Thursday, April 9, 2009

When in doubt, head to Starbucks

Am I prepared for an emergency?

Let's see.

Just hours after I noticed this article about cyberspies hacking into our nation's electrical grid, our lights flickered and the power went out.

Luckily it was 11:00 a.m., so it didn't matter that I couldn't locate a flashlight, or even a candle. I think we are down to just one flashlight, and that's the one that came with our Black & Decker Storm Station, an emergency power source that does occasionally need to be plugged into an outlet. It has not been plugged in for quite some time, so the flashlight does not currently work.

I should call the electric company, I thought. Let's see, where did I put my cell phone?

Finding the phone took about five minutes. Next, I needed the number to the electric company. My laptop battery had plenty of power, so I thought I'd just check online. What, no Internet? Oh, yeah, the modem runs on electricity. Rats.

I found the number on an old utility bill. A recording informed me that there was a power outage in my area, crews were on the scene, and the electricity should be back on by 1:00.

Two hours? We should be able to handle that. The kids didn't even notice that the power was out until I mentioned it to them. Still, it was such a rainy, dreary day. Who wants to hang out in a house with no lights? I suggested Starbucks.

"Yeeeeeaaaaaaaah, donuts!"

It was unanimous.

As we got shoes and jackets on and prepared to go ride out the power outage with sugary pastries and warm beverages, the lights clicked back on.

"Oh, would you look at that," I said. "I guess we don't really need to go to Starbucks now." As if we really needed to go anyway. "Maybe we should just stay home."


Again, unanimous.

I did tell them we were going. A promise is a promise. I like to be a mom of my word.

Mmmmmm, grande soy one raw sugar latte.

Back at home, hyped up on caffeine, I was furiously cleaning the refrigerator when I suddenly realized just how tremendously unprepared we are for any kind of emergency. Keeping a functional flashlight handy would really be just the beginning.

Now, before the moment wears off and I settle back into complacency, I'm pledging to put together an emergency kit, come up with an emergency plan, and make sure everyone in the family knows it. A great place to get started is Ready America, a site run by the Department of Homeland Security.

How about you? Anyone else as ill-prepared as I am? Or have you taken steps to prepare for the worst case scenario?

1 comment:

Marisa said...

When the lights went out at our house once during some kind of a storm, we found candles and all went to the master bathroom and sat with our feet in the jacuzzi tub. I didn't remember that, but one of my daughter's friends told me years later that she loved that memory. Can you ever really be prepared? My daughter called me from college once and told me she was under a table in a restaurant/bar because there was a tornado in the area. I didn't know how close the tornado had hit until we went to visit the next weekend. It was nice to know that we were connected during a natural disaster. That phone call trumped flashlight batteries and first aid kits (which at our house can probably be found in some back pack or luggage -- remnants of another moment that created a memory).