August 26, 2011

Power outage throughout town last Thursday

Driving back from Olympia last Thursday I thought it odd to see someone standing by the side of the road looking first one way, then the other, with a puzzled look on his face (didn't look the "puzzled" type to me). As I go thru the first traffic light I thought Strange... I couldn't really tell that the light was green. By the next traffic light I realized that that light wasn't green nor was the one I was going through at the moment. The traffic lights seemed to be off.

I started checking out the businesses - all dark. The next traffic light was being handled as a 4-way stop by the polite folks up here in the NW (you go, no you go, no you go :o) The parking lots of the grocery store - empty. Traffic lights, not working. Gas stations devoid of cars because the pumps no longer worked.

I pulled into the WalMart parking lot, eerily empty, with less than a dozen cars when it should have been full. There were 4 ladies (employees) out front of one of the sets of doors. I rolled my window down and asked What's up? None of the town has power. They said the power went out about 2 1/2 hours earlier. One said she thought she heard that the power plant caught on fire. No one had any idea of when it might be back on. I commented that a fire at the power plant sounded much better than aliens or getting hit with a CME (coronal mass ejection). All I could do was head home.

It's at a moment like this, when you have barely a quarter of a tank of gas (I was going to fill the tank as soon as I got back to town), WalMart and Safeway are dark and closed (had a list of things to get from both places), when nothing is open, that you think to yourself:

Why didn't I get gas before going to Olympia?  Do I have enough food for the cats?  For how long?  What about food for me?  Is the power on at home?  Why did I wait until I only had a quarter tank of gas??  What was I thinking?  What if the power stays off for days?  What'll happen to the food in the fridge?  All that food in the freezer?  What if the water is off as well?  Did I fill any jugs of water for emergencies?  How many candles do I have?  Do I have ANY batteries left at all for the flashlights?  Heck, can I even FIND the dang flashlight?  What if this is IT????  The Big Kahuna Mother of All CME's (Coronal Mass Ejection) from the sun frying the entire grid for YEARS????  I don't have enough food, enough water, (thank GOD I don't still smoke!), definitely not enough wine, not enough toilet paper, do I even have one 5 gallon can of gas for the generator?  Please PLEASE don't let this be the Big Kahuna Mother of All CME's destroying the electric grid for YEARS!!!!

Now, since I am probably more prepared than some because I live off the grid, I didn't go through every one of those questions - I know I'll still have power so I can check the TV and the internet to see how big this thing is (as long as it wasn't caused by the Big Kahuna Mother of All CME's, and I figured that it wasn't because my car still worked).  And I'll still have water because of things like a 1500 gallon tank of water that was part of the water system, and a handpump on the well.  And I have a propane range and fridge so I'll still be able to cook, and the food will be fine.

But still.... It was definitely a wake up call to assess what emergency supplies I have and what I needed to get or restock up on. Once I got home and checked the news and internet, I found it was only our little city that lost power. I called a friend who lived outside of town and while she didn't lose power at home, she was really freaked-out from driving through town and seeing everything dark and empty and quiet. She too thought What if this is IT? What if power never comes back on? She doesn't have a hand pump on her well, or stored water. She has an electric range and no portable stove. She doesn't have a water filter. Or gas, or a wood stove for heat in the winter. She caught a glimpse of just how prepared she was (or wasn't).

Everyone can take steps to be more prepared right where they are, a little at a time. Water, food, light, warmth. Just start with something, now. To get a better idea of what you might need read this article What You Need, found here www.optimumpreparedness.com/what_you_need.html

No comments:

Post a Comment