Cat doors, telescopes and cell phone towers


©Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management

We had a power cut for two and a half days. We survived. The food in our freezer and fridge didn’t. The cause was a fire at a power station. My emergency mode kicked in and I found torches, candles, the portable gas burner and canisters, and the emergency radio. We found batteries and matches. We got wood in to heat the house with the fireplace. We got sorted. We realised that the back up generator was luckily in the front entrance. We had planned on putting it in the garage out of the way but we never got around to it. The garage door is electric so we couldn’t have gotten inside. It wasn’t life threatening for us. From the luxury of a 1st world country we experienced what people in some 3rd world countries experience on a daily basis. It gave us time to stop and think.

Emergency Survival Kit
How did we do?

  • Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch
  • Radio with spare batteries
  • Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.
  • First aid kit and essential medicines
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Pet supplies (if applicable)
  • Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
  • Face and dust masks
  • Basic phone (suggested)

I can say that we had all of these items however I must point out that we took some time to get our hands on them. The only things we actually used were the torches, phone, radio and batteries. Candles are not recommended in an earthquake for the danger of fire but we used them in the black out at night. Candle light dinners are quite lovely even in a blackout.

If you need medical help dial 111 in New Zealand.

Power out? Traffic lights don’t work, chaos on the roads, especially at night.
If you have electric gates or garage doors you won’t be able to go far anyway.

In an emergency the radio will broadcast the situation and suggestions of what to do. The following radio stations below broadcast for the Civil Defense in emergencies in Auckland:

RADIO frequencies:
Radio New Zealand: 101.4FM or 756AM
Newstalk ZB: 1080AM 89.4FM
Classic Hits: 97.4FM
More FM: 91.8FM
Radio Live: 100.6 FM or 702 AM

Know where to turn off gas, water and power if necessary.
Check your neighbours and see if they are okay.

Notes to Self:
Emergency items shouldn’t be stored in the garage.
Inverter generators need both oil and fuel. This needs to be prepared BEFORE a disaster. Only use OUTSIDE. They are noisy so keep usage to daylight hours.
Keep the freezer and fridge doors closed to keep the temperatures as low as possible in a power cut. You can add ice to the fridge if there is space.
Fill the bath up with cold water just in case there is a problem with the water supply. Chilled Savingnon Blanc? Drinking, washing, dishes.
Have two forms of heating for your house.
Stock up on firewood a season ahead of time so you guarantee dry wood.
Have surge protectors on electronic goods ie. computers, TV, stereo,…
Unplug as much as you can so that when the power comes on there won’t be a surge.
Portable gas stoves with gas canisters or a gas BBQ are useful in an emergency.
Candles need to be lit before it gets dark. Torches/electric lamps are safer. Candles more primal or intimate.
Basic phones are needed if there is a phone connection is working, cordless phones don’t work in an emergency.
Cell phone towers also have power cuts and so cell phone reception may not work in an emergency.

RESULTS: For 2+ days we managed okay but if it was for longer we would not be so comfortable.

Store emergency goods in an easy to reach place. Make sure everyone in the house knows where they are.
Have plenty of batteries for torches and radios, phone charging.
Prepare torches before it gets dark. Prepare dinner before it gets dark. Prepare and do as much as you can before it gets dark.
Solar power devices are handy for charging small devices.
Have enough water for 3 days, drinking, washing, cooking. Fill the bath with cold water.
Have enough canned foods to be self sufficient for TWO weeks. Remember the can opener.
If you have a burglar alarm or magnetic gates the back up batteries will need replacing.
Create good habits in daily life so that when an emergency strikes you will be prepared.

Cat doors are useful with generators for running electrical cords from the generator to inside the house.
Cell phone towers lose power too so cell phones don’t always work. Don’t expect to be able to communicate via cellphone.
Emergency radios are brilliant! Ours has a wind up handle in case the batteries run out.
Use a telescope at night to see the stars without the light pollution during a blackout. Next time!
I do not panic in an emergency.

Get another load of firewood.
Put together an Emergency Get Away Kit for if we need to evacuate the house in a hurry.
Find a place for the Get Away Kit.
Request an annual burglar alarm check.

Civil Defence New Zealand
Get Ready Get Thru
Auckland Civil Defence

The Temptations – Get Ready


6 thoughts on “Cat doors, telescopes and cell phone towers

  1. We get the odd power cut here, usually for an hour or so, and I have a good lantern to work with. We go with the flow – North Cyprus is a developing nation, quite poor, and in the nearly 3 years we have been here the power cuts have dropped drastically. Even so, an hour or two with no power is no great hardship. We have gas for cooking too. And I often think of those on our doorstep in refugee camps or with really long power cuts in Iraq or Palestine and wonder how they manage. But you should see the whingeing that comes on from ex-pats here, you’d think it was the end of the world instead of a minor inconvenience! I’m happy to count my blessings given the events in this region and the huge numbers of refugees.

    • We don’t know how lucky we are. Here on the other side of the world we have a peaceful society that is economically stable, touch wood. We know little of first hand experiences of the hardships that the refugees must endure on a daily basis to try to get basic necessities of life, food, clothing, water, shelter and a safe environment. What we know is only from the tele.
      I don’t imagine Cyprus to be the way you describe, my images are more of a romantic nature, great food, beautiful beaches and pristine waters. I don’t imagine power cuts. Reality is often different from the perception.
      As cliche as it sounds, I’ll still say it anyway, I wish for peace. I wish for people to get on with their lives and put down their arms and be the best fathers, husbands, neighbours, brothers, sons they can be. I know women are fighting too but we know who make the decisions. Life is short, where is the time for hatred of another? I can never see a solution to the unrest.

      • Thanks for the reminder – I ate what emergency food I had; it was close to expiring. The power went out a few months ago for 8 hours. The electric co. hadn’t maintained the lines in our alley and chunks of insulation fell off. Reassuring. What bothered me most was no internet! I have a pay-as-you-go phone and it worked fine. Also, I keep solar lights, battery lights, a hand crank flashlight and radio. Candles will keep a small room warm. And 5 gallon containers of water – more important than anything else. Your toilet should work, or buy an RV port-a-potty. I live in the zone of immediate annihilation around the Yellowstone caldera, so preparation for that is not needed! LOL

        Under the “People are stupid” heading, why, why, why are we on these enormous power grids? Small towns and farms used to generate their own power! It’s time to decentralize and go with local solar, wind and biofuels, water power, geothermal – whatever works in a particular location.

      • I didn’t mind going without a bath but I really missed access to internet. Go figure!

        Our large water tanks for an emergency are in the garage. Out of the way and impossible to get to unless I break windows. We will have to think of a better place. This time they weren’t needed but if it were a real disaster it is not the best place.

        I would love to be self sufficient with power and with my own vegetables.

        In 1998 central Auckland was without power for 5 weeks. That was well before we moved here. Glad I wasn’t living in a penthouse apartment! These power grids and becoming more and more complicated and overloaded as the cities become bigger, old systems are patched and are usually relying on one large old cable. It’s amazing how some cities have managed for hundreds of years. There is much to learn.

      • I agree: if I had it to do over, I would get a piece of land with a good well and go off grid. Where I live there is no food production; everything is trucked in. Many people do hunt for food, but keep it in a freezer. Unless you turn meat into jerky… I’m totally lazy so stock up on dense protein: I could eat beans, peanut butter, dried fruit and powdered milk indefinitely. A lot of my neighbors are Mormons who are prepared for the end of the world. I might have to make an emergency conversion. LOL

      • We hope it never has to come to that! LOL That dense protein diet would get old fast, I wouldn’t last long, I’d be a quick convert.
        I feel like peanut butter on toast now. 🙂

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