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Backup Power for the Individual and Volunteer, Part I: Generators

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  • Backup Power for the Individual and Volunteer, Part I: Generators

    An introductory guide to generator technologies and options for the individual or disaster and relief volunteers and responders.

    As a loss of power from the grid is a regular occurrence during a disaster,*being ready for this eventuality is...

    Click here to view the article.
    Live your dream, don't dream your life.
    Chris L-S, CEO/Owner/Administrator, Disaster.Com

  • #2
    Informative read, thanks for the link on the pros and cons for various generators. One of my husbands military MOS's dealt with generators, so when I think about this technology, I envision a big contractions and portable, but did not understand the differences.

    What I found extremely benefical is the possibility and availability of a grant from FEMA to help those with a medical need. I am going to pass this link along to some loved ones. Sometimes in situations without power, it truly is a life and death situation. Being prepared really does save lives.

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    • #3
      My parents own a chicken farm and they always use the portable generator to keep the incubators running during blackouts caused by storms. A simple bad wind can take of the electricity here. They run it with kerosene and car batteries. Those generators saved their business from bankruptcy because those incubators will keep the chicks alive. They will die out of cold temperature without it. Whether you are a home owner or business owner, It is important to have a generator.
      Diane Lane likes this.

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      • #4
        In 1994 when the power outages was getting to be rampant, I had planned on buying a generator - 1 kva or power can afford us the use of several electric fans. It was summer and the heat was unbearable at night, literally causing us to lose sleep. From what I remember, that one small diesel-powered generator costs $300. Wow, big money during that time. This year, while I was in a big hardware store looking for a camping tent, I noticed a small generator - the same as what I had planned to buy years back - that is on sale at $100. Get it?

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        • #5
          Are you sure that it was a diesel-powered generator, and not just a gasoline powered one ? Usually, the diesel ones are much better quality and cost more. They are made to run for longer periods, where the little $100 gas ones are more for short spurts of use.
          One good thing about a diesel generator is that you can buy the off-road diesel to use as fuel, and the off-road diesel is much cheaper than regular diesel usually.

          It is also safer to store than gasoline; but if you are using it in the winter, you need to use a diesel additive to keep so that it will start.
          If you just need a cheap generator for short outages, then you would probably be just fine with the $100 one, whether it is diesel or gasoline -powered.
          Diane Lane likes this.

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          • #6
            That's really interesting but would it really work? I mean is it going to be actually beneficial in the end? Because I've heard that they're not as good and there are other sources to stay on that are better, while it may be good in some ways, it could be really really bad in some other ways I've heard. Am I correct?

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            • #7
              the good ones work quite well, they are efficient and reasonably quiet. If left in the backyard for months on end, and not started regularly - they will likely NOT start when needed. They are expensive, the good ones, even more so. Fuel is a problem - storing enough to get through the event, keeping the fuel viable. They are only useful for small loads.

              I can't think of them as bad? - as they are designed for a specific use and location and time frame. If your needs fall within the design you are golden. If you need something cheaper, more cost effective to use, more reliable, more long term....maybe not.

              They, and the fuel are ALWAYS cheaper pre or post event....not during the event.
              Diane Lane and Tumbleweed like this.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tumbleweed View Post
                Are you sure that it was a diesel-powered generator, and not just a gasoline powered one ? Usually, the diesel ones are much better quality and cost more. They are made to run for longer periods, where the little $100 gas ones are more for short spurts of use.
                One good thing about a diesel generator is that you can buy the off-road diesel to use as fuel, and the off-road diesel is much cheaper than regular diesel usually.

                It is also safer to store than gasoline; but if you are using it in the winter, you need to use a diesel additive to keep so that it will start.
                If you just need a cheap generator for short outages, then you would probably be just fine with the $100 one, whether it is diesel or gasoline -powered.
                If it's me you are asking, that was a diesel-powered generator because I still have to see a gasoline generator in the market. By the way, there was a threat of power outages this summer that was declared early this year. It was due to the shortage of electricity from the suppliers - repairs and breakdown issues. I guess the sales of power generators were up. Unfortunately for the buyers, the declared blackout did not materialize.

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                • #9
                  I recognize that generators are great to have, and I would personally love to have one. What I didn't appreciate was just prior to hitting the road for the Hurricane Rita evacuation, when I had to drive around, wasting my precious gas and time, trying to find a gas station that didn't have 10-20 huge trucks full of empty barrels to be filled with gas or diesel, tying up every pump.

                  I don't appreciate people putting their future comfort ahead of others' ability to evacuate to safety. It would be nice if there was some way to separate that traffic out from the vehicles trying to escape ahead of a potentially catastrophic event.
                  Tumbleweed likes this.

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                  • #10
                    Diane Lane, that is a really good point, and I am sure that it made it bad for everyone who was either tring to get prepared to weather out the storm, or to evacuate before it came ashore, like you were.
                    At least with a hurricaine, everyone knows that it is coming, usually days ahead of the time that it actually gets there, so people should have started preparing for it as soon as theyknew one was coming.
                    Even though you can't store gasoline a long time, you can certaiinly put some away when there is any indicaion of a possible storm, and not wait until the last minute.

                    I tink that the same thing happened in New Orleans, when hurricane Katrina came ashore. People didn't think they would have to leave until it was almost too late, and then all of the roads going out of town were jammed, traffic was a near standstill, and people were running out of fuel all along the way, and nothing they could do to help it at that point.
                    Diane Lane likes this.

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                    • #11
                      Tumbleweed Yes, I think they (in New Orleans) felt reassured because the dikes had held before, and also weren't counting on such a severe storm surge. I agree regarding planning ahead. I definitely would have gassed up ahead of time (I know that's not what you were saying), except I was turning in the rental car that day & picking my vehicle up from the shop after accident repairs. In retrospect, I should have gassed up the rental and kept driving that, things may have turned out much better, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Thankfully, emergency officials have changed policies here because of that situation and enacted contraflow lanes, so hopefully next time no one will have to die or suffer needlessly.

                      It would be great if fuel could be stored, so that wouldn't happen again, where evacuees are unable to obtain needed fuel to escape, and still provide enough for those wishing to ride out the storm. I don't know how much fuel a generator uses, but you'd think they were preparing for the apocalypse, with as many barrels as they had to fill.
                      Tumbleweed likes this.

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