Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy – the generator (and more photos of the neighborhood) – day 4

Before the hurricane, talk was of who had a generator to sell and who got one at the last minute. Turns out a generator is only partially helpful.

We watched some friends’ kids today as they went to get gas for a borrowed generator, and do some grocery shopping. Their experience was similar to others: a line of people  holding gas cans, extending down the block (we saw her picture), an hour wait and rationed gas. We had already filled up our car, as had others who siphoned gas to their generator, though it never occurred to me to siphon it (granted, we don’t have a generator).

siphoning gas from the car into the generator

Depending on the size of the generator and the amount of gas, the generator may not last that long. Our friends estimated that a gallon of gas would power their refrigerator, a space heater and their fish tank for maybe an hour. Since gas is not only rationed, but in short supply (they only have a few gas cans), they’ll have to hit the gas station again tomorrow (if the station has gas and is open – some are out, and some close early).

The other problem with many generators is safety. The fire department has been sending messages to make sure the generator is 15 feet OUTSIDE the house, and vented properly. And also to have functioning carbon monoxide alarms on every floor. Apparently a family in town is hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after fumes came into the house.

The house guests who stayed with us while evacuated actually have a generator hard-wired into their house. As soon as power goes out, the generator kicks on and is strong enough to run both their refrigerators plus heat and lights, from their natural gas line. But they were evacuated. So while they didn’t lose their food, the generator was mostly useless (they didn’t flood, so the sump pump didn’t matter). The sump pump is the main reason some have a generator, to prevent basement flooding.

On a different note, we have family in New Jersey. Mark was able to speak to his 90 year old grandma today. She lives in a senior complex near the shore, lost power. We thought the back-up generators there would provide enough power, but apparently they’re only operating the hall lights, the elevator and some emergency equipment. Residents are without power and helping out the staff (many of whom couldn’t come to work) with cooking. (Of course we offered to bring Grandma here – but she refused). His aunt/uncle and cousin’s family in Central Jersey are also without power. His first cousin on dad’s side is without power as well, in North Jersey.

So we took a walk this afternoon. None of these are our house.

this house had a tarp covering the roof where one tree hit (it was hit by two trees)

another view of the same house – where two trees hit

lots of branches in the street


if a stop sign falls in the forest, will anybody heed it?

a tree across the street from school fell over.

fallen trees are slowly getting cut up by tree services. One friend said the tree service charged them $500 for 20 foot tree. Their neighbor was charged $4,000 for a large tree.

this house was unlucky enough to have a tree fall on it, and another tree fall on two cars in the driveway.

the tree hit the two front cars

tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree

neighbor’s tree went through the fence…

…and landed on the garage roof

a decent sunset


  1. Thanks for the shout-out! Thank goodness our power came back today. But it is hard to complain knowing so many people have it far worse than we did, although being in the dark and cold for almost 4 days was no picnic.

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