Power blip, lighting musings

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Minor ( to me) power outage yesterday, I was in the shop minding my own business when *pop* everything died. No prob..I grabbed the big MagLite from its rack and started out the door to see if my neighbors, who have a cabinet factory in an underground garage, needed some illumination to get out of their dark little cave. As I walked out the door the lights came back on. Total downtime? 30 seconds, tops. Called the girlfriend to see if it affected her side of town. Turns out that the power was off on her side of town alot longer earlier in the day. Rumour was that a car accident involving a power pole/line was the culprit. Her building lost partial power. They still had some lights but elevators were offline. The stairwell, apparently, kept its lights. (When she started working there one of the first things I did was ask her to accompany me on locating the stairwell and walking it to familiarize ourselves with it…just in case.) She's got a handful of lightsticks and a Streamlight LED flashlight that I gave her that she keeps in her desk for just such emergencies but as it turns out it was unneeded.

For me, the power going out is always big excitement. Not necessarily because of the event itself, but rather because I wonder why it happened. Someone nuke something? Terrorist attack? That sort of thing. My first response is to look around and see , if I can, how widespread the outage is. Sometimes I can look down the street and see traffic lights and whatnot are unaffected..then I know its localized to just a few blocks – no sweat. Sometimes everything everywhere is dark…more dramatic.

What was it? Two years ago NYC went dark for a few days…I bet that was big excitement.

Back at Casa Zero we are quite prepared for emergency illumination. We've got Aladdin lamps, propane lanterns, Coleman lanterns, MagLites, Baygen lights and the ubiquitous chemlights. The chemlights are for immediate use…like finding your way to a flashlight or to the bunker. On the top ledge of each bedroom doorway, closet doorway, and basement doorway theres a lightstick in its foil wrapper. This way, in the dark all you have to do is find a doorway, reach up, and youre good to go. Lightsticks get changed out every year around Halloween when they go on sale. The old ones are rotated into 'secondary' status or used for testing, etc, etc.

I also keep A Streamlight LED flashlight, a lightstick and a Photon LED light in my Tactical Tailor bag which accompanies me to most places.

Summertime has its own risks of blackout…mostly from overtaxed power grids and forest fires eating the lines. Winter has ice on the lines and that sort of thing. So theres always the risk of a prolonged power outage around here. And then, theres the totally unpredictable person-in-a-car-hitting-a-power-pole event.

Moral: it can happen anytime, anywhere – be prepared.
Especially. At. Work.