Saturday, October 26, 2019

Power Outages and Being Organized for Emergencies

map showing when various counties in California are expected to lose power

There’s nothing quite like a power outage — fortunately, with some warning — to test a portion of your emergency preparedness.

Earlier this month my part of the San Francisco Bay Area lost power for about 17 hours; power was cut to avoid fires caused by electric lines during dangerous weather conditions, including high winds. And now we’re scheduled to lose power again on Saturday evening, for what might be a longer time.

Most of my preparations for the last power outage were already in place, and I was pleased with how things worked. I had plenty of non-cook shelf-stable food. I put an LED battery-powered lamp in each of the rooms I would be using, and turned the lamps on and off as needed.

five flashlights - all the same except for different colors

I also had a really good flashlight — the Big Larry work light — that served me well. (I didn’t want to use the flashlight on my cell phone, since I was trying to conserve power.)

Both the lamp and the flashlight run on AA batteries, as does my NOAA weather alert radio; I’ve made sure that all my battery-powered items take the same battery, so I just have to stock up on one type.

large black cat on a quilt on a couch

The one thing I didn’t anticipate had to do with cat food. I have plenty of extra food on hand, but I was assuming my Moonshadow cat, who is on prescription food, would eat the kibble version rather than the canned food I usually give him. Wrong. He turned up his nose at the kibble he’s eaten before, so I wound up giving him the canned food. But those cans usually serve as four meals, and without refrigeration I had to throw them away after just one.

So I’ve now found out there’s a variation on the same canned food which comes in smaller cans — and he likes it. So now I have those smaller cans in stock, too, which will cause less waste.

I may find more things to tweak after this second round of power outages, but at least I feel fairly confident that nothing major is likely to go wrong.