Power is a very important thing today because we count on electricity to keep us safe and comfortable. Without electricity, you can't use any electrical appliance. For many people, the furnace and running water don't work during a power failure. Even if the central heat uses gas or oil, you may use an electric fan to circulate the heat. Your water may depend on an electric pump to bring it into your home.
Power failures can be a disaster if they last more than 24 hours because the food in a refrigerator or freezer can defrost and spoil. Without enough heat, some people who aren't strong and healthy can get very sick or die. One of the more common effects of a power outage is that you have no lights except flashlights or gas lanterns.
Nick's yard in the ice storm of '99
People lose power when:
- Lightning strikes a telephone pole as shown above
- Ice becomes too heavy on the power lines
- Trees get too heavy from snow, ice or rainstorms and they fall over on the power lines
- Earthquakes or other natural disasters can break the lines
- Renovations and home construction can cause disruptions in power supply
Here's what happens to Sam when there is no power:
The stove does not work so we can't have any hot food. The refrigerator does not work so we're not supposed to open it and let the cold air out because the food might spoil. The computer does not work, so I can't do ThinkQuest. The TV, VCR, stereo, dishwasher, the washer and dryer stop working as well. Worst of all, our heat and air conditioning don't work so the house gets freezing cold in the winter and hot in the summer. The lights don't work so, when it gets dark outside, it's very dark inside, too, and we need to use candles and flashlights. The pump and aerator for my fish tank stop working, so if the power goes out for very long, the water has too much ammonia and not enough oxygen for the fish, which will make them sick.
Here's what happens to Nick when there is no power:
I sort of like losing power because I have to be resourceful. Our family is on well water that has an electric pump, so when the power goes out, we can't flush the toilet, we have no water for drinking, cooking, washing the dog, the dishes, or the clothes. We need electricity to start the oil burner and blow the hot air throughout the house. In order to cook, we need to use the camp stove. In order to get light, we need to use gas lanterns and flashlights. We can't use the computer (except charged laptops) or the portable phone. Finally, I can't play any music except the radio which doesn't always have good music on. As a result, we have to entertain ourselves by playing our own musical instruments and reading good books by the candlelight.
What happens to you when the power fails?
Tell us and the rest of the world what happened when your power went out!
You can send exciting stories, lists of problems, or anything else related.
We also have the list of all responses.
Due to unfortunate misuse of this forum, direct entries to the list are no longer permitted. However, if you have experiences that you would like to share, you can email them to our coach. We will then review them, and, if appropriate, post them. Thanks!
How many things on this list do you have in case of a power failure?
- Portable Coleman lantern or battery operated lantern
- Camp stove with fuel
- Portable kerosene heater
- Good wood for your fireplace
- Candles, candlesticks and matches
- A laptop if you are doing ThinkQuest during a power outage.
- Fresh water