Monday, July 07, 2008

It was light. Then it was dark

The power went out suddenly here at 10:00 Saturday night. I'm sitting at the table, typing on the laptop, half watching and listening to My Cousin Vinny, five minutes away from the end of the movie mind you, and in a split second everything went dark. No crash, no boom, no storm, not even a flicker. Just black. Huh. Very disconcerting to have light and then the lights go out for no apparent reason.

I have an emergency protocol set for various situations: electricity outage, first aid, and tornado, so far. I have an emergency light and it has fresh batteries in it, and the light got me to where the matches are always stored, which got me to the candles that are always ready. In about thirty seconds I could see and move around the apartment without crashing into anything. Next step is to grab the weather and emergency radio which also has fresh batteries in it and I had already taught myself how to use the functions and had it pre-set to appropriate stations. No sense fumbling around with buttons in the dark trying to turn it on or get to the relevant stations. There was no emergency broadcast nor a tornado warning so I turned it off and decided to go to bed. Left: need more batteries.

I went around turning off all the lights that I had on before the outage so when the electricity came back on it wouldn’t cause a surge. I turned off the AC and raised the windows. There was enough water left in the pipes to brush my teeth.

The outage (reason still unknown) offered me an opportunity to practice my emergency protocols. How did I do? I see I need to buy more batteries. The flashlight was bright and helped a LOT but would chew up batteries pretty fast if I needed to use it for longer periods. I think I will also buy a mega-lantern, as well. And I need to learn how to store water properly. If the outage had lasted until morning then I would have no way to wash up or brush my teeth.

I was pleased to see that the three tea lights in a glass candelabra threw enough light to get around the apartment and do most things except read. They lasted a while, too. This is good. I have a huge store of those already. Left, tea lights illuminated more area than I thought.

I believe it is important that a person should have a set of emergency plans in place. Knowing what to do if you get cut, having a second egress in case of fire, etc means you will be well-prepared in case of emergency. Does your family have a plan?


Anonymous said...

At some point I want to get one of those radios that runs on crank power so it doesnt need batteries. Keeping batteries is a pain. Invariably they are no good when you find them in the dark.

maggiegracecreates said...

my family has a plan and we also have a set of those flashlights that are the wind up kind. I got mine at restoration hardware. We have an auto-alarm weather radio and then portables to keep up with if we should lose power.

Another plan that we have that many people do not is a call forward plan - in the event that we can't reach each other in some way - all of us are instructed to call my mom and let her know - some friends of ours were on sanfrancisco during the earthquake that collapsed the freeway and while they could not reach each other - they were able to call home (here) and get a message that they were safe.

have a wonderful day