Published on October 2nd, 2014 | by Mark Griffin
We take Lighting for granted – Could you survive a blackout?
No phone, no light once the sun went down, no social media…
Can you really imagine what it would be like in a blackout? Try and imagine it. It would be pitch black at night with the odd torch scouring the landscape. You have no idea who is behind that torch. We would all lose the contents of our fridges and freezers in a matter of hours – except tomatoes as they can be stored for a while outside of a fridge. People would be scared and no doubt many would jump at the opportunity to raid stores and turn into anarchists. But, that is just what we have learnt from the movies about it. What is the reality?
If there was a complete blackout what would we be without? Here is a short list to get you thinking:
- Social media and news
- Computers, laptops, tablets (once battery had waned)
- Electrical appliances (microwave, kettle, toaster, electric cookers, electric sparks for gas cookers, fridges, freezers)
- Frozen and refrigerated goods would go off
- Hospital equipment
- Walkie talkies that are charged electrically
- Surveillance equipment
- Cars once they were out of petrol as pumping stations require electricity to get the fuel from their tank to yours
- Vacuum cleaners – there is a silver lining then
- Traffic Lights
- Mobility scooters and stair lifts
- Food manufacturing (nothing freshly packaged from meat, bread and cheese through to sweets, chocolate and pastries). We would have a finite source of food.
Could we adapt?
But come on we are a resourceful species we could find substitutes – right? The use of candles for light but that does bring with it greater risk of fire. We could all dust off our bikes to get around and save that fuel for cold nights. We can make fires from timber and gas lighters (or matches but gas lighters felt more of a victory). There are plenty of tinned goods to give us a healthy and nutritious diet (spam, lentils and instant mash mmmmmmm my favourite).
There is a serious note to all this though. Experts believe that blackouts are going to become more frequent. Our power grids are not in great shape and we are placing increasing demand on them. They are not anticipating full time blackouts in the near future but there is potential for blackouts over extended periods of time.
Don’t worry we have a survival guide figured out with the help of The Family Handyman.
Here are 5 top tips
1. A power inverter, which turns DC current from your car into AC current for electric gadgets. Meaning you could boil a kettle in your hours of need. Nothing like a cup of tea to change your perspective on a situation! Hope you have powdered milk in.
2. Keep some cash handy around the house because ATM’s will not be working. If some stores stay open then cash will be the only method of payment.
3. Conserve batteries with LED’s because they last way longer than incandescent lighting. Lanterns and torches that run on LED lighting will last far longer than their incandescent counterparts. They are also great for lighting paths and fire routes because of their longevity and brightness.
4. Get a radio – a battery powered or wind-up. If anyone tries to communicate with you then they will be using radio but we already knew that from Sci-fi films didn’t we.
5. Don’t let your petrol run low in your car. Keep a full tank and then you can drive during daylight to pick up relatives/friends, go and see if any stores are open and use the car to huddle in and keep warm should the need arise on a cold night!
Maybe when you are watching telly, boiling a brew, surfing your laptop and texting your friend you will spare a thought for our hard working power grids and all that they support. Without those light bulbs we are blinded. Without fuel we are stranded. Without masts we are ex-communicated. Without power we are left to entertain ourselves! Now that would be a shock to the system!