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Inventory Check: Electrical Items

This inventory check is a little different from the reminders to check how much toilet paper or coffee you have stored.

This time...

Make a list of everything in your home that uses electricity. That includes, of course, refrigerator, stove, TV, etc. but also includes those things that depend on rechargeable batteries.

Then, just in case you forgot anything, turn off your power. Warn the whole family ahead of time, of course, but do it for an evening or an entire Saturday.

Call it a drill, like a fire drill or tornado drill. How about calling it a "power drill"!

Decide when, making sure all family members are there. Then, when the time comes, Padlock the fridge. Bring out the sticks for roasting wienies (or vienna sausages) over the fireplace. Prepare a whole meal another way - without your power. Play board games or card games instead of watching TV or doing the Wii. Place tape over light switches. Shut off the phone. If your well is power driven, figure out an alternative. What rooms can be closed off? Where should you place duct tape so nobody will use them? Are there areas where you'll now really notice drafts of cold air? If you do this in the Summer, is it unbearably hot and you don't have access to a basement or cool area?

Do you have battery backup for your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors? If not, why not?

Did you have enough foods and drinks (especially water) to last for your experiment? Did you get bored after the first meal? Did you go directly to meal-preparation before pulling out that board game or book to read? Or talk? How about spending some of your time just talking.

Did you have enough paper products? Toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, plates, etc.

Keep track of what you figure out. Maybe a little journal or scrapbook that all participants can write in about the experiment. Take pictures, too.

What did you figure out about your dependence on electricity? Do you have alternatives to those electrical appliances and needs that you just can't do without?

Update March 11 2009 2:30 pm: When we got home around noon from my physical therapist appointment, our electricity was out. The carbon dioxide detector was beeping even tho it was on battery backup, as was the smoke detector. Poor dog and puppy were going nutso.

And then the VHTS began to panic, especially since I wouldn't let him in the refrigerator. "Why, Mom? I'm Hungry!" "I know, but we've talked about this. When the electricity doesn't work, we can't access the fridge because it will let the cold air out, and the food could spoil." "But what can I eat?" "Find something!" Then, grabbing a snack and a juice, he proceeded to check the whole house - having fits because the clocks weren't working, the microwave wouldn't work, etc.

This little experience taught ME that while our heat is natural gas, our thermostat is controlled by electricity which means it wasn't coming on. The temp in our house was 53 degrees (we keep it between 55 and 60). Just a little brisk indoors!

Obviously we need to revisit our own electrical experiment, and have yet more discussions about living without power. Yep, we can always learn more! Vikki

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