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Author Topic: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?  (Read 3493 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« on: December 05, 2021, 10:36:40 pm »



Everyone must have seen how Scotland and Northern England have had a large number of people 'stranded in their own homes' without power for a week and ongoing, after the ravages of storm Arwen.
I am amazed that these people, or at least the selection chosen for interview by the media, had no camping stoves or other alternative methods of heating water and food, but appeared to rely totally on their electricity supply.
Surely we all know about the phenomenon of The Power Cut, or the American version, The Power Outage?  Or am I the only one who EXPECTS power cuts in bad weather?  That can't be.


When I was a child, I remember my mother stocking up at the end of summer for being cut off from the village:  tinned and bottled food, candles, torches, well stocked wood shed and coal shed, and my father made sure we had animal feed for a few weeks without power, although it was never that bad. We lived in Norfolk which back then could have some bad winters, with very deep snow.


Now, here I do just the same as my mother, I stock up with food for us and our pets, and make sure there's enough to feed the livestock.  I have a camping stove with plenty of reserve cannisters, a solar powered lamp, candles and plenty of batteries for torches.  We keep our fuel supply topped up, and we have a generator for emergency power for the freezers, recharging phones etc. We have a wood burning stove in addition to central heating which needs electricity to work. 
We also have plenty of winter woollies and hard-winter clothing.  When it's cold I wear about 6 or 7 layers.  One woman when interviewed said "I'm wearing three layers" as if she normally went around in winter wearing almost nothing.


Anyway, rant over, but what does everyone else carry as emergency supplies in the event of a power cut in bad weather, and how long do you reckon your supplies should last?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2021, 12:37:42 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2021, 11:35:55 pm »
I see where you are coming from Fleecewife but to be without power for a day maybe two is quite unusual these days and many people have been without for over a week now. Thirty years ago when I first came here the mere hint of a storm and the power would go off. Line maintenance and infrastructure investment has greatly improved that. The scale of the damage to power lines is the worst the network has suffered for over 30 years.


Many did have alternatives to electric for heating and cooking but elderly people often live in properties entirely reliant on electric. To be without heating for several days was especially hard for these people. Extra layers are fine but when the temperatures hoover near freezing all day and dip below at night old people are going to struggle to keep warm. Plus many were contacted by their supplier and told they would be reconnected that weekend when in reality there was no chance.


The situation was compounded by the failure of the mobile phone masts and bt lines coming down too. People were literally cut off.


Information provided was especially poor and misleading if you had the means to call the electric helpline.


For most it was an inconvenience and people managed just fine but for the vulnerable in our communities it was pretty grim even with good community support from volunteers.
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oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2021, 06:21:17 am »
I'm always amazed that so few people, even here in the Highlands, don't put winter tyres on their car.
A 2wd car with winter tyres has better grip in snow than a 4wd vehicle in summer tyres.

I'd go so far as trip say that anyone without winter tyres that ends up in a ditch in winter time deserves no sympathy at all as they are making the roads more dangerous for everyone.

......I'd better get a move on and get my tyres changed as I haven't done it yet.......

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2021, 07:20:14 am »

......I'd better get a move on and get my tyres changed as I haven't done it yet.......
We have winter tyres on ours all year. This is the first time we've had them. I hopw we don't need them, but I guess that's the point of "insurance". Doesn't seem to have made any diffrence to fuel usage (although with prices being what they are, it's hard to notice ::) )

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2021, 07:43:41 am »
Snow chains must be carried in many Departments here- recent legislation. We have a set but have never used them as it's easier just to stay at home until it melts, which is usually within the day.


Having lived in the Dordogne and experienced power cuts on a regular basis, so many that we received a rebate on out standing charge, we are well prepared for them and have backups with backups. We hatched eggs there and the process became a nightmare. Eventually we bought a mains failure alarm to warn us of power loss during the night, at which time we would use an inverter with a leisure battery.


Cooking here is usually with a bottle gas hob anyway, because all power lines are overhead and do come down in storms. We have a winter checklist for gas bottles for cooking, petrol for the generators, wood for the fire, paraffin for the Tilly lamps and a full tank of heating oil. We have spare cookers, gas heaters and bottled water, because a major failure will see mains pressure lost. Yes, I'd say we are prepared. If we've forgotten anything please tell me.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2021, 09:20:23 am »

I bought a set of winter tyres when we first moved to our smallholding, but I had a hell of a job getting hold of them - various garages said "oh, you don't need them for the UK". However, I notice the same garages are now offering to not only sell winter tyres, but also store the off-season set for you, for a price.

Perhaps they just realised that 40 for a change-over every 6 months plus storage made good business!

In the end, we bought sets of spare alloy wheels for both our cars, so we can switch them over ourselves without having to pay. Oor Wullie is right - 2WD with good snow tyres beats 4WD without. The added bonus is that you get four wheel stop as well! :-D

We have winter tyres on ours all year.


Do you not find they wear a lot during the Summer, Rosemary?  I would have expected that to be a real problem?

Oh, and to answer the original question - yes, backup generator plus secondary cooking and heating that don't need electricity. It's just plain sensible.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2021, 11:32:48 am »
I must admit this topic worries me somewhat, at almost 78 I would be classed as vulnerable I guess

I downsized two years ago and at that time had the option to install a woodburner, but decided not to as I no longer had a free supply of wood. In addition to that was the directive that woodburners would be banned in a few years, along with gas boilers.

Now no-one is certain which fuel is best to use and I can't now have a woodburner as the chimney has been capped with a concrete pad. So I am stuck with a gas boiler which depends on electricity.

I do however have a plentiful supply of candles and matches, battery torches, and blankets, plus i keep my freezers and fridge well stocked.  And I keep a flask of hot water most days if the weather starts to look serious.

So I reckon I could survive a couple of days - but not the 8 days already seen this year - and we're not really into winter yet.

My other back up is good neighbours, one of them a retired GP, both my kids less than an hour from me, and friends down in the village - all of whom would come to my aid if necessary, even without me having to call them

I hope I never need it.  What these people have gone through is inexcusable - some truth and foresight would have alleviated a great deal of their suffering
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2021, 12:52:20 pm »
The news article that got me was 'lots of people are in danger and are getting burns due to using camping stoves or open fires'    .....  are people really that helpless now?

Got used to power cuts as a kid in the 80's .....  mum and dad were off for 10 days post the hurricane due to the line coming through a large wooded area...  mum's cupboards are always full (and I follow this habit) ...  have options of wood burner, oil cental heating, and camping kit. we  use hotwater bottles   and am sat now with blanket over my legs .  Forget what you look like and dress properly!

Where have all the girl guides and boy scouts gone?
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2021, 01:18:56 pm »
They will be banning BBQ's next! Which reminds me I didn't mention charcoal and lighter fluid which we need for the kettle style BBQ, which doubles as an oven and gets a lot of use in Summer, because cooking inside the house is impossible- raises the internal temperature too much.


We had a 5 day power cut years ago in Derbyshire, caused by freak weather conditions which iced up the power lines to the extent that they collapsed with the weight. Managed to hire a generator from outside the affected area. It was simply a case of isolating the main supply and plugging the generator into the house circuit with a double plug lead. This then ran the oil central heating, the fridge and freezer. Haven't tried that approach here because I don't know how the earth trips will be affected- does anyone know? Fortunately our oil boiler with pump plugs into a socket and the thermostat is wireless.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2021, 01:28:39 pm »
@harmony I am all too aware of how badly an event like this impacts on the elderly and vulnerable - I'm one myself and a one-time hospital nurse and I know how quickly someone can succumb to hypothermia.  My rant was not directed at them but at those able bodied people who seemed to just stand back and expect help to arrive, having made no effort to make themselves ready for such an event.  There are plenty of situations in life where we truly need help; if there were not then we would not have organised emergency services. But for their time to be taken up with tending to those who could have helped themselves, when they are needed for the truly vulnerable is galling.


In fact I think most elderly people are like me and doganjo and still see a good electricity supply as a bit of a wonder, but one not to be totally depended on, so we have an alternative up our sleeves.  I love the vox pops of smiling people dressed snuggly in all their winter woollies, showing how it should be done. @doganjo a supply of those sticks and handwarmers which give off heat when you open them would help in an emergency, also keeping moving warms you up while your rellies are on the way.  Our rellies are too far away to come - you are so lucky in your family  :)


I have also realised that few younger people can imagine a time without electricity or some reliable power supply, so they can be connected by computers, phones, food deliveries and other instant services.  Also people under about 30 have only known the UK in fairly mild times, although we had a whopper of a winter storm here about 20 years ago.  I was on my own for that, initially locked out of my house as I got home from the airport to find my husband had flown with our doorkeys in his pocket!!  A blizzard produced 8' snowdrifts which initially were too soft to climb over.  I couldn't get to my coal which was lost somewhere behind the drifts, I couldn't get to my animals until we had a really hard frost to make the drifts almost climbable (but not quite, occasionally breaking through the crust).  Of course I was 20 years younger and not so badly affected by a medical condition then, but it was extreme.  It was 4 days before the electricity came back on and five before the roads were cleared enough for anyone, including my husband to get through.  However, I survived (as did all my animals), with only the little bit of help from a neighbour who dug out my coal for me.  So I learned a whole lot from that, and I apply it to how I prepare myself and our farm for winter.


My rant was directed at those who could prepare themselves but choose not to, to rely on the emergency services to do everything for them instead of taking responsibility for their own wellbeing.  Many people were well prepared.  Maybe we just need to get more information out so everyone has the knowledge they need.  After all, Climate Change means storms like this are likely to become a regular occurrence in the future, just as droughts are too.


Most people on farms have some stocks and maybe a generator, and are used to braving the cold to reach livestock, but in the end we must be aware that we have to guard our own lives first and be sensible about when to hole up and ignore what's outside the door.
Sometimes I'm mocked by those who think being prepared is just a Boy Scout motto, but in our family we had a death due to extreme weather and a bit of a lack of good sense on the part of the person who died. Also someone living just a half mile from us lost his sister who froze to death on her way home from the pub on foot.


So be sensible folks and be prepared - it sounds as if most of you are.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2021, 01:32:44 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2021, 01:41:01 pm »
@doganjo these are the sort of things I mean: 


www.amazon.co.uk/HotHands-836-8342-Hot-Hands/

or even these if you want a laugh www.findmeagift.co.uk/gifts/toasty-balls-handwarmers.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2021, 01:42:34 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2021, 02:18:56 pm »
Do you not find they wear a lot during the Summer, Rosemary?  I would have expected that to be a real problem?

No idea. Not had them but a few months.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2021, 02:31:49 pm »
@doganjo these are the sort of things I mean: 


www.amazon.co.uk/HotHands-836-8342-Hot-Hands/

or even these if you want a laugh www.findmeagift.co.uk/gifts/toasty-balls-handwarmers.
I didn't think to mention handwarmers and hot water bottled. Got a stack of them too  :excited:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Bywaters

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2021, 03:27:54 pm »
A 2wd car with winter tyres has better grip in snow than a 4wd vehicle in summer tyres.

really ?

Did you just make this up or has it some foundation of truth - if so where ?

 

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