Staged Blackouts: A Solution to Reduce Power Outage Consequences?

  • Thread starter anorlunda
  • Start date
  • Featured
In summary: Sometime last week, there was a power outage in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec. Affected businesses had to rely on backup generators.Bell Atlantic, one of the region's largest telecommunications companies, said the outage was caused by a problem with a transformer.The incident is the latest in a string of blackouts in the eastern Canadian province in recent months.In summary, a power outage can happen up to five times per day in parts of Mumbai, and that it goes almost unnoticed because the locals and businesses are so adapted, and/or so well backed-up.I once was a firefighter. In firefighter culture, frequent drills and practice are essential to assure that men
  • #36
You could start with staged blackouts given looks of warning and publicity.

The goal is not necessarily surprise, but more to let them discover that things they believed O.K. Are not. If people test their own preparedness in advance, that's fine.

Once again, compare it to Y2K. After Y2K, namely on 9/11/2001, businesses were much better prepared than they were in 1998.
 
Engineering news on Phys.org
  • #37
Id say stage drills wherever possible but keep the power on. In areas that can safely be in an actual blackout just turn off electronics and practice without power but still have the power available so if something dangerous happens such as a blizzard or storm you can just flick on your power. Basically just have speakers or something to tell people its time for a drill so if it is safe to do so they will take part in the drill but if not then they are not forced to. You can have officers and other emergency personnel going door to door to ensure people are partaking in the drill if it is safe to do so. You can also try to spread the importance of the drills through ads and such so that people will partake in it. Although the first few drills will certainly have a lack of participation so itll take a while before it becomes effective. You can also make sure it is illegal to not participate unless its not safe to.
 
  • #38
stephenkohnle53 said:
Id say stage drills wherever possible but keep the power on.

Yes an no.

The most publicized case after Hurricane Irma was the death of 14 people in a nursing home near Miami after the power went out. Every nursing home in Florida was required to have an evacuation plan, but apparently the employees of this nursing home did not know that they should have triggered execution of the plan. The type of drill you describe might have exposed that flaw.

On the other hand, consider the following. At a congressional hearing, I heard a congresswoman say, "I don't care if the power is out. All I care about is that my ATM works." She had never stopped to think that ATMs need power, and that in a power outage people run out of money (see the current news stories about Puerto Rico). Drills of the type you describe only practice the things people expect to happen (by definition, you can't drill for the things you didn't think of). They do nothing to make people become aware of their misconceptions.

In theory, you could learn to drive a car by reading a book, but we require actual driving experience before giving a license.
 
  • #39
I think an issue to consider is crime. What if someone takes advantage of the power outage in order to commit some illegal act? If so will someone try to hold the power companies culpable?
 
  • #40
Evanish said:
I think an issue to consider is crime. What if someone takes advantage of the power outage in order to commit some illegal act? If so will someone try to hold the power companies culpable?

That's certainly a possibility. The solution is to have government order the power companies to perform the drills. Government can never be held responsible for anything. They call it "sovereign immunity."
 
  • #41
Here's a thought for you...

When there's a power outage, folk usually start calling on their cell-phones, clogging the network. That's if the outage hasn't taken down the masts, too...

A close relative has a medical 'Aid-Call' system. Press wrist button or neck pendant, the base-station dials the call-centre for help. She also has several DECT cordless phones around the house. They double as intercoms, which can be really, really handy...

Took a while to get the info, but the 'AidCall' base-station has a small back-up battery, good for 8~24 hours, depending on use. It shares the land-line with the DECT base-station, which is house-line powered. No mains, no intercom. We knew that, which is why there's an old-fashioned corded phone beside the base-station...

After several power-trips, eventually traced to 'creepage' in a splashed jug-kettle, I installed a modest, wall-hung UPS unit. About the size of two shoe-boxes, its power-strip keeps the 'Aid-Call' base-station charged, the DECT base-station on-line, a hand-set charged, a couple of LED night-lights and a rechargeable torch ready for navigation, breaker location and resetting...

Although there isn't one now, a USB charger could be plugged there in moments, to keep a cell-phone, tablet, MP3 player or such alive...

The cost ? A modest 'Table for Two' with a bottle of 'House Red', then coffee to finish...
 

Similar threads

  • Electrical Engineering
Replies
17
Views
1K
  • General Engineering
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
9
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • DIY Projects
2
Replies
39
Views
8K
Replies
8
Views
939
  • Electrical Engineering
2
Replies
46
Views
6K
Replies
35
Views
5K
  • Electrical Engineering
Replies
16
Views
3K
Back
Top