Preparing your blog for emergencies
As I went to finish and publish my post yesterday, the power went out. In fact, at one point most of Toronto and all of Mississauga, our neighbouring city, had no power. The streetlights weren’t working, and while I have about four hours of battery life on my computer, without internet I couldn’t actually post anything.
Yesterday happened to feature Toronto’s largest rainfall in many, many years, with more rain in just a few hours than we usually get in the entire month of July. Our power stayed out all night, subways didn’t run and one GO Train was half submerged in one of the many rivers surrounding our city. Power returned very early in the morning—some would have considered it late at night—and the internet came on just over an hour ago.
Of course, this was nothing compared to the three day blackout that took out the entire GTA in August 2003, but it certainly got me thinking about what systems I need in place for my blog in case something similar happens again, and what I need to survive without electricity in general.
So instead of the post I had originally written to get The Dabbler started, I’ve decided to share a list of things I need to have in case of emergency. If you haven’t thought about this in a while, now is the time. Don’t wait until there is an emergency to get these things, because if you do, you could end up miserable, hungry and trapped halfway across the city—which is pretty much how I found myself last night.
So what safety measures am I taking before there’s another big blackout? Check them out:
Schedule posts in advance. I really should have three weeks worth of posts written and scheduled in advance at all times. This way, if my power goes out for a day or two, my blog is still active and your experience of The Dabbler isn’t marred. My emergencies shouldn’t change the way you experience this blog. On Thursday I’ll be sitting down and writing as many blog posts as I can pump out in a single day to make sure that this happens, and that you don’t suffer the next time I have a blackout.
Carry snacks. Another thing I need to do is make sure I always have something to snack on. In our modern day world, you don’t think of food as something that’s hard to get, but when the power’s out all over your city, you’ll be going hungry. Grocery stores close without power, and most people have electric stoves, meaning they can’t even cook in a blackout. So I need to make a conscious effort to carry around snacks that don’t need to be cooked, even if it’s just cereal bars.
Bring my flashlight everywhere. In the city, you don’t think of yourself as always needing a flashlight, but you never know when you will. It doesn’t need to be a particularly big or powerful flashlight. In a blackout, even a little bit of light can make a big difference. You’ll probably want a big one for home though, especially if you have a basement that might flood.
Have a back up way to access the internet. I need to make sure I have a way to let my readers and clients know what’s going on and why I haven’t been online. This will probably look like using someone else’s smartphone, as I do know a few people whose data plans still let them go online during the storm. Every online business person should have a plan if the power goes down, even if it’s just someone they trust who lives elsewhere and can contact people for them.
Have money in the real world. Without power, ATMs and Interac machines simply don’t work. It’s a good idea to always keep cash on you. An ideal amount would be enough for a cab ride home—that would have been a lifesaver last night, when the subway wasn’t running and there were delays everywhere.
Those are just a few ideas, and the things I’m going to be focused on building over the next couple of months. There are tons of other things that can be done to prepare for a blackout or other big emergencies, but these five things are key for anyone who works online, lives in a city and relies on public transit.
Are you prepared for emergencies? Will your business survive if you go offline for a couple of days? Please leave comments on the original post at The Dabbler.