Emergency Preparedness

The power is on at my house!

Normally, this wouldn’t actually demand any sort of joyous announcement. But the other night, we had this windstorm.*

And then the block went dark.

And then I discovered that even though I’d grown up in a relatively rugged and weather-ready household, as an adult, I was ill-prepared for any sort of actual situation. As it turns out, there were many, many things pertaining to emergency preparedness that as a child, I had come to take for granted.

For instance, having matches in the house.

I grew up with a wood stove, which meant that no matter what, we always had a 250-count box of Diamond strike-anywhere matches.

The current match situation is limited to half a book of bar matches with a picture of 29th President Warren G. Harding on the flap.

We have a lot of batteries. So that’s good. But I couldn’t find the flashlight.

Because, as I eventually discovered once the power came back on, it was on the floor in the basement, behind the hot water heater. Which would have been nice to know when I was ransacking drawers and cupboards and closets by the light of a numeral-zero birthday candle.

(I did find half a tin of raspberry hard candies that I didn’t know I had. So.)

Then, since the power was still not back on yesterday, D and I packed up our laptops, put on our coats, and spent the morning wandering the neighborhood in search of outlets, wifi, and central heating.

We roamed past the dark Safeway, past the vacant Einstein Brothers and the deserted Walgreens and the downed branches and unresponsive traffic signals. It looked kind of like an apocalypse, except that you could imperfectly navigate toward sections of the neighborhood that still had power by looking for intersections with working stoplights.

Then we found an open coffee shop and it was warm. Then I finally got some work done, but not quite enough to catch up and do a high school post. Then I went home and eventually the power came back on.

Lessons to take from all this:

  1. It would be good to have some Diamond matches.
  2. And five gallons of emergency drinking water. I mean, we still totally had running water. But if we hadn’t, it would have been nice to have some emergency-backup water.
  3. It would be good to own more than one flashlight. Also, these hypothetical flashlights should probably live in some convenient, predetermined spot that is not the farthest corner of the basement, behind the hot water heater.

*Also, that article is highly and inaccurately optimistic, because we most certainly did NOT have power yesterday afternoon.

5 thoughts on “Emergency Preparedness

  1. Wow. That looks like a really serious storm. Be careful on those roads. They look pretty messy.

    Coincidentally, there’s a large box of Diamond matches sitting on my kitchen counter right now. I’m not sure why. I don’t think they were there yesterday.

    Also, as another matter of strange coincidence, three people in the last week have suggested getting some kind of gas-powered generator. What do you think? Is it a sign?

    • The branches and trees are mostly (mostly!) all picked up now, although some of the ones that are standing do look pretty ragged :(

      And yes, I went straight out to the store—once they had lights—and bought myself a big box of Diamond matches!

  2. Pingback: Recycle It: Other Uses Of Tough #10 Emergency Food Cans

  3. Yay, your power is back on. I love that rush of relief when the humming of electricity begins after a long, long outage. Although I love the creepy zombie apocalypse feeling of a whole town without power, too.

    Our power outages are usually because I do stupid stuff, like write story ideas all over the bills that come, and then file them with my book notes. And then when my hubs tosses a disconnection notice at me, and says, “I thought you PAID THIS” … I sometimes fill it with more book notes and file that, too. *hangs head in shame* I make the worst grown up ever.

    This post has reminded me to stock up on flashlights and batteries and candles – I am not even close to prepared for an outage this year!

    • D was the one who pointed out how eerily quiet the house and the neighborhood were, with no humming, buzzing, whining, spinning …

      Also, that is *exactly* why automatic bill-pay is my new best friend. Like, I would sometimes even forget when I had it set up to email-reminder and then had to call in. I’d be like “Oh, I’ll do it when I get home.” And would I? Ever?

      I still need to get more flashlights, but man do I now own a lot of matches!

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