So there I was, typing away diligently on my keyboard here at work, creating words for you wonderful people to read. My fingers flying, I was virtually unaware of my surroundings. I was in the zone.
That’s when the power went out.
The lights went black, and my computer shut off. Of course, our backup lighting gave us enough light that it wasn’t too dark, but it still put my work on hold until the issue was fixed.
My first thought was, “Candles! We need candles!” Because, you know, when else do we get to light candles at work? Fortunately, there was one of our Clear Mist 115 Hour Plus Emergency Candles sitting on the cubicle wall right in front of me. What luck! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any matches or lighters handy. After all, why would I? I’m at work, and burning things at work isn’t a part of my job description (which is a real shame).
So what did I learn from this unexpected power outage?
- I probably should have saved my work a lot sooner…
- Thank goodness for backup power.
- These kinds of things can – and do – happen when we least expect it.
- I need matches.
Let’s be honest. This little power outage we experienced didn’t have us worried. We had all the freeze-dried food we could ask for in our warehouse, along with all kinds of emergency kits, lights, and other gear and tools that we could easily access (perks of working for an emergency preparedness company, know what I mean?). So, if something bad had happened and we had to stay here, we were set. If we needed first aid, we were set. If we needed freeze-dried food (and some of us argued it was definitely necessary to break into our stash), we were set. And the power came back on just minutes later.
Everything would have been just hunky-dory. But I got thinking…Power outages don’t happen all that frequently, do they? At least, not where we are. So what are the odds they would happen to me while at work? Of all the millions of people in this country – or even just the state itself – what were the chances my workplace would be affected? I’d say the odds weren’t that great. But you know what? It happened anyway.
And we can learn from this.
If you’re like me, I never expect the power to go out. Sure, I’ve planned for it, but I never think it’ll actually happen. Turns out it does. And since it happened here, at work, at a time I never expected (because don’t power outages wait until you’re off work and at home?), my thoughts have turned inward a bit.
What if I hadn’t been at work, but at home? And what if it hadn’t been light outside, but night time and dark? Would I have been ready?
And so, to answer those questions, I reflected on what my wife and I have done to prepare. We have flashlights and a hand-crank lantern that’ll glow for hours. We have a way to charge our phone and other devices without needing an outlet.
Great. We have light. We have enough power to keep ourselves connected (assuming the cell service doesn’t go out, either). But it’s winter time, and that can make for cold sleeping conditions without a heater. Our son has a little space heater in his room because it can be freezing in there, but if the power’s out, what good is that? Our little guy definitely needs to stay warm. I’ll need to add “heat source” to my list of necessary emergency gear.
If the power were to be out for an extended period of time, would we be able to cook? Besides the food we have in our pantry, we have 72-hour kits for each of us that includes enough food for three days, as well as baking essentials and freeze-dried food in #10 cans. So we have food. Crisis averted.
But wait, what about cooking it? Well, thanks to a small propane grill (with a full tank of gas) and HydroHeat cooker, we’d be just fine there. We even have a few cases of water bottles, a water filter, and a water barrel filled with even more water. We’d be good for a while, at least.
I’m sure you don’t want to hear all about my emergency prep, but I wanted to make a point. What I’m doing is going through a list of everything we have. You can (and should) do the same every so often, too. While I waited for what could have been an emergency (thank goodness it wasn’t), I recommend taking an inventory of your emergency gear before something happens. That can also translate into “now” or “tonight after work.” Basically, if it’s been a while, take a look at your emergency prep.
What don’t you have? What do you have enough of? What do you need more of? Make a list, check it twice, and don’t wait until it’s too late to get prepared.
What was an "uh oh" moment that made you evaluate your emergency plans?