Saturday, July 19, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #12 Fuel Storage

Before I even get started, I would like to remind everyone that in this series we are covering what is needed to be prepared for the short term emergency. All of the suggestions I make in this series are the foundation to common sense preparedness no matter what you are preparing for. Doing the things we cover in this series will help you. I hope you enjoy these posts, learn a ton, and become better prepared.

Remember back in #7 Basic Energy we covered how to use your car and an inverter to power the necessities? Well this will only work as long as your car has fuel. Say you are like we are and you have 3 cars. You could just run one out of gas then go to another. What would happen if you got low on the 3rd car and no where close was able to sell fuel? Not a good situation. I will be the first to admit if I am running behind I will skip a gas station and keep on going to save time. There are countless times my van is below a 1/4 sometimes even in the danger zone. Not a good practice I know, but it is the truth.

Okay, so what if something has happened, you have been able to get home. The power is out but its no big deal, you have everything ready. Whatever has happened is something that you know will be back to normal but may take a bit. You have lights and are able to keep the fridge cool with the inverter we talked about in #7 and your car idling. Your car just idling doesn't use gasoline as quickly as if you are traveling. Your fuel can last longer than you think. At the same time as long as the power is out there is no where you can refuel unless there is a station close that has a backup generator. None of the gas stations around here do, so what we have is all we will get til power is restored.

There is also the possibility of having to evacuate even after a couple of days of sheltering in place. Floods regularly do this. It can be days after a storm has passed before a river or stream reaches maximum and begins to recede. I have seen news stories where people thought they were in the clear and still had to evacuate. This is not the only situation where you might have to evacuate even though you have been able to shelter in place for a couple of days. A natural gas line leak, a break in a water main, or even a chemical leak from a local plant or semi truck. It doesn't really matter the reason, you and your family have to go somewhere else. Are you going to have enough fuel to get where you need to go?

Enter fuel storage. By now you know the way I think. I am not going to tell you to buy a 100 gallon container and bury it, oh no. What kind of fuel you need to store will be dependent on what type of vehicles you have. If you have a diesel, you do not need to store gasoline and the same applies the other way. 

My suggestion is to store 5 gallons of fuel for each vehicle. Alright, I know some of you are saying "Really that is all?" and some of you are thinking "Really that much?" Yup. That just means that I am right in the middle. All I am saying is have a filled 5 gallon can for each vehicle. 

Now, if you will use each can of gasoline once a month and refill it the only cost you will have will be the cans. When I say use that can of gas I mean put the gas in your car's tank, put the can in your car and fill the can back up the same day. If you do this once a month you will not even need to worry about fuel stabilizer. If you would prefer to get it and forget it then you will need to use a fuel stabilizer. (I am not telling you to travel around with a can of fuel in your car. Your fuel storage should be at home. There is a rack that can be attached to most vehicles, on which you could carry a gas can. It is safe, but ugly.) The first link I included is a better product, but the second will work just fine and is more readily available. You will still need to treat the cans once a year. PRI-G does not expire STA-BIL does expire if exposed to light or after opening.

5 gallons of fuel will be enough to get you to a place of safety in most situations. If you are in an area that is likely to see hurricanes consider upping your storage to at least 10 gallons per vehicle just due to the size of the potential impact. If you will remember hurricane Katrina or Sandy people were running out of fuel trying to flee the storm. Remember 5 gallons of fuel per vehicle is your minimum goal. The wider the area of impact of whatever you are preparing for, the more fuel you will want to store.

After you have purchased the fuel cans and filled them the first time this practice will cost you zero extra dollars. Like I said you will be using the fuel once a month and then refueling the can. This means that you will be buying the same amount of fuel each month.

We are covering all of these topics so no matter what happens you will be able to live your
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