By Lina Younes
During the recent storms, my home was one of the thousands in the Washington, DC metro area that remained without power for several days. For some reason, my home seems to be located in an area that is prone to power outages, whether in the winter or the summer. There have been many occasions in which several streets near my home have endured a blackout while other houses a few streets down in the same neighborhood stay with power at all times. How does that happen? I simply don’t know.
For years, I had resisted purchasing a generator. My main concern was for environmental reasons. Basically, I didn’t want a gas-based appliance emitting carbon monoxide and other gases close to my house. However, when we called the utility company during this last storm and they informed us that we were probably going to be without electricity for several days, we had no choice. We finally had to purchase one. So, I made sure that the generator was outside, far away from the house to minimize exposure to carbon monoxide.
I must confess that the experience during the recent power outage was not all negative. On the contrary, the first evening of the snowstorm when the power went out, we gather together around the warm chimney, got some flashlights, and started playing card games. It was great family time. When it was time to go to bed, we just snuggled in our beds with some extra blankets. By the second day, in spite of the Energy Star windows, the temperature inside started to drop beyond comfort. In light of the situation, we decided it was time to buy the generator.
After observing the necessary safety measures, at least we know that if we’re left without power again, we’ll be prepared. How was your experience during the recent snow storms? Send us your comments.
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as Acting Associate Director for Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.