Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Recent/Current Power Outages, Central Maryland Edition

I was just without power for 4 3/8 days, and given the heat, this wasn't great. Others had it worse though, since I never lost water, I didn't have much food in the refrigerator and freezer, and I was able to go to work to recharge my laptop, use the Internet, and be in AC for the hottest periods. A few thoughts on being temporarily without electricity:
  1. LED flashlights and lanterns are wonderful. In my 5 nights of blackout, none of my flashlights ran out of juice. Also, I have a Rayovac LED lantern which went strong through the whole thing.
  2. A battery-powered radio is a must. I have a Sangean PR-D7 with 6 NiMH AA cells. When plugged into the wall it keeps the batteries charged. Even at the end of the outage, after several hours of use, it was reporting a full charge.
  3. NiMH batteries are great. I'd hate to be one of those out searching for batteries during the outage. Searching for breakfast was enough trouble.
  4. Being able to keep my cell phone charged was a major plus. For the first day or so after the storm, the Sprint cellular network was having it's problems and at least one 911 service in northern Virginia was reportedly not accepting calls from cell phones, but having phone service is important. I have a Goal Zero 19006 Guide 10 solar charger, which provides plenty of power for my cell phone and my Kindle.
  5. Candles should be saved for more extreme situations. Last night out on a walk I noticed a house in the neighborhood burning candles. This seems dangerous to me, and with minor preparations entirely unnecessary for just a few days without power. Of course, with no way of charging batteries, eventually candles become a natural choice, but why mess with fire before you need to?

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