North End power outage illustrates tech dependence

A squirrel sent us back to the Stone Age on Monday morning. Yes, in this sophisticated society in which we are traveling to explore other planets, map the human genome and teach our children how to use computers before they can use the potty, a squirrel can still rock our world.

Granted, only a third of the above is happening right here in the North End. But it’s the principle of the thing.

Sometime between 8:38 and 9:46 a.m. Monday, downtown Poulsbo, Poulsbo Village and areas along State Route 305 lost electricity. Why? According to Puget Sound Energy, it didn’t take long for two PSE servicemen to figure out that a squirrel got the munchies, bit into a fuse, and off went the electricity.

More than 1,800 homes and businesses were left in the dark for about an hour.

The power outage hit at an odd time in the morning — just as folks were starting their workweek, getting into their morning groove, caffeine pulsating through their veins. They were just about to become productive.

Then, a flicker. Office workers everywhere had just enough time to panic, save what they were working on, then watch, helplessly, as their screens went blank. To recap: Flicker. “Hit save, hit save.” Power gone. From Poulsbo to Bedrock in nothing flat.

Those same office workers sat, eyes glazed over, while they realized there was work to be done. The work was in their computers, but there was no way to get at it.

It’s times like these that make us realize that we’re just as dependent on our computers as Neo was on the Matrix. We’re lost. If it weren’t so funny it’d be partially pathetic.

It’s also an eye-opener and a bit of a wake up call.

What if the power hadn’t of been restored? What if it weren’t a squirrel ... if it was an earthquake or another natural disaster of some sort?

We wouldn’t have gotten off so easy, that’s for sure.

This is a good time to pose the question: If a disaster strikes, will you be prepared to fend for yourself and your family until help arrives?

Is there a disaster kit in your house stocked with necessities like water, batteries, flashlights, blankets and enough food to feed your family for at least three days?

If so, cool.

If not, why not?

If your excuse for not being ready if a natural disaster strikes is that you don’t know what you’ll need, here’s a quick fix. Go to the American Red Cross Web site at www.redcross.org and click on “Preparedness.” There you’ll find a comprehensive list of what to pack in your disaster kit, as well as a plethora of information on what to do, who to call and how to react in the event of an emergency.

You can never be too prepared.

There’s no telling when a squirrel might get the munchies again.

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