Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lessons from a blackout!

Do you remember the blackout from the Summer of 2003?  I do!  It was the country's largest black out on record and extended from parts of the mid-west to the East coast.  This particular black out has been assumed by many to be due to hackers, in many ways it was very random, but it was  also extremely widespread.

Why do I remember this so well?  Because I was in the middle of the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan when it happened. 
I was with my husband, cousin, and oldest child, who was 17 months old at the time.  Most of us have been in minor power outages, and usually the flickering lights, or loud noise that occurs with the outage gives you an idea of how big the problem may be.  Let me tell you, we instantly knew by the noise that this was not going be a small issue.

Thankfully we were in an area of the museum that had skylights, so we were not in the dark.  We waited around for a while, hoping for the power to return, but eventually the Michigan Summer heat and lack of air conditioning was too much and we had to leave.

When we got to our car, we realized that we had about 1/4 tank of gas, and spotty cell phone coverage.  Because all of our surrounding areas were also out of power, everyone was forced to leave their offices, and the roads were quickly jammed. 

We had NO cash, and gas stations could not take anything but cash due to the power outage.  We were staying at my Grandmother's house that was almost 2 hours away, and when a phone eventually worked, we were able to find out that Grandma did have power!  Now, how to get there?

With a lot of prayer and some luck, we were able to have just enough gas to get us to one of the random spots that did have power and use our debit card to fill up our tank.

I have NEVER forgotten this experience, and my biggest lesson learned from it was, ALWAYS carry some cash! 
It does not matter what type of emergency you are preparing for, make sure that your preparations always include cash. 

 I carry some in my purse at all times, and have some in the car just in case as well.  I also make sure that my husband  has some on hand and at his office. 

I am not suggestions stashing 100 dollar bills everywhere - that may be more of  a liability than a help, but I am saying that ANY amount of money is better than none when you really need it!


Anonymous said...

This is good information. I am curious how much money you keep in your car? Even this last power outage we had here helped us realize we didn't have enough flash lights and that we need a radio that runs by batteries (we thought if the power was still out in the morning, how would we know if school was still in session?).

Kim and Bryan said...

Good idea Jessica

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