Lessons Learned from The BLACKOUT!

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Hi Coupon Friends,
I thought I’d do a recap of all the lessons I learned during last Thursdays nights blackout.
All throughout the night I just kept thinking that this was such a good trial run to see where we were at in case a natural disaster happened. My family didn’t like my logic much… something about it not really being a “trail run” as this was an emergency of sorts!
It all started as we were about to go for a hike Thursday afternoon. We were all set to get into the car when I hollered again for someone to please turn off the TV. Instantly it was turned off so I profusely thanked the kid that I thought did it, only to be told that no one had done it.
It took me a second to realize all of the lights were off too. I recognized we were having a power outage… but I had no idea it was so wide spread. It took a couple hours before that was known so we went about with our plans…
We loaded up into the car, that is in the garage, behind the closed garage doors. Know where I’m going with this? The garage door opener doesn’t work without electricity. My darling husband had to manually open the garage door. He had to move something on the garage door opener to do this. Something I had no idea had to be done. First Lesson.
Next lesson was learning how to manually open the gate to our house, and then close it again. Another thing I didn’t know how to do.
Once we were out of our property we had to maneuver out of our communities fence and gate.
We made it to the main road and decided not to drive all the way to our favorite hiking area. All of the traffic lights were out and it was starting to look ugly on the roads. I immediately felt super thankful that my husband was not travelling far on this day. I later learned it took people hours to get home when it normally took them 20 min. or less.
Gas was also a HUGE issue. How many times have you been down to a quarter of a tank of gas and thought you would just get more on your way home? I know I have… problem was there was no way to get gas. The gas stations could not sell gas for two reasons. #1 they could not accept payments because their registers need power. #2 The pumps that actually pump the gas needs electricity to work. If you traveled to far from home, there was no getting back.
I now have vowed not to let my tank get below 1/2 full. Might be a pain to have to keep filling up, but I have kids that I am personally responsible for and being able to get to them in an emergency is my #1 priority.
During this early time of the blackout there were tons of people stuck in elevators. Emergency workers were swamped with these types of emergencies. I made a mental note to remember that help would be very delayed, if not impossible to get in an emergency. I also started thinking that I needed to pack a mini diaper bag when I bring the baby in an elevator, or out of the car in general. She is at that point where I don’t bring any of her “stuff” with me when I go about my day. I keep everything I need for her in my car… but having a diaper and some wipes along with a sippy cup of water and snacks would make her a whole lot more comfortable if we were stuck in an elevator for any amount of time and could even be life saving if the emergency took longer than a few hours.
After we decided not to go hiking we went for a walk on the track at a local school. There were no traffic lights that we would have to cross to get there and back… that was the deciding factor on where to go. As we walked the track I tried desperately to find out what was going on. The electric company has a website that shows all outages. Unfortunately, the electric company lost electricity and that included their website. All of the local news stations were off line along with the radio stations. I tried to go on my cell phone to access information, but I had let my phone battery die. Another lesson, keep your cell phone charged. I had to borrow my daughters cell phones. They were not happy about this because it cut off their ability to communicate with family members. They knew to not make call phone calls and to limit texting, but it was a huge comfort to them to know that they could check in with Grandma and Grandpa as needed.
The saving grace turned out to be twitter. Who knew? I tried every search I could trying to figure out how to get some information and twitter was the only outlet the electric company had to get information out. When I first started reading their twitter account they had about 2,000 followers. They now have almost 17,000! It was a really great tool for all. They could get the facts out there and I felt like I was getting the information I needed. I had {Sprint} pretty much uninterrupted internet on my cell. Phone service wasn’t perfect. My Mom {Verizon} didn’t have as great of cell service as I did. I was very happy that cell phones worked at all when nothing else did!
Up next {tomorrow”s post}, our first emergency started in the car on the way home from our walk. It was a long night, but I learned a lot and am so happy I have a stockpile!


Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • You really don't know those weak points of not having electricity until you don't have it. We went 11 days in December of 2008 without power, heat and running water. That was when my son was just 6 months old. We literally lived in one room with a space heater powered by a small generator. We had to drive over an hour away to fill up our gas tanks and gas cans for the generator and to buy bottled water. Many roads were closed because the ice storm had downed trees. We now are very aware of what we need to do to plan for an emergency. The power was finally back on 2 days before Christmas. Hope you made it through ok, I can't imagine being in the "city" and not having power like that.

  • Thanks for the comments guys!

    Would you believe that we actually lost power again for about an hour?

    Talk about flashbacks!!!

  • I guess we all need more education in terms of emergency situations. I for one am sure there's about a million things I wouldn't think of and they'd totally come in handy in an emergency situation like power blackout, floods or fire. Awesome post! I'm glad i found your blog and I am now following you thanks to Blog Hop Friday, and it would be so nice if you could share the love back on my blog;)
    Also today we have the coolest blog hop there is… no rules just fun and would love you to join in with us at Boost My Blog Friday, where you can meet lots of friends and have a great time:) See you there!
    Happy Friday!

  • I came over from the blog hop and now following your blog thru GFC and Facebook. I would really love a follow back on both when you get a chance. Thanks so much for your help and have a wonderful day!


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