Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ready for the next big one?

Three days and three nights of powerless living makes you reassess how we take it for granted, doesn't it? And it points out all the foibles of depending on "the grid" for all our electrical needs. Next time, we'll pay better attention when the National Weather Service predicts wind and rain warnings. Here are some preparedness to add to my list?

Fill the bathtubs so there's water available to flush the toilets with a coffee can.

Have the flashlights next to the beds instead of in the cupboard in the kitchen.

Fill the extra animals' water buckets and keep them full in the basement as back up water sources. And remember that the local police departments have collapsible water containers they can loan or give you in emergencies in case you need to haul water.

Add to the database in your cell phone and on paper the names and numbers of motels within half an hour south and west, just in case.

Know where the car charger is for each cell phone. I have an "I-Go" with interchangeable tips that fit a couple different phones. And carry the land-line charger to recharge your phone at the library, restaurant and office, whenever you can.

Finally invest in a generator and hire John Collins to get it set up. Although I find them noisy and smelly the whole experience of being able to have heat, a working refrigerator, light, etc., would make the experience of powerlessness far more bearable. And if you're planning to sell your house, a generator is a necessity.

Both our West Newbury and Plum Island properties were without power for several days after Thursday night's big blow, and yours probably was as well.

"Another World" lost a window when a piece of shingle flew off Mad Martha's restaurant and went right through it, but nobody was in the room. Platoons of power trucks finally got things working again on Saturday on Plum Island and on Sunday afternoon for our West Newbury home. The West Newbury house was down to 45 degrees when we arrived Sunday morning. We had fled to Alex's brother's house in Newton the afternoon before, desperate for showers and shampoo and warmth.

Let's not lose momentum on the idea of getting ready for the next big one, because we now know it very well could happen again.

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