these ideas to keep rolling in. I worry about fuel sources and hope that I can be prepared.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 3:40 pm
  30. D. Whitehill wrote:

    I realized how important it is to be prepared after the ice storms that went thru our town. We spent 2 weeks without power. We had a fireplace but other than that we were totally unprepared. I am trying to learn basic survival skills. Heat, light, food, water… these were all issues that we had to deal with in December. I’ve got a lot to learn yet… I’m been looking at the freeze dried foods & mres…I can’t decide which is the better way to go. any comments would be great.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 3:44 pm
  31. Lawrence Roberge wrote:

    This was a very good post. Several things to consider.

    First, for generators that use fuel, find out from your local fire dept. how much fuel (gasoline, diesel fuel, etc.) that you can store on your property WITHOUT requiring a permit. Thsi is VERY important! In Massachusetts, the rules are so outdated-law states only ONE gallon of gasoline for ANY non-auto use-yet, every one breaks it-that the law is useless (as told to me by the local fire marshall).

    Next, if using light sticks, be careful how you need them-general lighting or for necessary viewing. Sounds confusing. Consider that WHITE light sticks give off the full spectrum of light, whereas YELLOW or GREEN light sticks give off only the yellow or green part of the spectrum.

    If you need to discriminate between red switches, blue versus yellow wires in a circuit box, or other colored but important items; the colored light sticks will make it harder to clearly observe.

    Best wishes to all.

    Lawrence

    July 2nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm
  32. Noel Napolitan wrote:

    I think “good sources of light” is key, mainly the plural part. If you’re in the dark and need light quickly and quiety, a shack-light or dynamo-light is not going to do the trick. In addition to those, you should have a back-up battery powered light. In addition to that, I have actually used my Mag-Lite and a magnifying glass to start a fire (with standard lightbulb, not the L.E.D.).

    July 2nd, 2009 at 4:06 pm
  33. Matthew Truax wrote:

    An idea that I heard about was rigging up a bicycle to charge a large rechargeable battery or group of batteries and using excercise as an alternative source of electricity. This way you can kill two birds with one stone.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 4:29 pm
  34. Jeff Clark wrote:

    My area is not good for wind or solar – do you have recommendations on generators?

    July 2nd, 2009 at 4:35 pm
  35. Sam wrote:

    Living in South Florida, we are long used to being prepared. I went through Andrew and had NO IDEA what I would be in for. In subsequent years, I have honed our preparation. I have settled on freeze fried food as our main emergency food source. The 30 year shelf life and the taste sold me. I invested in one of the really good water purifiers, since there are canals full of water everywhere here. In order to be prepared for the unthinkable, put serious thought into what types of things you would need if the stores were closed or empty for a month or so. Make sure you have some cash on hand.. ATM’s don’t work without electricity. For cooking, consider a propane camping stove. The cannisters last a REALLY long time, are easily stored and safe. If you have a generator, you really should ground it directly to earth using a 5 foot copper rod and a copper jumper cable. Whatever vehicle you designate as your “main” emergency vehicle should also be grounded if possible.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 4:51 pm
  36. Tricia J wrote:

    Backup heating is especially important for us pet lovers. Me and the dog can tough out the cold for a while (extra socks!). But my peachfaced lovebird won’t fare so well in cold conditions. Reptile and fish enthustasts also share this problem. Also, many alternate heat sources give off fumes that are toxic to birds.

    Hand warmers, emergency blankets, and firewood in a well maintained fireplace is our warm bird plan for now.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 5:03 pm
  37. Hayley Locke wrote:

    A lot of good ideas that I hadn’t taken much thought into alternate energy sources. I was just building my food supply. Need to get a barbecue for food.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 5:36 pm
  38. chris boren sr wrote:

    my family has a generator with extra fuel for it,we have extra propane for camp stove,charcoal for grill,firewood for heating and campfire cooking. i have been thinking about the solar panels and a windmill. already started on a battery bank for storage.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 5:45 pm
  39. Get Ready Now wrote:

    A great item is a solar oven. (hint, hint, you guys should be selling them) They don’t weigh much at all and can boil water, bake bread and cook meats. Even on a cloudy day you can get a great meal. No fire, safe with kids.
    There are also portable solar generators. Yeah! no more gasoline! They can run up to 4 110 small appliances and the solar panel is portable, so your homeowner associations (I live in one too, it stinks) can’t bark at you. The panel is on wheels and you can direct it where you need it. In an emergency, the HOA’s can live with it for a while.
    And when all else runs out. Make sure you have charcoal. We stock up on it every hurricane season. Don’t forget your foil and lighter fluid too.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 5:46 pm
  40. Chris wrote:

    We have a large propane tank, but we need a backup generator. Thats next for us.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 6:31 pm
  41. Sharon Woodard wrote:

    Thanks for all you do to help us help ourselves. I have never given much thought to preparedness and if not for your website wouldn’t know how to get started.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 6:45 pm
  42. Laurie wrote:

    Once you start seeing what you actually have within your house a whole new world of “oh- Maybe I’m a bit ready – and need to just organize myself a bit more”. To know I have a grill, a fire pit and now a volcano stove- I have more resources available. Next is starting a solar oven- for under $10- a car window reflector and a few cardboard boxes and aluminum foil. We already have dutch ovens. Thanks for all the ideas from everyone!!

    July 2nd, 2009 at 7:40 pm
  43. Lisa Harvey wrote:

    I live out in the country with my family. We have installed 40 solar pannels that run the entire compound. We pump our own water, and have a deep well..but are preparing to drill to 750 to 1000 feet more. We have most of the survival tools…food,sanitary supplies, waste disposal solutions, Water storage solutions, Several emergency blankets, Alternative comfortable sleeping solutions, “everything proof” matches, Firestarters, Several lanterns,Canned fuel, Candles,Lightsticks,Flashlights, More than one radio..(in case something happens to one of them!) Firearms and ammo, First aid kit, (if you have kids..make sure that you have pediatric size first aid supplies).We have small and large denominations of curancy, lot’s of pocket change,several cell phones (even though they probably wouldn’t work in a global emergency)& all of the chargers to go with them, We have arranged an out of state contact person..(so if the family is seperated, we can all contact this out of state person to let each other know we are all o.k.) This would only work if the disaster is only in our state and not global. We also have a collection of precious, and semi precious metals and stones (We may need to barter if money is worthless) And remember…There is no better currancy than extra food, fuel and water to trade!! We also have 2 generators.(The Honda generator is my favorite. It’s powerfull, and so quiet you can hardly hear it). we have tons of firewood, and lots of tools to fix stuff.

    We have toys for the kids, teaching tools, books for various age ranges, paper,pens,pencils,reading glasses,etc…

    Don’t forget gas masks. and if you have children be sure to get child size gas masks! they can’t help if they don’t fit. Chemical suites are also available in lots of sizes.

    There are also full size solar and Fuel powered freezers and fridges that can be purchased.

    Take a course on CPR. Learn first aid. Pass a hunter saftey class. And then learn about wilderness survival. You will need to know these things BEFORE you have to use them to be effective.

    I hope this helps those who read it, to build up your own survival bunker.

    .Lisa.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 8:03 pm
  44. Thomas wrote:

    I live in an area that is affected by hurricanes. My backup fuel for my generator comes from my old truck. It holds 16 gallons that can be siphoned off easily with a pump. That’s enough to run my generator for about a week.

    If you have to refuel during the emergency, people in line at the gas station are a lot more understanding when you are filling up a vehicle than they would be if you were filling up 3 five-gallon cans.

    So if you have an old work truck and the gas tank is in good shape, go ahead and fill it up now before you need it. If it takes more than a year to burn off a tank of gas in it, add some fuel stabilizer for good measure.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 8:07 pm
  45. Lisa Harvey wrote:

    You probably already know this but….For those who have large propane tanks…Make sure you have the proper adapters to get the propane out of the tank so it isn’t lost :) (You might have to do some searching to find these)

    We have 3 propane tanks that hold several hundreds of gallons total.. But this would be worthless if we couldn’t get it out of the tanks.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 8:11 pm
  46. Rd wrote:

    Generators are nice for the short term emergency (like keeping the fridge and freezer going until their contents can be utilized). I’m thinking that using valuable/expensive resources to attempt to keep things “status quo” may not be the best for longer term emergencies. I think people need to plan on how to substitute or do with out some of the resource gobbling fuel/power options.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 8:19 pm
  47. Clemente Moreno wrote:

    I’ve been assembling as many of these items as my budget allows.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 8:26 pm
  48. Thea wrote:

    I would love to have solar panels on my roof. But I live in a townhome complex and things on roofs are not permitted. We do have a generator and fuel for it. Under communication you could also put Ham Radios. There is a feeling of comfort when you are prepared.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 8:38 pm
  49. D. Garner wrote:

    Being prepared is fairly simple! Start small, build a good base, and hope;wish; and pray you selected ALL the correct items you need for yourself and family. But of course it will be that one item you don’t include or forget OR don’t get enough of –

    TOILET PAPER !

    July 2nd, 2009 at 9:21 pm
  50. Anthony Fraino wrote:

    As with many others that blog on this site, keeping warm is far from my mind. The coldest winter in the area in which I live was about 38•f. This can easily be remedied with a warm jacket, hat and socks. Now air con is the problem. Fans would obviously be a more energy efficient choice since air con compressors use an inordinate amout of electricity. Is there any shelter (tent type structure) that is designed to be a solar energy collector, ventilated by fan with the use of this power and comfortable to survive in for a time span of a week or more. Please let me know if anyone has heard of such a device…or simply split the royalties with me if someone develops something similar to this solar reflective self powered tent.(hehehe). Anthony F.

    July 2nd, 2009 at 10:58 pm
  51. Brett wrote:

    Since my area has experienced 3 hurricanes and one tropical storm in 4 years, we decided to purchase a 4kw generator and keep 25 gallons of gas (properly stored of course) on hand. We don’t stay for the storms, but have returned within a few days of them. Last summer when Ike hit we were without power for 9 days. Some had it off for much longer. I can tell you it is expensive to run a generator all day. Ours consumed about 8 gallons a day with sporadic use during daylight and continuous use at night to run the window a/c unit. It gets expensive burning 8 gallons of gas a day every day for a week. This is where I saw that solar would be perfect for my area. The only problem is the steep upfront cost for a unit big enough to power your whole home. These are usually in the $30,000-$60,000 range.
    For those that could afford it I couldn’t recommend it enough. There is also a 30% tax credit right now. For my area of the deep south solar would definitely be the way to go. I hope that industry keeps working on geting the cost down and efficiency up so this can become a reality for more people including myself.

    July 3rd, 2009 at 8:56 am
  52. William Woods wrote:

    I would like to know more about solar-power kits, solar battery rechargers, solar powered radios, solar flashlights/lanterns, etc. How many of these products are carried by the Ready Store? Can anyone tell me more about these type of items and/or make any recomendations? Can anyone provide links to more info?

    July 3rd, 2009 at 9:40 am
  53. Benjamin Ramsey wrote:

    I bought the ULTIMATE Year Supply of Freeze-Dried Fruit – #10 CANS.
    I will be getting the Magnesium Fire Starter next.

    July 3rd, 2009 at 9:49 am
  54. RTSTEVE wrote:

    I’ve been looking at solar power for the house. Seems that the collector grid is not too expensive, and can be build. But the power converter, converting the DC solar power to AC house current and some related components can really get pricy ($800 and up, when you add switches, wiring, etc)

    Does anyone have a less expensive alternative ?
    What about dual-fuel generators, like those that can be powered with gasoline as well as natural gas ?

    July 3rd, 2009 at 11:21 am
  55. RTSTEVE wrote:

    A handy website that I found is http://www.thedisasterguard.com
    It has a food storage calculator, you put in the number of people in your family and it calculates how much of the essentials you should have for a year. It appears that the calculations are based on the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) recommendations. I am trying to build a pantry with a balance of basic recipe ingredients as well as some freeze-dried meals, and MREs for short-term and bug-out situations.
    Get a bread-maker, very handy assuming you have electricity.
    Also have 2-3 weeks of “normal” grocery items that we use, rotate and re-stock as needed. Also saves gas by reducing the number of trips to the grocery store. Be sure to check the expiration dates.

    July 3rd, 2009 at 11:40 am
  56. Randy wrote:

    I have an infrared heater like one you might see for ice fishing. I have three propane tanks ready to fuel it. I also bought an adapters to run the 20lb propane right into the Coleman propane stove for cocking. I would love to get a pellet or wood stove also.

    July 3rd, 2009 at 2:32 pm
  57. Debora Kerr wrote:

    This is one area where I do feel partially prepared. I have addressed these needs and have several kits, for my home, for my bug-out kit, and in the cars. This article has me thinking about the power grid alternatives. I need to learn in more detail what can be done there.

    July 3rd, 2009 at 3:29 pm
  58. Fran Kozicki wrote:

    Fran Kozicki

    A very good blog, with good points. I have been more or less focusing on food storage, and need to work more on preparedness. Really like the idea of solar, yet we rent so our options are limited. Solar oven is next big item on my list. Thanks for all the helpful information, and ideas to think about.
    Fran

    July 3rd, 2009 at 4:29 pm
  59. Kyle Tupin wrote:

    Having survived hurricane Ike, I keep a 72 hour supply of food and water. I use the bbq grill (propane) for cooking. Gasoline was in very short supply so keeping a generator running required planning and/or a long drive for gas.

    July 3rd, 2009 at 5:53 pm
  60. Maureen Abbott wrote:

    We went through Gustav and have gradually started working towards keeping everything ready in case of another one, but honestly I had not really considered the energy aspect. We just cooked on the grill and coleman stove

    July 3rd, 2009 at 6:06 pm
  61. Holly Robinson wrote:

    I have food storage and a well, but only a gas powered generator for power. I would like to have solar panels installed on my roof, but I can’t afford it. I’m doing all of this in small steps and wish there was a way to do solar energy for less.

    July 5th, 2009 at 9:19 am
  62. David Crouthers wrote:

    Thanks for all the great tips–a portable solar generator (Thanks, Get Ready Now!) sounds like a great investment. I have looked at some wind turbines available thru a farm industry magazine, but I am concerned that we would not have a reliable supply of wind available in our area. Solar power might be a better option for us here. We survived a major ice storm this past winter, and are true believers in staying prepared. And yes, have some cash on hand in a safe place. Cell phones, ATM’s, and credit cards are WORTHLESS if the whole telephone system goes down. Also, consider having enough food and water (and TP) for other family members or friends that may have to live with you during a crisis. As a volunteer firefighter, I am also taking a First Responder’s class next month to assist in medical emergencies. As a farmer, I already have gas generators, chain saws and a thousand gallon LP tank with a transfer pump to fill one grain truck that runs on LP, as well as our forklift and other portable LP tanks. Just don’t forget to check on your neighbors!

    July 5th, 2009 at 7:15 pm
  63. Rebecca Kumar wrote:

    I have heard negative things about wind power. I am curious how much power is generated by the kits mentioned in the blog.

    July 5th, 2009 at 7:53 pm
  64. Jason Thompson wrote:

    I think it is important to remember to tie any backup generator into your house properly with a cut-off-switch. Every year during hurricane season electrical linemen get killed becasue someone with a home generator is not tied in properly and thus sending voltage back into the grid. A step down transformer works as a step up transformer when the current flows in the opposite direction. So, a 110V 30 amp source gets stepped up to whatever the line voltage is (easily 1000′s of volts). I wired a completely separate circuit into my house just for my generator. It consists of an outlet on the outside for the generator (power in) and 2 outlets in the house (1 for the kitchen (fridge/microwave and 1 for TV/lights/etc.). This setup saved the cost of an automactic switch for the entire house at the breaker box and this also means I can get by with a smaller generator.

    July 6th, 2009 at 8:32 am
  65. Michael wrote:

    To generate electricity, there are many methods that are outside of the box thinking. Peltier junctions are employed by the military to generate electricity with waste heat.

    July 6th, 2009 at 11:16 am
  66. Lee wrote:

    I’m in the process of ordering/installing a whole house liquid cooled generator (Generac QuietSource) that will run off of large LP tanks buried in my yard so that they are less obvious should fuel become a real issue. I recently bought the 72 day MRE box from the Ready Store to back up my canned & dry food staples. I am also restoring some back-up water storage from rain water (cistern) should “city water” become interrupted. I’ve been doing cost comparison shopping on wind turbines to save on long-term cost should this “Cap & Tax” Energy Tax legislation be rail-roaded through. However I have not yet determined the feasibility of going “off-grid” full time with alternative energy options.

    July 6th, 2009 at 8:53 pm
  67. Pierre Montsion wrote:

    Alternative energy is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, but dont have the funds to do anything. At this time, my best bet is to just stock up on some propane tanks. I can use these with my BBQ to cook with, and also plug my heater directly into a tank. In a perfect world, I would have a large generator supplied by a large underground fuel tank PLUS solar panels and wind generators – but is all that really needed? In all reality, all I need is a heat source to help out over the winter months….

    July 7th, 2009 at 12:29 pm
  68. Eileen wrote:

    I’ve also been thinking a lot about long term alternative energy. Would love to have the whole house running on solar, but don’t have the money to invest in that right now. So I am gathering the smaller solar powered items now.Getting them at the ready store.

    I would really like to hear your opinion on solar powered generators

    July 9th, 2009 at 7:19 am
  69. bajajim wrote:

    Here are just a few comments about fuel and emergency power.

    The absolute best fuel (in terms of storage longevity) is Propane. Propane can be stored almost indefinitely without degradation. It also is much easier on an engine than gasoline. It can also supply heat, light and refrigeration. Propane prices are seasonal and vary from one dealer to another as well as from one location to another.
    In terms of storage (best to worst) of generator fuels consider the following;
    Propane
    Natural or liquefied natural gas
    Diesel fuel
    Gasoline
    Batteries are a great way to store energy however one must remember that they require proper maintenance, are expensive and require a rather large amount of space to store a meaningful amount of energy. They contain a finite amount of energy so once you have discharged them you need a way to recharge them or they will be damaged. The quickest way to recharge them is with a generator, or utility power. Solar panels will also recharge them but at a much slower rate and at a much higher cost as well as requiring large areas of direct sunlight to collect the energy.
    I recommend that you carefully consider the minimum amount of power you can get by with in an emergency and tailor your emergency power accordingly. Consider the purchase of a smaller refrigerator that can be powered by Propane, 12 volts or 120 volts. Limit the use of power-hungry devices like electric heating, toasters, irons and the like. Wash dishes and clothes the old fashioned way, by hand. Use compact fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs.

    August 15th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

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