Sunday, August 18, 2019

Power Outage Protocol

When the power goes out at my house I have a protocol that I go through. Well, all the power doesn’t go out, just the few circuits powered by the grid. My first concern is how extensive the outage is.

First I look to see if my neighbor across the road has power. I think they are afraid of the dark so they leave their spotlights on all night. If they are dark, then I look across the lake. That side of the lake is powered by a newer more robust circuit totally separate from my side. If they are down the outage is fairly large.

Then I pull out my battery powered radio and check the local radio stations. Those are usually still fine and often can inform me on what’s going on. There have been times when even those stations have been down. At that point I switch to the short wave band and try to get some idea what’s going on.

Now I can add the text capability of my new Garmin Inreach device. It connects directly with satellites and is not reliant on cell towers. That will allow me to contact friends and family all over the world.

At one time I had satellite Internet, but it was expensive and had a data cap. When cable Internet became available I switched to that. The one nice thing about the satellite system is that I could power it from my solar electric system and stay connected to the world. While that was nice and sometimes handy, it was too expensive to maintain both Internet connections.

Back in the days before cell phones I used to disappear out in the woods for days at a time. I had this idea that the world could fall apart with I was away and I’d never know. Maybe I read too much Science Fiction as a kid. Still, there were times when I’d get out of the woods only to find there really were significant things that happened while I was away. None of them were earth shattering, but they brought home the idea that I really was out of touch.

While I like to disconnect from the world from time to time, I like to do it on my own terms.


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