Jump to content
MrsSurvival Discussion Forums

Millions without power.


Recommended Posts

Yes, I know it wasn't really a big deal, but here's my experience/observations. Sorry for the length. :)

From Orange county (south of Los Angeles) through Baja California and into parts of Arizona (I heard part of New Mexico too, but I can't verify it), people were without power on Thursday from about 3:40pm. Power was not restored to all areas until the next day, though some people got their power restored within a few hours. It is estimated that 4 million people were without power at once, for several hours, during a heatwave. Flights were grounded, most businesses were closed or "cash only" and there were reports of massive traffic jams and some looting.

 

When it started I had just left work, and was heading home on the freeway. I was listening to the news and the radio station went dead. I scanned for other radio stations, and about half of all the stations were silent. There were stations in LA and Mexico still on the air, and most of the remaining local stations were owned by the same major media company. When the radio station came back on, they mentioned the blackout in passing, and moved on to other coverage. As I got closer to the city, I noticed traffic was heavier than usual for that time of day. The only traffic light I passed on my commute home was not working.

When I got home I got a text from a friend 50 miles away, stating that his power was out. This clued me into the fact that this was widespread, and might not just be a rolling blackout. I started cooking dinner so I wouldn't have to open the fridge or cook in the dark or break into my ready to eat food storage. I positioned candles and lanterns and pulled flashlights out of their drawers, checked batteries, filled lanterns, and I moved my solar lights so they could capture just a little more light.

 

I then realized it was too hot inside without a fan, so I brought my pets outside and set them up in their secondary cages on the patio. I took a quick shower and then joined them with my phone and my emergency radio, taking a break to cool down and ice my sprained ankle with the half thawed ice pack from my lunch box. I wound up the radio and listened to the news. An official instructed the public to activate their family emergency plan. I phoned my mother to inform her of my status and remind her to be mindful of her medication, which requires refrigeration. I also briefed her on the information I heard on the radio; this was useful as she was the only one at her work who got any cell service, none of them knew what was going on. I considered checking on my prepper friend, but figured that was overkill. He follows my twitter, and I was pretty sure he wouldn't want for anything, if he did have a need he knows I would respond if he asked if it was at all possible. I tweeted news and tips from my phone.

 

I went back inside and put my evacuation kit and my bag and the pet bag by the door. The pet carriers that I had were already ready, and I moved them to the patio. I got clothes ready for the next day and changed into clean clothes that I could sleep in and/or evacuate in. I unplugged appliances and double checked the positions and charge of my fire extinguishers. As the sun went down the solar lights turned on and I brought them inside and set them on the floor. I lit the lantern and put on my headlamp. I listened to the news and press conferences and tweeted important information from my phone as I ate dinner. My plan was to charge my phone in my car for a bit if the power was not on by the time I was ready to sleep, so I would have an alarm in the morning.

I heard some of my neighbors outside and took the opportunity to check on the few I know and like, and to see if my home was giving off a comparatively inordinate amount of light. I made sure the single mother I am friendly with had candles and flashlights, and bonded with the man who rents the front house over our mutual love of headlamps. Before settling back in I checked the street I was parked on. To my dismay the people who live in a building near my car were drunk and setting a bonfire on the sidewalk. I went back out an hour or so later and the fire and drunk people were gone, I suspect the police told them to put it out and go inside. I suspect the police also may have told one of my neighbors to stop drumming. :) (It was after 10pm, on a weekday, in a city neighborhood with small children. Not cool drummer-dude, not cool.)

 

My plans for the next day after work already included making dinner for my mother at her house. I gathered a few more useful items with my kit and bags by the door, in case the power was still out in her area the next day, I could share supplies with them. (My parents got me into prepping as a kid.)

 

The power came back on for me approximately 7 hours after it went out. My fridge and freezer were still perfectly cold.

 

I had been extra concerned about some kind of "event" in my area this month. Attribute it to observation or intuition or listening to the news too much or something else, but something told me to make sure I was really ready for "something". I'm going to try to maintain an even higher level of preparedness at all times.

 

Things I did right:

I had stored gasoline, and while I did not need it, I commute for work and if the outage lasted for 3 days as they had predicted, I would not have been stuck for gas. Some people were stuck at gas stations on the way home, waiting for the power to be restored.

I had just updated my "72 hour" kit. (Though for me, it's closer to a 240 hour kit. I have a medical condition and allergies which require a special diet, my needs would not be accommodated if I were forced to evacuate.) I knew exactly where it was, what was in it, etc. (Many people had nothing to eat during the blackout.)

I had plenty of water stored, additionally I had filled pitchers with filtered water the night before. My area was unaffected but many people were without safe water, or running water at all.

I always keep safety candles and flashlights and lighters in every room, in a safe but accessible place.

I had realized that the heat wave might mean power interruptions, and I had filled the empty space in my freezer with water bottles and "colder than ice" packs a few days before.

I did not have to replace expensive meat, dairy or eggs. I use alternatives that are nutritious, and most of them are shelf stable and require no refrigeration. (I stopped by a supermarket the next day, they had to restock all their dairy, meat, and eggs. The customers were a bit grumpy about having to replace their own food. :( The store did not have many items back in stock.)

 

Things I did wrong:

I knew I needed more D batteries for my larger flashlights and battery powered lantern, and I had not bought them. It wasn't critical, but it did limit my lighting choices more than was necessary.

Most of my other sizes of batteries were in an emergency kit or a bag, but I had not thought to store some with the flashlights I keep in every room.

My rechargeable batteries are stored next to the charger, but so many were already in battery powered things, there were only 5 batteries left.

I keep putting off building two more carriers for my pets. What I have would work, but not as well as 2 more carriers. Not a problem this time, but it worried me.

The spare battery for my phone had not been charged in while, and was not fully charged.

I am ashamed to say I was low on clean work clothes and had a sink half full of dirty dishes. Neither was debilitating, but it worried me.

The citronella candle on the patio was too bright.

 

What I'm changing/improving/adding to preps:

I bought cheap D batteries and a pack of "converters" which are supposed to turn AA batteries into D batteries. (I'll be testing those soon).

I bought cheap AA and AAA batteries, to store with the flashlights.

I bought extra AA and AAA rechargeable batteries.

I'm moving "make pet carriers" to the top of the to do list. I already have the materials and tools, now I have a bit more inspiration.

I'm getting a phone that will work with a solar charger next month. Also, I'll get a solar charger, spare battery, and a car/wall charger combo for that phone.

I'm going to make a greater effort to keep the dirty clothes below half a basket, and finish the dishes each day, instead of letting some "soak" overnight.

I'm going to replace my emergency radio. I lightly tested it the other weekend, but the hand crank broke during the blackout. dry.gif

I'll be picking up solar twinkle lights for my patio, either after Halloween or Christmas (I love seasonal clearance sales for preps).

Clued my mother in to the Frio insulin coolers. She's going to order one soon. (I'll be getting her a backup for Christmas.)

 

Lessons learned:

If half the radio stations are dead air, do not delay, immediately activate emergency plan.

Move the pets out to the patio on all hot days when I will be away. The patio stays cool, and the pets sleep most of the day anyways. (This means a bit more work and expense in food, equipment and cleaning extra cages more frequently, but it's worth it to keep them safe if I am delayed and the power is out.)

Instead of ignoring the urge to get "extra" ready, ignore the impulse to attribute that urge to paranoia. (I could have been better prepared, and I knew it.)

Too many people my area are not even prepared enough to comfortably get through 24 hours of the grid being down.

Some of these people live close to me, and are derisive of people who are prepared.

 

All in all, I was more than prepared enough for this particular event, and being prepared proved worthwhile.

Link to post

Pretty impressive reading there. Seems you were well prepared.

Was your house standing out as well lit during the dark hours? One of the reasons I don´t invest in a generator is the noise. It could attract from very far away when normal background noise disappears (tv, radio, cars etc).

Other than that, your neighbour who shares a love for headlights, would it be someone you could band together with?

Well done all in all, quick thinking.

Link to post

Terrific post - I was hoping that someone in the San Diego area would let us know how things went for them.

 

Love those solar lights! They are very inexpensive and safer than candles. They also recharge AA batteries.

 

Speaking of recharging- we have a designated day each week for "Recharge Day." It is on my day off and I swap the spare batteries in my cell phone and charge them up. I also charge the Kindle, camera, etc. We keep a bucket of solar lights in the spare bedroom under a night light so they don't turn on. On recharge day they go back out in the yard for the afternoon. It's done first thing in the morning so I don't forget.

Link to post

For evacuation, you might consider getting the smallest possible carrier. I found out the hard way that not all of my carriers will fit into the car at the same time. I got most of them second-hand, and looked for ones big enough to hold pairs of cats, but while the first cat might be easy to put in, she's not easy to keep in when the second one is being inserted. Also, cats we considered compatible fought in a carrier, and now one of them has lost an eye. We are working on trading our larger carriers for one-cat-sized carriers.

Link to post

Great post! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. It sounds like you did a good job and had your stuff together. Gave me a lot to think about. I have some of the solar lights but I keep forgetting about them.

 

Leanna, having a battery charging day is another great idea that never crossed my mind. I don't use very many batteries so once a month would be enough for me.

Link to post

Christy- Thanks. Luckily my home its tucked away and not generally visible from the street. The only problem was the citronella candle, it made the patio stand out. As for the neighbor, I'm going to feel him out. I know he enjoys camping...

 

FunkyPioneer- Thank you! I will let her know!

 

Leanna1017- Recharge Day... What a great idea! Thanks. :)

 

Ambergris- Thanks for the idea. I keep cagemates in the same carriers, and put them in the carrier after I bathe them, so I know they are comfortable in the carrier together. Unfortunately I would have had to use the two smallest cages as carriers if I had to evacuate right now. The carriers I make provide better shelter and protection, and are easier to pack in the car. A couple more smaller carriers as a backup option are a good idea too.

 

Jeepers- Thanks!

Link to post

What a great accounting of your experience during the blackout!

 

Instead of the citronella candle, you might try something that heats scented oil but use citronella oil in it instead. It would take care of mosquitos but you could use a smaller candle like a tealight, so it wouldn't sho so much light to the neighbors.

 

My sister gave me something wonderful... a couple of pet cage fans. She used to have a rabbit that she spoiled ridiculously. Once it died, she gave me a raised cage that was the size of an infant's crib and a huge box full of supplies that she no longer needed. In the box were some cage fans that are battery powered. They have a blue ice insert (like you'd pack in a lunch box) so the fan really is almost like a mini air conditioner. You can even buy additional cooling cores. This isn't something that I would have ever thought to buy, but could be helpful for someone who lives in a hot climate.

 

Here is the type that I have:

 

http://www.petedge.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=45032

 

Edited to add a different link. This one is cheaper than the one in the first link that I put up.

Edited by themartianchick
Link to post

themartianchick- What a great idea! I had never heard of those fans.

 

CrabGrassAcres- Here's a picture of a similar carrier, mine are slightly different because my pets are different. http://petshub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53820 The carriers are great for small animals, commercially available small animal carriers tend to be insanely overpriced and unsuitable for long term use.

Link to post

The materials I use are just a latch top storage tote, hardware cloth, and zip ties.

The tools I use are a dremel, wire cutters, a marker, and scissors.

 

 

I use the dremel tool to cut a rectangle out of the lid (and the side, if desired).

Then I line up hardware cloth over the opening(s) cut it to size, and mark on the plastic where I want it to attach.

I use the dremel to punch holes through the plastic.

Then I use zip ties to secure the hardware cloth to the lid, and cut the excess off the tie.

 

There are plenty of other ways to do it, but the materials boil down to a plastic box with a lid, some type of cage material, and something to connect them.

:)

Link to post

I think that would work well for quail and maybe some of my tiniest bantams if they will behave, that is. LOL I have to come up with cages and carriers for our move.

 

With a really long tote bin, we might be able to insert partitions and use one tote to house various groups of quail. I'd love to be able to separate them by color/type.

Link to post

This is a great accounting; thank you!

 

We too were caught in this outage. Fortunately, we had cold cuts, cheese & french bread for a cold dinner. We also made smores over a (gas) fire with the nighbors. Our power was off about 6 hours, half of which were after dark. Not too bad. :)

Link to post

.....................Just wanted to add:

On Sunday (while doing the Dollhouse Show & Sale ) one of the venders we know came by our Display Tables and asked if she could ask a 'personal' question?

well we were already for the standard - So you guys are Amish - or- So you guys are menninite?

BUT-

instead she leans in close and asks:

"Do you have GET&GO BAGS?"

WOW! we didn't think she even knew what that was - but we told her to give Michael 5 minutes and he would go out to the van and bring one in.

 

Turns out they live on the lake (1 of the finger lakes) and there has been times this year with flooding that they were told to get stuff in a bag in the car in case they had to leave FAST!

Well, she was checking around and found out about 'BOBs' and was so glad as they have had 'feelings' about what to do IN CASE! (no computer or we would have sent her here)

 

So we showed her our bag that has all the stuff for traveling : maps, crank flashlights, med. kits, compass, whistle, etc

well she was blown away with it but thanked us for THAT was just what she was looking for.

 

OK - here was the best part that I want to share:

It is a multi-zippered 'fake' leather bag that you carry over your shoulder, or carry by handles (we found it at a yard sale for $2.00) and it is big but we can still push it under the back seat in the van. (way told it was son's and he got it to carry laptop computer and all the things he needed for work like pens,papers office supplies, books,etc- - is BIG and SQUARE)

 

anyway -

She asked WHY I had every pouch labeled with what was inside?

I told her that was because WHEN you need to get to things IT might be in a panic time and THAT is when even IF YOU KNOW where everything is YOU will be all thumbs RUSHING to open it up and get out what is needed!

Said she would never had thought of that and YES she was going to do it that way as soon as she got home and found a bag that would work like the one we have.

 

So. . . . IF you have a 'bob bag' and it is not labeled with what is in each zippered pouch - DO it!

as I hope you don't just have every thing just tossed in a suitcase!

:AmishMichaelstraw:

Link to post

Amishway Homesteaders - Yes, organisation is key. I treated this little deviation from normalcy as a test run for a real and possibly long term event (which it could have been or turned into, especially in the city with all those candles). What struck me most was how much there was to do, even though I was already basically prepared. A lot of it was just double checking things and slightly re-positioning things, but if I had been disorganized everything would have taken so much longer.

 

My ghb and my bob have a lack of compartments and are organized in labeled ziploc bags. I'm keeping an eye out for a better backpack/bag that fits my budget, but until I find it my old book-bags will do. Ziploc bags also help everything stay dry, and they are useful to have on hand. I'll probably keep everything bagged up when I get a new bag with compartments, but I like the idea of having labels on the outside as well.

 

(Sadly enough, a bunch of bob stuff tossed in a suitcase would be a great improvement for most people, who have nothing ready.)

Link to post

Amishway Homesteaders - Yes, organisation is key. I treated this little deviation from normalcy as a test run for a real and possibly long term event (which it could have been or turned into, especially in the city with all those candles). What struck me most was how much there was to do, even though I was already basically prepared. A lot of it was just double checking things and slightly re-positioning things, but if I had been disorganized everything would have taken so much longer.

 

My ghb and my bob have a lack of compartments and are organized in labeled ziploc bags. I'm keeping an eye out for a better backpack/bag that fits my budget, but until I find it my old book-bags will do. Ziploc bags also help everything stay dry, and they are useful to have on hand. I'll probably keep everything bagged up when I get a new bag with compartments, but I like the idea of having labels on the outside as well.

 

(Sadly enough, a bunch of bob stuff tossed in a suitcase would be a great improvement for most people, who have nothing ready.)

 

Check out the crafts organizers. They have a lot of different sizes. And within the organizers, some of them have moveable dividers so you can make the individual compartments different sizes as need. There are also tackleboxes that are padded with outside pockets and inside removeable organizers. I don't know how much at the store but you might watch thrift stores and yard sales.

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.