The Great San Diego Blackout (Wake Up Call)

Do you want to hear a story of successfully being prepared?  After all, there are many, many stories of NOT being prepared when the blackout hit San Diego County last night.  They are everywhere- no water, no candles, nothing to cook dinner with, no generators, no gas, no maps, no communications, no walking clothes, and the list goes on.  Luck was on many people’s side last night and they need to be honest about that…

So, I make it my business to be prepared.  I teach others to be prepared.  I was on my way to a local gun range to teach handgun skills as a program of being prepared (see   You’d think I should be uber-prepared, right?  Well, let’s see…

Once I got to the range and found out they were closed, I met a student there and we decided to convoy to my house.  I pulled out my charged, 36-mile (so they say) 2-way radios to converse with.   We kept our handguns, well, handy (but legal).  Then we did a map study on our smart phones.  Amazingly the traffic links were still working and we narrowed down the 15-mile trip to one that eventually only took us 30 minutes. If the smartphone wouldn’t have worked, the maps in my truck- oh wait, I left those at the office….

Good thing I always kept the truck at no less than half full.  There were cars all over with no gas, AAA wasn’t responding, nor were tow trucks. No gas stations were working either… I did feel comfortable knowing I had a stash of gas at the house too…

Once we got home, we started preparing for darkness, with candles, lights and such. My favorite gadget of the night was a motion detection LED light that used rechargable batteries.  Whenever we went inside to get something they lit up the room perfectly. Neat…   What we didn’t like was the heat.  When the kids went to bed, they were sweating and there was nothing to do about it.  One sleep outside.

Now, having a crank radio was awesome.  Kind of.  I got a little tired of cranking it every 30 minutes, but we had great info on what was going on. AM 600 is definitely the “go to” station in an emergency.  Listening to people report on what was going on in different areas was good.  It was funny to hear a slur in a few folks speech…

The reports on the radio said we’d probably have power by mid-Friday. Not one to trust the spoken word, I still filled up my trash cans and tub with water (for drinking).  Always do things while you can (my daddy used to say).  Good thing too, some areas lost all their water.

When I looked around the neighborhood, I could see a few people with generators and a couple of houses really lit up.  Hmmm, if I was a crook, that might be a juicy target.  Other people were less visible, and some just buttoned up.  Very interesting, indeed.  I think I’d rather stay un-observed.

Well, power came on around 1am and life began to return to normal.  Almost. While I’m at the office today, my wife it making another trip to Costco for some more of the motion lights and I’m ordering her a phone charger. I’m also putting my maps back in my truck!  My big lesson is that being prepared means your preps must be near you for you to use them.

What’s your lessons learned?


4 thoughts on “The Great San Diego Blackout (Wake Up Call)

  1. A car phone charger is very important. Using the generator in a well-ventilated area of the garage, or outside the home is important due to fumes-and noise! You may want to use chains to make it difficult for someone to walk off with your generator. In Florida, even that wasn’t enough sometimes…but it usually slows things down and makes a lot of noise. Outdoors, solar security lights are very helpful. People here in Hawaii use “rain barrels” (usually in the form of trash cans) to collect water from their gutters. They use the water regularly for their gardens. It probably would work as well for dry areas, like San Diego. I’m going to have to check out those motion detector LED lights that are rechargeable…and pick up a little cook stove. Even with a generator, a cook stove can come in handy; although, we did very well in FL with just a microwave. Keeping plenty of fuel handy for cars and generators is the wisest move. Batteries, batteries, and batteries! If you’re not worried about kids, the oil lamps are very nice. Just some lessons from a hurricane-worn ex-Floridian…

  2. I meant to say it may not work as well for dry areas like SD, to have a rain barrel, but then maybe saving up some water during rainy season wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  3. Great post- those little survival radios, and car radios were the low-tech solution to getting the word. I noticed how one of the official AM/FM emergency stations wasnt on the air, and the other was like some others- continued with music or national content (KPBS). But like the 2008 Pine Fire, a bit of searching found one station (KFGO) with a radio host who stayed on and solicited call ins, passed out info, and how prepared or calm citizens calling in, with updates, provided more real time intel on the ground than the official outlets.

    • I totally agree. I got a little tired doing the hand crank thing every 20-30 minutes, but we listened to AM KOGO and knowing that they were working on it and where the power was coming up really helped. Simple, easy preparation to do, but how many of us really have a radio like this?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s