AP NEWS

Need to be prepared for outages in winter

January 3, 2019

The wild wind, snow and ice took out our electricity for a couple of hours last week and it was different than other times when we haven’t had power. Even though our first thought was to wish we’d poured extra pitchers of water as I was thirsty the minute the lights blinked off, we remembered we had a case of bottled water in the garage. We didn’t use to have 24 bottles of water on hand at all times. There were more differences this time with having the electricity go off.

I called our electrical company to tell them of the outage from my cell phone. When we wondered what time our electricity went out, I looked on my phone call as to when I made the call. No interruption in cell service. No frantic look for a battery operated clock. We don’t need electricity to make calls so nothing changed there. Besides that, our phones had a full charge and if they lost the charge we had a mobile battery pack that was able to power five phones up.

We even still had Internet access as, though our router wasn’t powered, we have a charged MI-FI. We were finding out we were fine without electricity.

The house started getting cold but we had wood enough in the wood rack to keep the fireplace blazing - for at least for two days.

That two days was an interesting determination as that’s probably how long our bottled water, battery storage, and cell phone batteries would last us if the storm would have kept on and the power company wouldn’t have been able to fix the problem. Two days. The way the power lines were whipping in the wind like clothes on a line, it looked like either the power lines or the power poles snap. It makes a person a bit uneasy.

It’s 2018 and we think we’re pretty smug to be able to call the phone company even without electricity and, without electictiy, we can go to news sites on the laptop and see how widespread the power outage is. The thing is, we are still sitting ducks when it comes to losing electrical power in Nebraska in the winter.

We had to crawl up and release the electric garage doors so they’d open manually just so we could get our cars out. No phone apps helped there. No heat in the house can freeze pipes even if you have three wood burning stoves. Phones eventually run low on battery, as does wood and water. How did our forefathers survive in those leaky sod houses without the benefit of a decent cell signal?

I for one, will be more prepared for the next power outage. If the wind is blowing and any sort of icy precipitation is coming down, I’m filling some of our large drink coolers with water, have extra wood piled up in the garage and have our cars filled with fuel so we can charge our phones in our cars if we have to. When it’s winter against technology, winter wins.

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