Recently we experienced a power outage. It was only for a few hours – not even significant in the scheme of things – but I did draw a few lessons from it.
– The sun was not up, so we were in the dark. Fortunately I have flashlights by the beds and most commonly used chairs, and in several utility drawers. Also a plugged-in emergency flashlight that’s SUPPOSED to start blinking when the power goes out. But the flash function apparently burned out sometime, although the flashlight itself still works fine. However, the most useful light was my camping headlamp, small, battery operated, and on a strap I could wear like a headband. The headlamp shone the light where I was looking while leaving my hands free.
– Battery or wind up radios are the way to go. A push of a button and you learn the rest of the world hasn’t gone dark, too. Which is reassuring.
– Plug in wall clocks are NOT the way to go. I kept looking at the kitchen clock and being informed that gee, no time whatsoever had passed since the power went out. Battery and wind up clocks are much more useful.
– Trying to walk about in a dark house with cats is an invitation to disaster. The little walnut brained wonders can see perfectly in gloom too dark for human eyes, so they see (literally) no reason they should not cut in front of you or dash between your feet as they do when the lights are on. Even with a headlight you can’t see them making their move until you and they run into each other and you’re all flailing around screaming in terror as you’re at risk of a fall. Hopefully onto them, so they can cushion the blow.
– It’s fall, the outside temperature is low (although not freezing yet) and I was startled at how fast things began to cool off inside the house once heat producers like the refrigerator, freezer, water heater, and computer went off. It wasn’t dramatic but it was noticeable. Especially since a few windows were open to let fresh air in. If the power goes out, shutting windows immediately is now on my To Do in an Emergency list.
– It is good to have an alternative heat source / cooking method. Fortunately I had finished cooking breakfast (and feeding the cats), nobody else needed anything, and it wasn’t cold, so it wasn’t a big deal. But a prolonged outage would have required something more. A camp stove, a wood stove, a kerosene heater, these can be necessary.
– Cats become heat seeking missiles when it cools down. And if they can’t crawl into bed with someone, they’ll wait until you sit down and then leap on your lap and try to snuggle. Which is NICE, but kind of slows you down.
– You can get a lot done when you’re not being distracted by things like TV, the Internet… or work.
– Cellphones and landlines still work when the power goes out, as long as the landline doesn’t have a base that has to be plugged in. The power company’s automated system for reporting power outages over the phone and learning what’s going on is as annoying as heck.
– When the power comes back on, it does so suddenly and scares the out of you. Then you have to go around shutting off all the lights and resetting all the appliances that have clocks in them but no battery backup.
A short term power outage is a minor irritation, but one you can learn from so something worse isn’t as bad as it could be.