We had a rain storm a few days ago which caused some flooding and a number of accidents on the roadways. I delayed driving in to work, as I heard on the traffic report that a major freeway was shut down, and even the alternate routes were congested. I was waiting until the storm abated before venturing out.
In the meantime, I thought I could get some work done by checking my work email remotely. Just as I logged on, I heard a huge explosion that shook our entire building. Whoa! Then the electricity went down. It was a stormy day so our home was pretty dark. The “BOOM” came from behind our building so I peeked outside. The wires connecting the transformer to some power lines had disconnected and were sticking out. Luckily none of the power lines came down but the transformer had blown.
How our emergency plans came in handy:
- I checked my cell phone and was glad I had charged it to full.
- Next, I dug up my Emergency Contact List and found the power company’s phone number. I called the power company and reported the damaged transformer and they treated it as an emergency. I was the first in the area to call up, so they took down my information and told me the repairs were expected to be completed in about five hours. Having that Emergency Contact List saved me some time and avoided me having to search.
- The radio had backup battery power so it stayed on.
- I was able to make fresh coffee by warming up water with the propane stove and using the French press
- It was dark so I used some of the tap lights that run on AA batteries to light up the place.
- The heater was not working but we had re-insulated the windows a couple of weeks ago which kept the cold out.
What didn’t work so well:
- I tried to lift the garage door manually to see if I can take the car out but it was stuck.
- Not having electricity can get boring.
Plans to improve:
I need a back up way to open the garage door so this is now on the “To Do” list to call building maintenance about getting the manual lever unstuck.
One flaw in the power outage plan was lack of entertainment activities. We have board games for when the family is together, but today I was all by myself. I did have a book to read but I finished it quickly. I was thinking about buying some used books, then I thought about Rourke’s article “My Thoughts on the Kindle Fire” You can store multiple books AND your survival PDF files all in one place, and it can be charged with a solar charger. Being somewhat of a minimalist, I thought I would not really want one, but sitting around for five hours waiting for the repair crew has changed my mind. I may have to add the Kindle Fire to my Amazon wish list.
I also plan to add more of the following to our emergency stash:
- Bic lighters (can never have too many ways to start a fire)
- Batteries in various sizes, especially rechargeable ones
- Will investigate those quiet generators to see if it was possible to keep one in the apartment
The power company crew did eventually arrive and make the repairs, but this experience has taught me these preps are never a waste of time or money, since you never know when they will come in handy. This mini jolt also showed me there is always room for improvement.