I believe that the only way you can know which way to go is to look as forward as you can.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Norhwest storm. What to do / have on power blackout.

How was it? It was a pretty strange experience.
It started with a call “Honey you’d better hurry up home because a storm is coming”.
I went outside… expecting some wind and heavy rain... but what I saw in the dark was water flowing all around in the outside parking. Cold water was everywhere, freezing my ankles while I was running to the car. And then the poor car… had to make it to through some ugly mini-rivers and puddles along the road while I wasn’t able to see too much in front.
Then, at home, the power started to swing until finally went off. We went to sleep pretty confident that tomorrow morning we’ll have some hot milk or tea for breakfast. Well, actually, instead of that it was cold as there was still no electricity. No problem, let’s go to work. At the residence gate there was a fallen tree blocking the way out. Again ‘no problems’ I thought, the tree was old and didn’t make it. Let me take the other exit. And then the shock: as far as I could see on the street, there were no semaphore lights on! I must say it look pretty sinister to me. All I could see was a huge queue of cars; every intersection was now a 4 way stop…
Then we heard the big news: no power for the 1 million people. So, no power all around us at least for the day! Ok, what do we do? Some supermarkets were opened because luckily they were on generators. Of course, no cheese, yoghurt or ham, etc… as there was no power for the refrigerators. Cans, chips and biscuits were filling the baskets. So…we got some too… and joined the long queues at the cashiers.
Back home, it was getting pretty cold in the apartment and dark. I was kind of confused by the lack of news on the radio. A lot of annoying ads… and nothing I was searching for: where was electricity available so we could head that way to find an opened gas station? Well when the power is down this means: no stove, no refrigerator (we had to throw away most of the food…), no light, no heat, no hot water…and also no gas station opened because they need also electric power. Sad but true… With no gas, there is no way to go anywhere to get candles, batteries or any stuff that you need.

So I guess all this story is somehow a lesson learned. Here is what I think is relevant to do / have in case of a power blackout that seems to take more then a few hors:

  1. Whatever you need, there might be a lot of other people needing it also. Don’t count on finding it in the few opened stores.
  2. You can hear useful things from the people around rather than from the radio. (like from where you might find a propane camp stove or an opened gas station)
  3. What is good to have in this situation: candles and matches, a flashlight, working batteries, a radio running on batteries, extra blankets in the house…Having a car charger for the cell phone and for the laptop is handy.
  4. Keep just some lamp turned on so you notice when the power comes. It is recommended to turn off the appliances. This will protect them when the power will turn on and eventually have some high peaks.
Well, that’s about it. After two days the power is back on and we’re so happy about it!
I made no pictures as I consider that for this kind of stuff you must be a journalist to have the angle.