Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dealing with power outages more efficiently

Dealing with power outages more efficiently

The article is a decent one, talking about how to deal with crisis management for emergency personnel trying to restore power after a problem.


I am aghast that their huge example was a 90 minute power outage in Germany. I am shocked that they talk about how much money is lost during a power outage. There are many considerations, I agree, but ... frankly, that isn't one of the big ones for me, at least.

I think I shall put on my Queen of the Universe hat and direct things As They Should Be.

First, it's winter. If you live in a place where snow comes, be prepared for it. That means buying a snow shovel before the snow hits, having salt or sand or ashes on hand to melt ice in walking paths, and fuel for any equipment you might own and wish to operate.

Second, there are emergencies at all times of the year, and each season presents its own dangers and risks. Right now, coming into winter, we need to consider a number of things, but first and foremost is heat. If you live in a house, have a fireplace that can function if you have no other choice. Better yet, have a wood stove (can't afford to buy a nice new one? check craigslist for cheap or free alternatives!) that you can use to supplement your (very expensive) oil or electric heat, thereby reducing your costs. Don't heat with your stove, and don't bring a big generator inside your shelter, because it puts off carbon dioxide and that can kill you faster than the cold. Shelter (which includes heat) is vastly important - don't leave your home (or car, if you're stuck at the side of the road) during a snowstorm.

Third, think water. If you're snowed in, you have TONS of water all around you, and as long as you have a means to melt it (see 'heat' above) you will be fine. It's best to consider a gallon per person per day for drinking and washing, although you can get along with less if necessary, for a short while. We keep "cubes" of water in the back pantry. They're just water from the tap which we circulate when necessary (ie a few days before we know something's coming). They're the difference between scrounging and being comfortable, though.

Fourth, it's winter. Be prepared for getting snowed in (or iced in or rained in, depending on your location). If you wake up and find your car buried and your work for the day canceled, you should be able to sigh happily and snuggle back under warm blankets and know that there's enough food in your pantry to last you for a week or two. If you think that's out of line or too expensive, consider the people who are currently living on FEMA handouts in NYC and NJ. Food prep might not have helped those who lost their houses (bless them all), but for those who had "only" (and I apologize for the term) damage but not loss of home, and those who have perfectly fine houses but just have no power, that two week food supply can carry you through most natural emergencies. If nothing else, it can supplement what FEMA or local disaster people give you, meaning the difference between bare survival and hunkering down 'til the emergency is over.

Fifth, but by no means last, have light and entertainment available to you that is not dependent upon the power grid. Break out those dusty board games and a deck of cards. Teach your kids to play cribbage. Read books together in front of the fire. Pull out the workbooks from your kids' school and go over what they'd be doing if they were there. Have fun together, even if the going is tough. If your focus is on the positive, that's where you'll head. Likewise if you focus on the negative.