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· fan of analysis
86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saw this on my own local news just now.

Police Provide Extra Security For Unitil Workers - New Hampshire Ice Storm News Story - WMUR Manchester

I think it has some lessons for preparing for likely natural disasters.

Takeaways for me.

1. Lot of people are unprepared for likely disasters -- this isn't the first time folks have been without power during ice storms. So if you are preparing for the end of civilization, are you also prepared for house fire and ice storms / power outages (or whatever your likely local disasters are?)

2. I think this gives some insight into human behavior. While there is anger (at being unprepared) in this case it is directed at power companies. There's no looting, robbing, or mobs in this more likely type of disaster.

3. I also find people's expectations interesting. In this case, some people expect utilities to be there or to be fixed quickly. What do we each expect? Water? Food supply? Economic stability? What is the likelihood of that expectation not being met? Are we reasonably prepared for it given the likelihood and impact?

It is so important to focus on facts about likelihood. Otherwise our tendency as humans is to misjudge the risk and focus on unlikely scenarios due to a variety of cognitive biases that we are all prone to. So we end up prepared for that one movie plot scenario only to have something totally common happen which we never prepared for.

EDIT: wishing the best for those in the northeast -- it is a terrible thing to be cold and without power. Wished I could help somehow.

· Old hillbilly
97 Posts
We have had many power outages the last few winters with all the ice storms we've been getting. 3 times in the last 5 years, we have been without power for a week or more. Longest was 10 days. Our home is all electric, but we get by with a wood stove for heat, and we cook on our propane camp stove. We see at night by kerosene lantern. We are even fairly comfortable, but we do miss conveniences like the microwave.

Everyone should take steps to better prepare for things like this. Alternate heat sources, extra food that cooks easily, and water should always be kept on hand. Why don't people listen?

· Registered
696 Posts
Most of the power outages in bad weather are because people don't keep their trees trimmed away from power lines.

You all want convenient, cheap power, but you aren't willing to do your parts!

With people breeding like rats, and everyone wanting to build 'McMansions' with landscaping that overhangs power lines,
Or older homes that have never been trimmed back from power lines and half the frigging tree is hanging over the lines...

Then you all want to complain when 'Mother Nature', a natural event like snow or ice comes along and tears out nearly the entire infrastructure...


I paid $600 to have one tree removed & stump ground down since it was directly under the power lines and had grown up on both sides of them,
3 trees trimmed back from hanging over the house and topped, so nothing hazarded my house or power lines.
My neighbors, however, though that I was being an 'Extremists'....
Trimming around the lines is CHEAP

We'll see, Ice is in the forecast next week!

NOW! Instead of being a idiot giving the utility workers a hard time,
Guys that are working 18 hour days, every day, all day long in the ICE...
Guys that fatigue & stress can get them killed in a
(and usually the utility workers in an emergency aren't even from the same county/state in an emergency.
They come in from all directions when things like this happen

Basic gensets are CHEAP!
Emergency generators can be nothing more than wheeled out of the garage and extension cords run in the house for the basics!

Don't put all your 'Eggs' in one basket!

If you are 'All Electric'...
Propane bottles are cheap, free some times when you buy propane from the same supplier.
No reason not to have a propane backup heater plumbed and vented when the house is built or you get a new furnace!

If you are on 'City Gas', even a small generator or reasonable size inverter will power your furnace electronics and blower motor!
Draws about the same current as a small microwave!
And it will run on an extension cord!

Nothing else in the house that's electric may work, but your furnace will! (and once you have heat/shelter/water, how bad can the rest be?)

Forget the 'Consumerism'!
Forget the 52" flat screen,
Forget the Surround sound,
Forget the 'Blue Ray',
Forget the Jewelry,

Get a good set of tools,
Get some backup of basic services, water, heat, ect.!!!!

· ke4sky
190 Posts
Manchester, NH may as well be Manchester UK

Manchester is an industrial city in the southern tier of NH off Interstate 93 a stone's throw from the Peoples Socialist Democratic Republik of Massasachusetts. It is populated mostly by transplanted flatlanders and whiny city people who think that society owes them a living.

When I lived in NH it was farther north the I89 corridor in Merrimac County not far from Sunapee ski area. I worked in Newport and commuted from Sutton, NH. I was an industrial worker also. Our defense plant workforce was self-relliant and prepared, because we expect this type of thing in the normal course of life. Co-workers and neighbors help each other and it's expected.

During the great ice storms of '87-88 we put chains on our farm tractors. We all put on hard hats, grabbed our chain saws, or axes and worked day and night alongside Public Service of NH for several weeks clearing the tree debris and saving it for firewood ( I put away ten cords for my own use - about 2 years worth of heat) so that utility workers could do their jobs more efficiently to replace over 1000 downed power poles. We kept our home warming fires burning, prepared great pots of clam chowder and hot coffee with home baked bread to warm up utiility crews. We expressed appreciation in a barn dance of traditional American bluegrass, French Canadian and Celtic music when our AC mains came back up.

When you get away from big cities and into the real heartland of America or Canada ordinary people are this way.

· ke4sky
190 Posts
Good times!

Aye it was! I sure do miss the sense of rural community. Working too close to Washington, DC. That's why I have a place in West Virginia where I get farther "outside the beltway" as often as I can. State tourism slogan "Almost Heaven" fits pretty well. I'll retire there in about 3 years. Not soon enough.

· Registered
696 Posts
When you get away from big cities and into the real heartland of America or Canada ordinary people are this way.
You guys sound like people I could get a long with!

Around here, we do EXACTLY the same thing, except for the utility crews come out here about the LAST thing, so by the time they get here, the roads are clear, the downed trees are cut up and removed, and things are ready for them to show up!

Like Grandpa said when we got 5" or 6" of ice, then 3' of snow right behind it,
"Shut Up & Chain Up, Work First, Complain Later... If you've got the energy..."

· Registered
263 Posts
We just got our power back on this afternoon from that ice storm. We were the last people in town to get it because the electric guys "forgot" to flip the switch to our place.
We prepare mostly for bad weather, it's part of the "perks" of living withut neighbors on top of a mountain. I've lived in enough cities to knoe I'm better off here. I have a wood stove, plenty of candles and usually a generator.
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