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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Blackout

     For a project in writer's craft a few months ago we wrote articles and designed a magazine. One of mine happened to be about preparing for winter blackouts; the tips learned from the reearch process were especially handy during the last month's ice storm. Our group chose to make our magazine called "Seasonal Apeel" on a website called jilster, and this is the print preview of the article entitled "Blackout".

     Over a decade ago on August 14, 2003, a series of power surges caused the biggest blackout in North American history.
     Just before 4:11 PM, a 12-second power surge spread across the United States and Ontario. This resulted in the loss of 61,800 megawatts of electricity with the shutdown of over 100 generating plants in eight states and Ontario. Over 50 million people were affected by the loss of electricity.
     To deal with the blackout, the provincial government of Ontario issued a Recovery Strategy which included operating essential services only with backup power. This came to known as the Northeast Blackout. However, this doesn’t even hold a candle to the North American Snowstorm of 1998.
     From January 4th to 10th, 1988, Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec was hit with three consecutive massive ice storm fronts that not only dropped power lines and electrical systems, but also forced over 100 thousand people to seek shelter.


     Be Prepared
     It is rare to have a blackout on such a large scale, but it’s always good to be prepared. Here is a list to help you to be prepared, especially for winter losses of electricity due to snowstorms.
     Build an emergency kit. FEMA recommends building a kit of basic necessities including enough food and water to last you and your family for at least 72 hours.
    A teacher once advised his students to eat the ice cream and cook frozen meat first in the case of a blackout. I remember my dad coming home in shock after his trip to the grocery store during the Northeast Blackout. The power had only been out for one day, but survival instinct must have came over a few people as some people became almost aggressive in the bottled water aisle. The moral of the story: keep a supply of canned food and bottled water.
     Keep your gas tank at least half-filled.
     Be familiar with the manual release on your garage door if it opens using electricity.
     Power up rechargeable batteries and make sure they are usable on a regular basis. If you’re really into the idea of being off the grid, independent, and greener, you may want to consider renewable alternative energy sources such as a wind turbine or solar panels.
     Keep cozy. Although Ontario is not typically as cold as the Canadian stereotype, it is especially important to be prepared to keep warm during the winter. During blackouts temperature regulation may be difficult, so make sure each member of the family has their own winter clothes, as well as warm blankets or sleeping bags.
     If you have a wood-burning fireplace in your home (not the gas fireplaces) then be sure to keep a supply of firewood. A fireplace can be used as a source of heat and light, and a way to cook food. You can also keep candles to use as light sources.
     You also may also to keep board games, cards, and other things to do with your kit to pass the time.



References
FEMA. "Blackouts." Home. Government of Canada, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ready.gov/blackouts>.

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