Power Goes Out: Are You Prepared?

June 5, 2008 at 3:35 am 4 comments

Around 3:15 pm this afternoon, the lights flickered a little and then went out completely. The wind picked up, dark clouds rolled in and little hailstones came down followed by heavy rains. The severe thunderstorms had arrived!

The first thing I did was look for the little round silver radio that I picked up at a flea market in Krakow, Poland several years ago. It’s a funny little radio because it only has three buttons: Volume, Scan & Reset. There is no dial, so you just have to scan and hope you find the station you are looking for. It runs on battery and it still works.

Once I set the radio to WAMU the local NPR station, I went to the porch to sit and watch the rains come down. My neighbors were also sitting on their porch watching the rain. I asked if they had called PEPCO the electric company and they said that most likely they knew that the power was out.

It’s possible, but I wanted to make sure, so I looked for the yellow pages which I hardly ever use and found the number for reporting an outage. I called the number, entered my phone number and the automated system located my address. I was asked to confirm the outage and confirm the number that I wanted to be contacted when the power was back. I gave my cell phone number since the electric cordless home phone didn’t work. Luckily I have a regular phone with a cord in case my cell phone died and the cordless phone didn’t work. Do you remember them? You were forced to sit in one place to talk on the phone!

Next I looked around the house for flashlights, candles and a lighter. I found the wind up flashlight, several aromatic candles and a little monkey lighter I got while I was in Frankfurt. I was ready when the house got dark.

I had picked some greens and onions in the garden earlier in the day, so I was ready to cook them up. Luckily I have a gas stove, so I lighted an incense stick and used that to turn on the stove since the igniter is electric. I got it going and cooked up the greens with a little bit of sesame oil and soy sauce. A simple, delicious recipe.

I was also able to take a warm shower since the water heater is gas, not electric. I am so glad I have so many gas appliances. I wonder why they don’t make more gas appliances since they are more reliable in extreme weather.

Back on the porch, another neighbor was getting in his car and he said, “If only I could take the car in the house, we would have music.” In addition to the little silver radio, I have a wind up radio I got from a sale at National Geographic many years ago. I hardly ever used that radio, but it sure came in handy today. I wonder if there other things that use wind up energy that I should have besides a radio and flashlight. Just doing a little searching online, I came across Freeplay Products store that have several products that work on wind up technology.

As the evening continued the rain picked up and the lightning and thunder got worse. After some time the rain slowed down. As I listened to jazz music on WPFW and looked out over the porch, suddenly all the lights on the street came on. Wow, it felt like a little miracle!

I enjoyed watching the rains and listening to the wind up radio, but I was glad to have electricity back. I started to wonder what it’s like for people who live in places where the electricity goes out regularly. Life comes to a halt in many ways! Many things we take for granted are no longer possible when we lose electricity. We are so dependent on it! It’s definitely good to be prepared when it does happen!

So are you ready if the power goes out?
– Do you have a non-electric corded phone?
– Is your cell phone charged?
– Do you have candles and a lighter or matchsticks?
– Do you know the number for reporting an outage to your electric company?
– Do you have working flashlights?
– Do you have a working radio either one that runs on battery or wind up?
– Are your appliances gas or electric?
– What are some other ways to prepare for an electricity outage?


Entry filed under: Energy. Tags: , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Genie  |  June 5, 2008 at 4:56 am

    Definitely a good list to take a look at and consider — I got much better at emergency preparedness after Hurricane Isabel came through DC — I was without power for a week, and that taught me a thing or two about it!

  • 2. Kris  |  June 5, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    As you mentioned, most gas appliances now have electric pilot-lite. Not such a big deal with a stove, but with larger appliances the pilot is not always accessible manually.

  • 3. Caryn  |  June 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    My mom got us some of those battery-operated lights that you can put up in a closet, e.g. – brighter light and better spread than a flashlight, so you can actually read by it.

  • 4. Kathleen  |  June 9, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Another good item to keep handy is the glow lights. I found several of them in my utility drawer. Snapped it to turn it on and hung it around my neck. It was very convenient and I used it to illuminate a book I was reading once the house got completely dark. I found it to be a lot more convenient on several occasions when my power was out..


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