I’m talking about electricity. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and was without power for a few days. Then after the power came back on, the cable that I use for my TV and Internet didn’t work for a few more days. No INTERNET! No WIFI!
The weather was just like what had happened on October 1991 with the big fire in Oakland that was close to where we live. It was hot plus dry winds that were supposed to be from 40 to 60 miles per hour. I remember that day clearly like it was yesterday. The sky was full of smoke and I could see the flames. My daughter, Sara, was at a friend’s house in the area of the fire. I had no way of knowing if she was safe. The family she was with did lose their house but they got out. But so many didn’t. There were over 3,000 homes and 40 lives lost.
With all the fires that are happening around California and other western states, I could see why PG&E wanted to turn off the power for millions of people. I know it didn’t seem right if there was no wind. When they turned the power off, there was no wind at all on the first day. Then it started gusting. We had taken down all our wind chimes and moved all the outdoor umbrellas, chairs, plants, and other items that could blow away. I checked my phone to see where the power was cut. It was all over the bay area.
I thought I could handle this and take this time to catch up on my reading, go for more walks, play some games, clean my home and office. Did I do that? No! It was too windy and scary during the day and I had no lights at night other than flashlights and some LED lanterns.
Because we live in California on top of the Hayward fault, my husband, Tom, and I have prepared. We have loads of flashlights, extra batteries, LED lanterns, candles, a gas stove, matches, and an outside gas grill. Tom showed me how to use all the power sources including the backup solar battery.
You see, I was scheduled to do a virtual keynote using Zoom on Monday morning October 14th. I was able to pull together a personal hotspot on my phone while charging my phone and computer. But I didn’t know how long I would be able to use that personal hotspot. Then when the power came back on, I found out the cable company’s box had blown so it took them another 2 days to get that backup. So no Internet. All of this happened right before my keynote. Fortunately, it all came back on in time and everything worked. This experience made me think about “Power” and feeling powerless. We depend so much on power.
Then last night we had an earthquake. Yes, you heard me. A 4.5 earthquake. The house shook but it wasn’t right here. It was felt all across the bay area. My cat jumped. The house jumped but nothing like was felt at the epicenter — right where my 98-year-old mother-in-law lives in Walnut Creek. So my husband luckily was there and definitely felt it. Nothing broken. They are okay.
I guess you never know what is coming. If you live on top of a fault as I do, expect an earthquake to happen. Earthquakes don’t give you much warning, but you can be prepared. In other parts of the country, there are tornadoes and some warnings or hurricanes and some warnings. Fires can happen so fast with no warnings. The best thing is to take care of yourself first.
- Be prepared with a go-bag.
- Have gas in your car.
- Figure out what you would take with you.
- Plan how you would get out of different places in your house.
- Charge up your devices every night.
- Keep a charged flashlight next to your bed.
- Put essentials like prescription drugs, extra shoes, and glasses in a plastic bag tied to your bed.
- Have enough food and water for 3 to 7 days for each person in your house.
These are just a few ideas on how to be prepared. My neighborhood has gone through CORE (Citizens Respond to Emergencies) training some time ago. I created this project about Earthquakes in 2008 but there are still some great resources there to share. It’s time to update that and preparing. So I’m getting empowered to be prepared for whatever happens.
What about you?