Yesterday we had a 12-hour power outage on my block due to windy rain storms on Saturday night. A transformer blew up and the power company (PG&E) literally climbed up the power pole across the street and snipped the lines. The life got sucked out of all the home appliances. It was like a strange sci-fi movie. Everything went eerily quiet.
We are used to this occurrence. Losing electrical power happens on an annual basis for our neighborhood. It’s inconvenient but we have a routine for temporarily living off the power grid without suffering much.
Here are some tips, which I hope you’ll add to:
- Keep a cheapie, old-fashioned telephone on hand – the kind with a handset and cord. They’re about $10 and you can still call someone if there’s no electricity. Fancy phones are useless in a power shortage.
- Charge up mobile phones and portable devices if you know a bad storm is coming. I was using my iPhone to answer emails and tweet.
- About 30 minutes after the power goes out, call the power company’s status hot line to find out how long you’re expected to go without. If the recording is “be prepared for an extended period without power” go into emergency survival mode.
- Take a hot shower (rejoice in the availability of water!) and don multiple layers of clothing. My husband wore 2 pairs of socks yesterday! I sported fleece-lined pants, 2 shirts, a jacket and wool socks.
- Get the fireplace going, if you have one. The furnace won’t work.
- Before sundown, get the candles and flashlights out. It will be getting very dark and super quiet soon.
Food, drink, cooking
- Stash an emergency supply of ground coffee in the freezer allows you to make a cup of coffee and maintain a semblance of normalcy.
- Run to the store and lay in a supply of fun food. Eat things that are personal splurges, such as potato chips, cookies, etc. Go off your diet for a spell.
- Use a match or lighter (keep multiple wand lighters on hand) to operate gas stoves. Old school stoves will light but modern ones need help. If you have electric or induction, you’re unfortunately out of luck; spend the day or night at a friend’s house.
- Think of the stove, if you can get it going, as a tiny fireplace/furnace. Cook a pot of food to benefit from (1) the physical exercise of cooking, (2) the heat that radiates from the pot, and (3) having something to eat.
- Cook food that makes you think of sunny, bright times. Last night, we made fish tacos and ate a Chinese hot pot.
- Drink wine or better yet, liquor. Red wine and tequila were our choices yesterday. I also made some relaxing chamomile tea.
Be grateful that the power was off for just a short time. Life is back to normal. (Going without water is a horse of a different color.)