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WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #1
WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
[parts of this thread were copied from our old forum]


Here's the scenario:

It's now December 19th at about 11:00 p.m.... a typical winter evening. It's supposed to get down to around 25 degrees tonight, but no snow at least... which means no shoveling in the morning. That's a good thing.

You are proud of yourself - you've been using CPAP as a member of the secret society of "hoseheads"... you've tinkered with your own machine.... you may have even fiddled with changing your pressure... and you may have gone so far as to use CPAP data-analyzing software to help you tweak your settings.

Ah, very nice. Now that you've joined this exclusive group of educated, intelligent and daring souls, you feel as though you have mastered this CPAP monstrosity - and you're reduced your apnea events to a great degree by your own efforts. Excellent... you congratulate yourself on being so "self-sufficient" - able to handle just about any problem that comes your way... and you settle in for a nice, relaxing and restful night's sleep with your CPAP on in your warm bed with your electric blanket

You gently fall asleep and enter bliss...


...and then...

...out of the blue...

...at 3:05 a.m. in the morning...

THE ELECTRICAL POWER GOES OUT. Oh-jeez


Dodgy

Hmm... okay, now what? Blink

Okay, I guess since it happened at 3:05 a.m., you can do without your CPAP machine until it's time to wake up around 6:00... so, you sheepishly take the now-quiet octopus-style mask off your head and try, quite unsuccessfully, to get some degree of sleep without your CPAP giving you that life-sustaining air pressure. You keep waking up every 5 minutes after a bunch of "snortles", snores & gasps... and you realize that it's a lost cause - you can't get any real sleep until the power comes back on and your air-pushing friend whizzes back to life.

Your alarm clock goes off at 6:00 (it had a battery backup) and you realize that you didn't get any sleep since 3:05, and the power is still out. The temperature in the house has slid from 70 degrees down to about 62 and you feel a cold chill as you remove the covers.

You get up, go outside, look around, the sun is not yet out, and you realize that all the city lights are OFF. The sky is clear, and you can see a lot more stars than normal. Ah, so this is what living in the country is like! Very pretty. Maybe this won't be so bad.

You begin your morning routine in the dark, using a D-cell flashlight as you shower, shave and comb your hair, hoping that the folks in the office don't notice the 3 nicks you now have on your face because you had to use a razor blade instead of your usual electric shaver. At least you had hot water for your shower - that felt good. As you leave, you pass by the thermostat and notice that the house temperature had now dropped to 60. "At least I can get warm in the office" you think to yourself.

You get into the car and begin driving to work, 5 miles away. Upon arrival, there's no power at your office either, and your fellow employees are standing around in the office, huddled around a single penlight that the receptionist pulled out of her purse to provide some degree of illumination in the interior office. The boss comes in and you all wait around hoping that the power will return any minute now. 9:30 a.m., no power yet and the temperature in the office is at 60 degrees. Everyone wishes they had a hot cup of coffee. 10:30, no power yet, and everyone zips up their winter coats tightly.

Your co-worker goes out to his car and listens to his car radio - the local radio stations are off the air, but he gets a faint signal from a city two states away. Two people are discussing the "cascading grid failure" that took down all electrical power east of the Mississippi river and some areas in the west. Explosions were reported, but no one knew for certain whether it was a terrorist attack or simply some transformers or substations exploding as a result of the cascading grid failure. The coworker comes back into the office and reports what he heard. The boss makes a command decision and tells everyone to go home but stay near the phone so he can call everyone - just in case the power comes back on in the office today. He thought surely this would get sorted out in a few hours - everyone should just meet back at the office at 8:00 tomorrow, because the power would surely be back on by then.

You drive back home... and make a soothing cup of coffee using the tea kettle and gas stove, slowing pouring the boiling water over the coffee grounds basket that you removed from your good old Black & Decker coffee maker. Hey, at least you can have a hot cup of coffee, this won't be so bad, right? Smile The temp has dropped to 58 degrees in the living room.

The day wears on with no power. No power by 9:00 pm either, and your house temp is now 55. You start to think about your CPAP. "Oh, no... I need that machine to get a good night's sleep" you think to yourself, "Why oh why didn't I get that 12-volt connector and a deep cycle battery!"

You go to bed around midnight... wrapping yourself in two blankets, and cover those with the sleeping bag you used for your camping trip this summer.... the night wears on... no power... you look at your bedroom clock and it's starting to go dim, since it's been on battery backup since 3:05 am yesterday, and it's now reading 4:34 a.m. and you've not gotten a wink of sleep because you keep chortling as your Sleep Apnea dutifully wakes you up every 5-10 minutes.

Argh! Annoyed-and-disappointed

In the morning, the temperature in the living room has gone down to 51 degrees - your outside thermometer reads 22. You pull out your handheld radio to figure out what's going on, but you realize that it takes 4 AA batteries and all you have is 3 AAA batteries. You kick yourself again for your poor planning.

A neighbor knocks on your door. You answer it and realize that he looks pretty disheveled, but bundled in a heavy duty parka - He asks if everyone is okay in the house, and asks if you need to come over to his house - he has a wood fireplace and a supply of firewood, and it's keeping his living room at a nice comfy 72 degrees.

You decide that it's a good idea and thank him for his offer. He reports to you that he's been listening to his radio and officials are saying that it may be days or weeks before they can bring the entire electrical grid back up again. "This is not good at all", your neighbor comments, "I don't know what we're going to do, we only have enough firewood for two or maybe three nights..."

You ask him if he has any source of electrical power like a generator. He says he doesn't. You are dead tired and kick yourself yet once again for not providing some alternative power for your life-giving CPAP machine. How are you going to get a good night's sleep if the power stays off for a week?

This is going to get real old, real fast.

- end of scenario -




The Question for YOU is:
Do you have an alternative to power your CPAP machine should the electricity go off for a day? How about if it goes down for a week? Or Two weeks? What if there's a series of terrorist attacks upon our electrical grid and officials say it will take months to repair all the damage? WHAT THEN?

I open this up for discussion... what are your thoughts? Have you provided for some degree of alternative electrical energy for your CPAP machine? If so, what have you done specifically? If you can power your machine for a day or so without grid power, what could you do to make yourself less at-risk for a more sustained power outage for say - a week or two, or even a month or two, something that would make the Northeast Blackout of 2003 look like a Sunday picnic?

What are your thoughts?

SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

02-29-2012 08:10 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #2
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
Bumping this thread for Apnea Board member Alsacienne, who asked about alternative power for CPAP.


Are YOU prepared? Thinking-about


Oh, I know what you're thinking... it can't happen here... it won't happen to you.


Uh huh... Annoyed-and-disappointed

SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

02-29-2012 08:11 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #3
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
Alsacienne Wrote:Thanks very much for bumping this. It is a problem that I've had to face several times recently over here. I have a small battery ... yes I know that I was looking for battery advice but having changed machines and pressure setting, it doesn't work very well ... and I keep it by the bed.

But I'll add another proviso for us CPAP users .... don't forget to recharge your battery when the power comes back!!! It's all to easy to think that you've got power left as you only used the battery for a short time (and the battery I have only has 4 hours max supply) and when you come to use it again ................. no juice ........ and another impossible night!
02-29-2012 08:11 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #4
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
Steven Wrote:
Alsacienne,(time=1298117317) Wrote:But I'll add another proviso for us CPAP users .... don't forget to recharge your battery when the power comes back!!!
You might also want to keep it attached to a "trickle" charger 24 / 7 when it is not in use.
That way it will always be at full capacity when you need it.

A Super Duper trickle charge costs $10, most are even less.

The trickle charger will not be using electricity once the battery is fully charged, but will periodically very temporarily "top" off the charge as it discharges a tad while just sitting there.
02-29-2012 08:11 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #5
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
PaulaO Wrote:I have two wheelchair batteries (glass mat, gel cell, deep cycle), a trickle charger, an inverter, a clip with "cigarette lighter" socket. (some day I'll take pics of the setup and share)

In Dec 09, we had a deep, heavy snow and our power was out for 5 days. By day 4, I was miserable. I was on the edge and a big grump. We were going to pack me up and spend the bucks at a hotel just so I could sleep. The power came on and the roads were relatively safe so we went out and got what we needed.

I had the batteries and the inverter but no way to attach it to the batteries and the batteries were dead. AND my truck was nearly out of gas so I couldn't even sleep there!

When they call for snow, I hook the batteries to the charger, find the pieces, and set it all up. If the power goes out, I would have to sleep in the recliner but I would at least sleep. We discovered just how important that is especially during an already stressful situation.

We also fuel up the truck, get dog food, and shower. Five days without a shower is gross. We were out for 7 way back in '93 during that big blizzard but I wasn't on a machine then. It got to below freezing inside the house.

We also discovered that the more you prepare, the less chance you have to use it. Neglect to get it together, and you realize what all you forgot to do. That storm a year ago was my fault because I forgot to shower and draw up water for the toilet.
02-29-2012 08:12 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #6
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
Steven Wrote:
jeffy1958,(time=1298175364) Wrote:Ummmmmmm...

Generator!!! Yes I have one. Can have it up and running the essentioal in this house in about 20 minutes. I know not everyone can afford one. Not everyone is an electrician as I am.
Do you have a whole house generator or only a stand alone one?

I have only the stand alone type and it would take one heck of a long extension to get to my CPAP machine (which I own by the way).

I live in an area prone to Hurricanes but we have underground electric lines here. You would be amazed as to what has to happen to the entire grid for me to lose electricity. On the other hand, a squirrel can get fried on the power line & blow out the transformer for the entire area.

I have never used my generator for my CPAP because the most I have been without electricity because of a hurricane has been 1 day & night & part of the next day. I attribute that to the underground wiring.

Before the current Hurricane season starts up, I may look at some kind of battery backup.

I do have my CPAP always plugged into a computer UPS that is strong enough to keep it running for most of the night (if I lost electricity during the night). I have lost electricity during the night & was never aware of it because of that UPS. I only knew we had lost electricity because of a clock that does not have a battery in it. I do not put a battery in that clock exactly for that reason.
02-29-2012 08:13 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #7
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
jeffy1958,(time=1298175364) Wrote:Ummmmmmm...

Generator!!! Yes I have one. Can have it up and running the essentioal in this house in about 20 minutes. I know not everyone can afford one. Not everyone is an electrician as I am.
Jeff,

What's your professional opinion on this? I have a small generator too, but I've heard that we're not supposed to attach any sensitive electronics to a gasoline generator, since it has voltages spikes that can damage equipment (like CPAPs with circuit boards in them).

Is there any truth to that, or is there a way to safely do it if there is a risk?

SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

02-29-2012 08:13 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #8
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
jeffy1958 Wrote:I have a stand alone 20K Honda. I have it in the garage and have it hooked up through a surge protector. Essential equipment in this house includes, bu not limited to: TV, computer, fridge and freezer. I'v not had the oportunity to use it while on CPAP. But I'm not worried because of the surge protection. I have had the need to operate my computer for about 24 hours and no trouble.

It should be noted:

In this day and age I strongly recommend a WHOLE HOUSE surge protector. A very wise investment for a few hundred $$$. Worst part of the cost is the installation. (We electrician are trained in HIGHWAY robbery!!!). Think about the cost to replace all your electronics if you have a massive spike? I've seen it and dealt with it first hand, it can be devistating, and I'm not sure about insurance, renters or home owners. You may never need it, but if it happens...
02-29-2012 08:13 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #9
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
Hmm.. a whole house surge protector... didn't even know there was such a thing... off to investigate.

Thanks

SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

02-29-2012 08:14 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

Administrators

Posts: 9,973
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #10
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
Goofy Wrote:Yep I'm prepared. I work for the power company -- if power is off for that long Id be sleeping in the office until it comes back up anyhow -- and we have standby generation and all that good old fashioned backup stuff in case the dastardly power company can't keep the juice flowing (oh wait, we ARE the dastardly power company).

Seriously folks -- a small generator that would run your machine is less than the cost of your machine retail, and if you really want go venture forth and hunt around and you'll likely fine power paks (Sears used to sell some) that have sealed batteries and you leave plugged in till needed and that can also be recharged from the 12 volt charging system of your vehicle. (POWERPAK and Duracell are makers of a couple).

On to generators -- please PLEASE PLEASE make sure you know what you are doing whenever you try and hook one of these into your house for use. Its very easy to screw up and cause a backfeed situation that can easily cause injury and death to those fine folks who are working to get your power back on. If you are in doubt call your power company -- they'll help you do things safely.
02-29-2012 08:14 AM
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