"4. Refrigeration/Power: I've developed a "minimum energy consumption usage profile" for times that power might not be readily available. This involved
determining the power consumption of common articles and what power we could produce on-site under worse case situations. The minimal power scenario (>0.5 kW/day) includes running several low power DC fluorescent lights, running AM, CB, and ham radios, scanners, nicad battery chargers, a water pump, a small TV for several hours, my coffee grinder, and a fan. Power produced is stored in deep-cycle batteries (two golf-cart batteries in series is a good start) and used directly as 12 volts or inverted to 117 VAC. Our batteries (2x Trojan L-16's, 12 V @ 350 Ah) are sized for 4 days of energy storage without battery state of charge dropping below 50%. Power for the batteries can come from several sources: utility, generator, jumper cables to a vehicle, solar, or wind. The average refrigerator uses too much power, so we store foods that don't require refrigeration ...and we'll eat what's in the fridge pronto! Information on power consumption analysis is available in the file LOADCALC.PDF in the downloads section at www.homepower.com.
5. Toilets: Where water is deemed in short supply or too valuable to use flushing toilets or the municipal sewage treatment plant is not usable, "sawdust toilets" provide a good alternative. Using a sawdust toilet involves relieving oneself in a plastic bucket with an attached toilet seat. The bucket has a layer of sawdust, peat moss, or other organic matter on the bottom and after use the new "deposit" is covered with the same material and bucket lid reinstalled (we put several slits in the lid edge to ease removal/replacement). When full, the bucket can be sealed/stored, dumped into a pit and buried, or covered with more organic material. The layer of covering material eliminates insects, odors, and soaks up any excess liquid. This is a hygienic approach originally designed for composting toilets, but works well in an emergency (better than having to dig up and empty dozens of plastic bags later). This approach is presented and analyzed in "The Humanure Handbook", ISBN: 096442584X, $15 at Amazon.com
These steps address filing a family's most basic needs. It not likely to replicate a family's normal consumption patterns for energy/food/fuels but will maintain a reasonable comfort level for them for quite some time and keep them healthy. We also store addition quantities of foods, first aid, and sanitation supplies to aid in neighborhood/community response efforts if needed. Think and plan out your approach to these issues now and practice using your preparations so that if they're needed you and your family will be "acclimated" to them. This will help you identify problems in your approaches and forgotten items as well as making sure everyone knows how to use them if/when the time comes. Regards, Don"