Uh Oh…The Power Just Went Out. Am I Ready?

· Reading Time: 5 minutes

So there I was, typing away diligently on my keyboard here at work, creating words for you wonderful people to read. My fingers flying, I was virtually unaware of my surroundings. I was in the zone.

That’s when the power went out.

The lights went black, and my computer shut off. Of course, our backup lighting gave us enough light that it wasn’t too dark, but it still put my work on hold until the issue was fixed.

Uh oh candle
Ah, yes. The soft glow of candlelight would have been lovely. If only I had had a match…

My first thought was, “Candles! We need candles!” Because, you know, when else do we get to light candles at work? Fortunately, there was one of our Clear Mist 115 Hour Plus Emergency Candles sitting on the cubicle wall right in front of me. What luck! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any matches or lighters handy. After all, why would I? I’m at work, and burning things at work isn’t a part of my job description (which is a real shame).

So what did I learn from this unexpected power outage?

  1. I probably should have saved my work a lot sooner…
  2. Thank goodness for backup power.
  3. These kinds of things can – and do – happen when we least expect it.
  4. I need matches.


Let’s be honest. This little power outage we experienced didn’t have us worried. We had all the freeze-dried food we could ask for in our warehouse, along with all kinds of emergency kits, lights, and other gear and tools that we could easily access (perks of working for an emergency preparedness company, know what I mean?). So, if something bad had happened and we had to stay here, we were set. If we needed first aid, we were set. If we needed freeze-dried food (and some of us argued it was definitely necessary to break into our stash), we were set. And the power came back on just minutes later.

Everything would have been just hunky-dory. But I got thinking…Power outages don’t happen all that frequently, do they? At least, not where we are. So what are the odds they would happen to me while at work? Of all the millions of people in this country – or even just the state itself – what were the chances my workplace would be affected? I’d say the odds weren’t that great. But you know what? It happened anyway.

And we can learn from this.

If you’re like me, I never expect the power to go out. Sure, I’ve planned for it, but I never think it’ll actually happen. Turns out it does. And since it happened here, at work, at a time I never expected (because don’t power outages wait until you’re off work and at home?), my thoughts have turned inward a bit.

What if I hadn’t been at work, but at home? And what if it hadn’t been light outside, but night time and dark? Would I have been ready?

And so, to answer those questions, I reflected on what my wife and I have done to prepare. We have flashlights and a hand-crank lantern that’ll glow for hours. We have a way to charge our phone and other devices without needing an outlet.

Great. We have light. We have enough power to keep ourselves connected (assuming the cell service doesn’t go out, either). But it’s winter time, and that can make for cold sleeping conditions without a heater. Our son has a little space heater in his room because it can be freezing in there, but if the power’s out, what good is that? Our little guy definitely needs to stay warm. I’ll need to add “heat source” to my list of necessary emergency gear.

If the power were to be out for an extended period of time, would we be able to cook? Besides the food we have in our pantry, we have 72-hour kits for each of us that includes enough food for three days, as well as baking essentials and freeze-dried food in #10 cans. So we have food. Crisis averted.

But wait, what about cooking it? Well, thanks to a small propane grill (with a full tank of gas) and HydroHeat cooker, we’d be just fine there. We even have a few cases of water bottles, a water filter, and a water barrel filled with even more water. We’d be good for a while, at least.

uh oh checklistI’m sure you don’t want to hear all about my emergency prep, but I wanted to make a point. What I’m doing is going through a list of everything we have. You can (and should) do the same every so often, too. While I waited for what could have been an emergency (thank goodness it wasn’t), I recommend taking an inventory of your emergency gear before something happens. That can also translate into “now” or “tonight after work.” Basically, if it’s been a while, take a look at your emergency prep.

What don’t you have? What do you have enough of? What do you need more of? Make a list, check it twice, and don’t wait until it’s too late to get prepared.


What was an “uh oh” moment that made you evaluate your emergency plans?


February - Power Banner - uh oh

6 Responses

  • I would suggest you list the glass surround when you show the ad for these 100 hr candles as I bought one and I keep my matches inside ready to use…..I have about 6 more candles and would like to order more of the glass surrounds when I see the ad….I bought the white one,,…..

  • My “uh oh” moment was 6 minutes into an ice storm power outage, when my inverter decided to die. Fully charged 12V DC battery bank and no way to convert it to 120V AC! All the expensive high tech backup equipment was down for the count.
    So, I reverted to 1915 technology. Perfection Kerosene heater, Perfection Kerosene stove, and Kerosene table lamps.
    Ya know, none of them failed in the 4 days till power was restored!
    Doesn’t hurt to have a “Plan C”!

  • My military buddy and fellow prepper always told me 2 is one and one is none. Basically saying if for instance you have one method of emergency cooking and it fails what do you have as a backup??? Thats why I have tw0 generators. For cooking I have an outdoor grill and 18 bags of charcoal, I have a propane stove and six large tanks, I have a coleman stove and 12 gallons of fuel and last I have a wood burning stove . Always have a plan B AND a plan C!

  • I’ve never had a moment like that, for a few reasons and not one of them being no lack of power.
    I took a couple of burned out wick type chafing fuel cells, pulled the press-fit insert and punched a slot just on the inside of the rim of each one for a 1/2 inch flat wick. I also punched five holes, 1/8 inch diameter, to drain any fuel that collects on top. For fuel I use a 90% canola oil/10% #1 kerosene mix. It has a slightly lower flashpoint than canola, but produces a lot less soot than kerosene.
    Food is what I have in the pantry and powdered milk for tea and coffee. Never can have enough of that stuff. The last outage happened in the summer, so I cooked on a solid fuel stove that I made from another chafing dish fuel cell, the one with the large opening and gel fuel, and used the Emergency Essentials stove pot stand. Interestingly enough, it locks onto standard chafing fuel cells perfectly. I did have to drill a 1/4 inch hole in the side near the bottom, or the flame would die. Stansport tabs are what I used and I was easily able to cook up two cups of Bear Creek soup with one tab. For tea I’d cut a tablet in four pieces and use three to get twelve oz of water to boil. Instant coffee only takes two squares since the water doesn’t need to boil. If a power failure ever happens in the winter, my stove is hot until well after I’m sleeping.
    I always have six gallons of filtered water and ten gallons of municipal water to run through the my home made Berky, so that is no problem
    Heat is also no problem since I have a wood stove, as mentioned above.
    Entertainment is no issue either since I usually have some sewing or leather project to work on, some piece of clothing that needs repaired, or some piece or another of text is being copied in the scriptorium. I’m a mediaeval scribe who works with quill and traditional ink.
    There’s my story.

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