We had just uploaded The Mechanic’s first blog post last Friday when the power went out. We had remarked a bit earlier on how the lights were flickering, but assumed that the extreme heat, and air conditioning demand on the power grid, was causing the problems. It wasn’t until I peeked out the blinds to see if the entire complex’s lights were on or not that we realized there was a huge storm going on. And yes, the entire complex where The Mechanic lives was without power. We stepped outside to see what was going on but the dramatic wind convinced me that it was safer inside. Luckily his apartment stays cooler than mine, so we slept through the night unconcerned.
The next morning, however, we, along with everyone else, discovered that the power outage was not going to be a short event. Huge trees were down everywhere, and every store we walked to was closed; the 7-11 staff were pulled perishables off the shelves to take to another location. Home Depot was open – I bet they made a killing on generators that day.
My power came back Sunday morning, but his was out until late Monday. I consider us lucky, despite it all. But it got me thinking.
My deep, dark secret is that I love emergency preparedness. I created a Go Bag in the days immediately following 9/11; it made us feel better, in control, to do something, after being in Manhattan during the attacks, and not knowing what was going on. I check it regulatory, update the contents, and so on. I have an external hard drive which I keep at my office, with all my pictures and important files backed up on. I have flashlights in drawers all over the apartment, and I keep shoes near my bed, just in case. This is a long habit of mine, emergency preparation. Growing up in northern California, I had mentally planned out different escape routes in case of earthquake (keeping shoes by the bed is one of those tips), and always know emergency exits. I was the deputy fire marshal in my office in NYC; that entire building implemented non-fire emergency procedures, a post 9/11 precaution I approve of.
So I’m looking back over my emergency preparedness kit and the lists posted for each natural disaster – hurricane, earthquake, blizzard, tornado, etc. All the information is basically the same. I am lusting after this cool “safety hub” flashlight/USB hub phone charger/weather radio, or something similar. My battery backup power strip worked great, since I was able to charge my phone without power, but I still like the idea of the hand-cranked weather radio that will charge anything connected to a USB port. I did price generators, too, but I can’t imagine where I’d put one in my apartment, since they can’t be run inside.
Since September is Emergency Preparedness Month, I will be more involved in this topic as time goes on. I think I will actually sign up to get CERT certified. CERT stands for “Community Emergency Response Teams,” and I’ve been looking at doing it for a while. Now I think it is time. Maybe I can become one of these bicycle emergency response teams – good excuse to buy a cargo bike!