The Power Is Out In The Entire Country – What Do You Do?

Imagine this:

It's a quiet Saturday afternoon and you are relaxing at home.

It's cloudy outside, but no rain.

Without warning, the power goes out.

A few minutes later, you get a text that the power is out in the entire country.

What do you do?

What goes through your mind?

Do you call your family? Check on neighbors? Do you stay calm, or do you panic? ​Do you figure it's no big deal - or when you get that text do you start imagining that it's the end of the world?

This happened last week in Central America. A power failure in Panama took out power in parts of that country, the entire country of Costa Rica, and parts of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

It ​was a cloudy Saturday afternoon. My wife was at work and I was home with our 3-year-old daughter.

The power went out. But since this happens every few days, it wasn't any cause for concern.

But then I got this text from my wife:

power out in Costa Rica 2017

Here were my thoughts:

1:30 pm “Uh oh… I’ve never heard of that before… 'The power is out in the entire country'?!"

1:35 pm "OK no problem - We just need to keep the fridge closed so the food doesn’t go bad."

1:45 pm “Hmmm this could be a problem. We have food but what if the water stops working? I’ll fill up a big container of water.” (I fill up a giant water cooler bottle)

2:00 pm “If the power is out in the entire country, it will probably be out for more than a few hours. Maybe a day or two? A few weeks? Oh boy…”

2:01 pm (I text a friend in the U.S. who asked what the weather was like. When I try to look up the temperature, my phone said “no service”)

2:02 pm “No cell service. Oh no. This is a big problem. What if I can’t get in touch with Shannon? What’s happening in the rest of the country? Chaos?”

2:03 pm “Is this the end of the world?”

2:04 pm “What if the ice cream in the freezer melts before I get to eat it? I’d better eat that now before it melts.”

2:05 pm (I eat the ice cream sandwich from our freezer)

2:08 pm “That was a pretty selfish move… I probably should have been more concerned about our neighbors than the ice cream melting. I wonder if any neighbors are in trouble? Can’t think of any that are older, or that live alone…”

2:37 pm “Maybe I should call our pastor to see if the church is rallying people to go help anyone who’s in trouble?”

2:38 pm Power comes back on

2:39 pm (Sigh of relief) "Oh good, it’s not the end of the world.”

I text Shannon to let her know the power is back on.

power out in Costa Rica 2017

I learned a few lessons that Saturday. Next time there is any kind of emergency, I need to:

  • Think about others first - instead of eating the ice cream, I should think about and take immediate action to ensure that my family and neighbors are safe
  • Have a plan - and a backup plan. My wife, daughter and I need to all have a plan written down and rehearsed so that we know exactly what to do if we have an emergency
  • I need to pray. When I heard the power was out in the entire country, I should have fallen to my knees in prayer

We are grateful that this power outage was quickly resolved and we don't know of anyone that was hurt by it.

But it could be different next time - and we will be prepared.

Are you prepared for an emergency? What's your plan - what will you to prepare and to respond when it happens? Comment below and let me know.

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Papa Ben Dambman

Ben has spent his life searching for the meaning of "home", having lived in Nigeria, Philadelphia, Florida, California, Chicago, Australia and Costa Rica. He believes that "home" (whether you are a globetrotter, have lived in the same house your entire life, or don't even have a place to call home) is something more than a location... and that clearly defining what "home" means to you is essential for a thriving life.


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