Marina Power Outage = Earthquake Dry Run

After experiencing a few small to moderate L.A. area earthquakes since moving here, I have tried to pull together a basic emergency kit for my home and my car.  The kit includes water, some dry foods (including beef jerky and peanut butter), flashlights, hand-crank radio, matches, and candles.  Last night, my part of the Marina experienced a blackout, which gave me the chance to test my disaster skills in a relatively safe environment.  The results were mixed.

First of all, I had a head start.  I had a visitor over, and we had candles burning (’nuff said about that).  When the blackout occurred (shortly after 10 p.m., I believe), first I went to find the flashlight.  I knew I had a Mini-Mag in my kitchen drawer.  However, the burning candles were in glass jars, and were too hot to hold.  So I had to feel around in the dark for the flashlight.  Fail.  Next, I went for the hand-crank radio.  I found it right away.  Haha, I’m so proud of myself.  Except, I never used the thing before.  Bringing it back into the candlelight, I saw that it had a built-in flashlight. However, a little bit of cranking yielded very little radio or flashlight time. Then I saw that the radio contained a battery compartment. I knew I had extra batteries. I fished around blindly in my “utility” cabinet and found them. Voila! I was probably one of the first in the blackout area to have music. Then I used the built-in flashlight to find my Mini-Mag.

I started thinking about some future-related issues. Could I use a portable generator in an apartment? Out on the terrace? Do they all run on gasoline? What if there was an emergency that included a power outage, and I wanted to the leave the building in my car? How would I get out of the garage, which has an electric gate? But then the power came back on, and the time for running through hypotheticals was over.

Whenever I experience a non-emergency snafu, such as a power outage, car breakdown, cancelled airplane fiight, etc., I like to think of it as a test of my wits, and I enjoy trying to solve the problem. I considered last night’s blackout to be a dry run for my preparedness in a more dire emergency, especially an earthquake. Based on the results, I still have a way to go.

4 thoughts on “Marina Power Outage = Earthquake Dry Run”

  1. No you may not run a generator in your apartment. The Carbon monoxide will kill you. Ditto running it in an attached garage. I think you would be a risk for some seepage if on a patio and the door wasn’t tightly sealed.

    As far as flashlights go I have one in every room and check the batteries often. I learned in Northridge it makes no sense to keep them in the hall closet as it wound up being in a room other than where I was when it struck.

  2. Thanks. So there’s no such thing as a small battery-powered generator to run a few lights or appliances simultaneously? We’ll have a battery-powered (“fuel cell”) car first? That seems counter-intuitive.

  3. Just get a small portable stove and eat ramen forever (even under normal circumstances too).

  4. I found one fuel cell generator for the home. Cost isn’t given which is never a good sign. The drawback is it needs a hook up to your home gas line. In Northridge I had my gas on the whole time, which was good for boiling drinking water, but my friend on Haskell closer to the epicenter was without gas for two weeks. If you lose gas the generator wouldn’t work.

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