- Education and Science
What to Do During a Power Outage, Blackout or Brownout
Stay Calm When The Light Goes Out
Two years ago, when we had a power outage in the Akron Metro area in Ohio, (and later my modem was offline), I’ve thought of this article to share with you. A power outage can last several hours or several days. That’s when you have no electricity in your house—no TV, Internet or phone service. Usually, it’s weather-related, due to a climate change in temperature, or something has knocked the electrical circuits off the grid. It can be no fun for you and your family. It can happen in any season, too. There are three different types of power outages you should be aware of in this hub.
- A transient fault is a momentary (a few seconds) loss of power typically caused by a temporary fault line. Power is automatically restored once the fault is cleared.
- A brownout is a drop in voltage in an electrical power supply. The term brownout comes from the dimming experienced by lightning when the voltage sags. Brownouts can cause poor performance of equipment or even incorrect operation.
- A blackout is the total loss of power to an area and is the most severe form of a power outage that can occur. Outages may last for a few minutes to a few weeks, depending on the nature of the blackout and the configuration of the electrical network.
Here are a couple of things you and your family can do to keep busy and active, depending on the weather outside.
Family Game Night
Quality Time with Family Game Night or Snuggle Time
If you live alone and own a pet as I do, this quality time would benefit you and them. You can give them TLC and play with them, so they won’t bark or meow at you. And if you have fish, rabbits, or any other kind of domesticated pet, this would work, too, one way or another.
For those who have a significant other, this is a great time to catch up with them by asking about work. You can also snuggle with them. For those who have families, you can talk to them about their day at school, college or work. Family Game Night used to be a thing of the past. Thanks to the Hub Network on TV, it's been brought back for a couple of years by making classic board games interactive with audience participation. If you love playing board games with your family, you can spend some quality time with them by playing the classics and have some fun and laughter. Take out the board games or a stack of playing cards to keep everyone busy in the dark or in a lighted room. For card games, you can do UNO and Go Fish with your younger kids. If you have puzzles like jigsaw puzzles, they can be preoccupied for a while. Family time is a fun time to spend with those you love.
Tip: If the weather’s nice out, take your dog for a walk or give your cat some fresh air and sunshine. Take your family out and go exploring around your town. Have a spare cooler to keep your food cold. You can always eat out, dine in, or create your own meals. Check out your museums or local gardens and parks. Going for a hike to give everyone some exercise.
Meditate, Pray, and Power Nap
If you’re alone in the silent darkness, you can do some meditation and take time for yourself. You can start small with a 5-minute mini-meditation or go for a full half-hour for a complete meditation.
If you’re behind on sleep, you can always take a power nap and get much-deserved rest. That’s what I did. Just don’t go longer than an hour. Snuggle up with your pets and enjoy the tranquility.
Another thing you can do is praying. You can pray for electricity to be restored and the lights to be back on.
Tip: If your cell has a timer function, you can time yourself for meditation and perhaps power naps. Make sure you fully charge your cell every night in case you lose electricity.
Read a Good Book, Magazine or Newspaper
If you love to read, and need to catch up on your reading, this is a good time to do so. If you prefer the print version, you can read a book you own or from your local library and get swept away by a storyline. If you can do some offline reading by reading e-books on your computer, tablet, Iphone, or on your e-book reader too. This would be a good way to keep you busy and being proactive.
You can also check out some magazines or e-zine articles on any topic for any version. If you’re behind on the news, you can get caught up by reading your own newspapers, if you have a subscription, or read them online, like on your Kindle, too.
Tip: For those who read on an e-book reader, make sure you check the battery status and recharge if necessary to ensure your reading pleasure. You can do this beforehand and save yourself some grief. You can do it offline as long as you have electricity.
Listen to Music or the Radio
If you want to break the silence in your home, you can turn on your battery-operated stereo to listen to some music. It can be from your favorite radio stations or from your own CD selection. That’s what I did with my old spare stereo that I used for those reasons, like when the reception is bad, due to weather.
Even if you do it for a little while, you would feel better afterward and won’t be bored with silence.
Tip: Make sure you stock up with plenty of spare batteries for your boombox or radio. Keep the radio on to listen for any breaking news on the power outage or blackout, especially if it’s weather-related.
Dance or Exercise
If you’re a yogi or a Pilates practitioner beginner like I am, you can get some exercise with your home practice and feel better later. You can do any kind of exercise at your home—aerobics, any form of dancing, lift weights, box. You can take it outside, if the weather’s right, to go for a walk or a hike, or ride your bicycle around the block. This would help get rid of any doldrums for a while to get some fresh air and the sunshine.
Tip: Make sure you have a spare flashlight.
If you love to knit, sew, quilt, or crochet, you can take out your supplies and create a design. This would be a good time to let your kids color in their coloring books and make beautiful pictures. Get out some construction paper and scissors to make homemade cards and other art projects. How about scrapbooking or making a collage? There are many art projects you can do since these are examples the whole family can do together.
Tip: Make sure you have an inventory of arts and craft supplies for the whole family in a closet.
Doing Chores and Errands
If you’re behind on chores, inside or outside the house, depending on the seasonal weather, you can choose to get caught up with your chores. For outside the house, you can plant a garden and do some pruning of weeds, rake the leaves, shovel snow, mow the yard, and any other chores. Indoors, you can clean house, wash dishes or load dishwasher, scrub the floors, make the bed, do laundry, dust, recycle plastic, glass and metal, take out the garbage, and so on. Of course, your kids might moan and groan. But the sooner you get it over with, the sooner you can get it done and out of the way.
You can also get caught up with the mail. Throw out the junk mail and flyers, flip through newspapers and magazines, clip coupons, recycle newspapers, and do your bills. You can write out checks and manage your checkbook to maintain a good balance for your account.
If you have to do some errands, this is a good time to get outside of the house and take care of it. You can grocery shop at the stores or buy items at the mall. Check out books at the library or bookstore. Visit your church. Go to the pet store, if you have pets, for food and litter or any other pet supplies. Take the clothes to a laundromat or dry cleaner. Take the mail or any important packages to the post office. If you have an errand to-do list, you can get it done in no time.
Tip: If you have a lot of chores or errands to do on your to-do list, you can break it up into intervals and check them off as you go along. Make sure your car has plenty of gas. If you’re riding a bicycle, make sure you don’t have flat tires.
Offline Writing and Editing
This would be a great for us fellow writers to stockpile our writing on a word processing document. If you don’t have to do any online research and have the stuff you need in front of you, this would be beneficial to us all to write them down and get them ready, even if you’re working on one at a time. That’s what I did on my previously worked on drafts when I'd thought of this idea.
For those of us who write short stories, novellas, novels, poetry, songs, other blog articles, or flash fiction, you can put some time and effort into writing and let those creative juices flow in notebooks. You would feel good to get your ideas out of the way to hone the first draft for your writing.
If it’s polished enough and publish-ready, let’s work backward and do some offline editing, revising, and rewriting. It’s time to let it shine with spit and polish in the literal sense to refine our writing and shape it to the best it can be. This was what I did with my beta reader with my writing and for hers as well ahead of time. You don’t need to spend hours on the editing table. A half-hour or less, unless you can do more, would be great.
Tip: Save them on a hard drive, flash stick, or a website like Google Documents or Dropbox, to prevent losing your original copies every day. If you like to write longhand, pen and paper would also work out well to get those ideas touched up or written. You can also print out your rough drafts and work on it earlier.
Power outage poll
Have you ever been in a power outage or blackout?
Meet Your Neighbor, Volunteer, Reach Out to Others
This is a great way to meet and greet your new neighbors, especially if you’ve moved into your new house, condo or apartment in a new neighborhood. If they’re home, you can go check on them and see if you can help them out with something. They might be elderly, sick, or need general help. Just introduce yourself with a warm greeting, shake hands, and find out if they need any assistance in or outside of their home. By paying it forward with your random acts of kindness, they might do the same for you in return. To pay it forward means that you respond to someone's kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else. If you’ve met some of your neighbors previously, you can talk to them to stall for time and get to them know better.
You can also volunteer your services for the duration by helping people out in other areas, like a local shelter, soup kitchen, or a hospital. Maybe afterward, if you have free time, you can continue to volunteer after the power outage is over when you've felt great about lending a helping hand.
You can also call friends and family who live out of town or out of state with your cell phone or iPhone. They might be worried if they can’t reach you. Assure them, that it’s temporary and you'll call them back when the blackout's over. Everyone loves to hear a warm and friendly voice from their family or friends. And for those who work, call your workplace to find out the status if they were hit or not by the power outage. If not, then you can go to work as normal, until the lights are back on. If so, find out how long it would be closed. For those who have children in school or college, you can call them to find out if it’s closed for the day and for how long.
Tip: Recharge your cell phone or iPhone the night before to make a call or send them a text about the situation.
Power Outage ideas
Will you try any of these ideas, when the lights go out?
These are many ideas on how to keep you busy when the lights go out. Make sure you have lighters or matches for candles as a back-up light source. Stock up on batteries for flashlights. File a spare portable freezer or cooler with ice to keep your perishable food cold for the time being. If you don't have a portable freezer or cooler, you can leave the food in a hidden container outside, if the temperature is 35 degrees or colder. As long as you stay active, you’re being proactive for you and your family.