What to keep in mind when your power goes out

Kelly Smith

Given the unpredictable and often inconvenient events that happen in the world, I’m sure we’ve all been affected by a power outage at some point in our lives. And they can happen at any time. We could be studying in the library, in a class, or even on vacation. 

I remember being sent home early a few times in high school because the school suddenly lost enough power to function efficiently. And given the most recent power outage on the east side of the state that has impacted part of my spring break, I feel it’s necessary to keep a few things in mind when the lights suddenly go out.

I’ll admit that I’m far from the best at not procrastinating. I do try to avoid waiting until the last minute, but I still have many moments when a deadline creeps up on me quicker than I thought. And this past week of break was no exception. Basically, I had something to do that, really, would’ve only taken me five minutes to do, but when it doesn’t have to be done until Friday and it’s only Monday or Tuesday, it’s easy to have that sometimes dangerous mindset: “Well, I’ve got time.” After all, it is spring break, right? 

Unfortunately, when the power suddenly shuts off halfway during the week and it becomes apparent that it won’t be coming back on anytime soon, that’s when your initially-harmless delay becomes a problem. No wifi, laptop battery is almost dead anyway, you can’t print anything now. It’s quite the nasty turn of events.

Another issue is the duration of the outage. Yeah, there’s the mildly inconvenient outages that last maybe a couple of hours. Not too much damage done. But over the last decade or so, there’ve been a few outages I’ve experienced that were bad enough to wipe out electricity for at least a few days. 

The lesson here? Don’t always expect the damage to be minimal. If you’re stuck without power for a few days and have online work that needs to be done, you’re going to want to have a strong and reliable backup plan.

One of the best things to do is to know of or find someplace that does have power. It could be a public place like a library or a friend who was fortunate enough to not be affected. Wifi may not always be an option, so having a spare ethernet cable can be very handy. Some people have generators as a backup. If you can afford one, they might be helpful, too. It all depends on your needs in any given situation.

As I said, the weather can be very unpredictable sometimes, and with events such as a power outage not being a very everyday experience, it’s easy to fall into a sense of security that might not always be there for you when life happens. Obviously, we can’t try and plan out every possible scenario that might or might not happen, but it’s good to take some of the more major and realistic issues such as a power outage and plan out a least a few good alternatives for getting around it.