Saturday, March 26, 2011

Getting through it


A couple days ago, I was driving right when the blackout hit. I knew it was coming, but I stayed at work a little longer than I planned. I was driving knowing it could hit at any minute, and it still made me jump in the driver's seat when the green traffic light in front of me suddenly went dark.

Something sad I read in the news: a woman in her 60's was hit by a car at an intersection during a blackout (the traffic light was out, and there was no traffic policeman). So someone dialed 119, and the ambulance came within a reasonable amount of time, and took her to a good-sized hospital because she seemed to have a head injury. Well, the hospital couldn't take a CT because of the blackout, so they had to transfer her to a different hospital that was in a different blackout zone (and had the electricity to get a CT). She is currently in serious condition. Based on the information I have, I don't know who is to blame for how much, but it is probably fair to say that she might not have been hurt at all if the traffic lights were in order.

Otherwise, people are starting to get used to the whole thing, scheduling work and food preparation and baths around blackouts, and finding creative ways to get through them when they hit. My friend got a camping trailer battery and rigged it so that he could charge it while he had electricity and use the stored power during blackouts. He gets enough power to have the lights on while watching TV, which is so much better than total darkness. I have another friend who actually moves operations to his camping trailer parked outside. It would have been a great plan if he'd remembered to clean the stove. He had heat, lights, TV and a working toilet, and it would have been great if it weren't for the smell of a year's worth of dust burning. Another friend has solar cells on his roof, which is fine when it's light out but not when it's dark and you need it most.

Of course, some areas are blackout free. The area around the local Japanese Self Defense Forces base gets power during blackouts (duh, how are they supposed to run quake relief operations if their home base does not have power). And then there is where I live...probably because we're on the same grid as the local train station that gets its fair share of traffic. So when people start talking about iceboxes and rigging camping car batteries and living in trailers, I kind of sheepishly slink off...

They've re-zoned the blackouts so that there are 5 subgroups for each group, and promised to give more precise and detailed blackout schedules. Makes sense, most people can probably handle one or two 3-hour blackouts a week if they know exactly when they are coming.

And I will now sheepishly slink off.


Annie Crow said...

Oh, sweet for you.

pumpkinmommy said...

Shhhh....don't tell anyone!