Friday, July 6, 2012

True experience: Lessons Learned from Power Outages in the Eastern U.S.

The following story was written by one of my readers about the power outages in the eastern United States. Italics added:

"We just went through two full days of no power in 100+ degree weather. Over 500,000 customers were without power (Pepco power). Over a million in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland areas. Thankfully, we were prepared except for having ice. That was a tough commodity to come by this weekend. Also, most gas stations ran out of gas due to high volume needed for generators and other stations being shut down without power.

The ward did an awesome job checking on each other. The building was open for quite some time on Saturday for some AC respite for members. I went up and watched a movie (Prince of Egypt) and it was quite a refreshing experience. Then, went home to 88 degree weather inside our main level of our townhouse. The upstairs was hotter and the basement was cooler. So, we lived in the basement.

One thing that we did not have enough of was battery operated fans. We fortunately were able to purchase some on Saturday and that made the basement quite comfortable. Sunday at church was nice and cool as well. We finally got power restored at 8 pm last night. (July 1)

It was difficult to get our cats to drink enough water though. I had not focused on how to keep them cool in my emergency preparedness. I will be working on that in the next month.

Lessons learned? If a storm of this magnitude is predicted, go get ice immediately. Also, make sure you have enough batteries. And, fill up your car with gasoline. I had to go into work twice yesterday and the added 80 miles would have been tough if I had not gotten gas early Saturday morning.

Our ward does breakfast on the 4th of July, so we heard lots of stories about the power outages and how everyone survived it. Quite inspiring. These instances always remind me of just how blessed we are in this country. A couple of days without the basics we have become accustomed to really gave me pause.

Thanks to you, we had enough food and snacks! You touch so many lives, Valerie!"


Thank you, S.C.! Just want you to know I put 4 bags of ice in my freezer in case I need it. I never let my gas tank go below half full. But I do need to add some batteries to our supply.

For more help with your animals during an emergency, see this printable brochure entitled "Caring For Animals" from FEMA.


  1. Thank you Valerie. I never even thought about storing ice or purchasing battery operated fans. Also have cats that I would need to keep cool.

    You're an incredible blessing.

  2. Your freezer should be 100 percent full at all times, no matter what. If not with food then with water filled milk cartons. Adjust frozen water to match whatever forzen food you have at that moment in time. When taking out blocks of water because you just got home from the store with new food items, don't throw your ice out or let it thaw out in the sink, rather put it in the fridge and let it thaw out in there. Then either save the water for use later when you use up frozen food or water your garden with it. At least dump in on the lawn or water plants or something rather than dumping it down the drain. It took energy to freeze that water in the first place. At least some of that paid-for-energy can be returned to you in the form of cold inside your fridge.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!