14 August 2013

10th Anniversary, Great Power Blackout

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the great Power Blackout that saw much of eastern North America plunge into darkness. The outage prompted emergency declarations, disrupted transit service for days and left millions with little to no electricity for days.  At 4:11 p.m. today, it will be exactly one decade since the power went out for more than 50 million people — the largest blackout in North American history.

I remember that day and this Blackout so well.  I was returning home in the late afternoon after having a litter of 10 puppies (our Sasha-Nova litter born June 26, 2003) get their ID tattoos done at a vet clinic in Hillsburgh.  While driving home, I noticed several traffic lights were out but thought the situation was just local.  The moment I arrived home, my husband greeted me with the news about the power outage and the feeling shared by many that it could be another terrorist attack.  Remember, this was August 2003 and the memory of September 11, 2001 when Al Qaeda attacked the twin towers in NYC was still all too fresh and painful in our memories.

Well, we soon learned it wasn't a terrorist attack but a serious power outage that in our case, lasted 3.5 days.  With ten rambunctious 7-week old Vizsla puppies to feed and clean up after as well as several adult dogs, it was NOT fun!!  And having to let them outdoors at night to potty with only a flash light to keep track of the pups was downright terrifying.  I constantly worried about coyote dangers or the pups wandering off into the woods and getting lost. 

And since our property is a rural one, we are on a well.  Guess what?  A well pump won't work without electricity so we were without running water as well during that time.  In our case, that meant NO flushing the toilets either!! And it was stinking HOT too at night and during the day and we were sweltering!  Until a situation like this occurs, you don't realize that just about EVERYTHING depends on electricity. 

The puppies and dogs survived - as far as they were concerned, life was pretty 'normal'!  Somehow, we humans survived although it was hell for several days.  Some areas were without power for even longer than we were.

Now, we always ensure we have lots of flashlights and batteries on hand as well as a supply of bottled water in the house and if we have time, we need to fill the bathtubs full of water to use to flush the toilets.  Lessons learned!  And I sure hope we never experience another blackout like that one 10 years ago.

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