On Sept. 16 at around 7 p.m., power went out across the north side of Guilford’s campus as a result of a traffic accident on New Garden Road, which runs alongside much of the college’s campus. The outage impacted both students and faculty, turning out the lights for many in an instant. The college was quick to send out an alert, informing students of the outage and advising them to stay calm. In the North Apartments, students were quick to step outside to their balconies, both to tell other students about the outage and to enjoy the impromptu social event that the outage provided.
20 minutes later, the college sent an email stating that they had received a restoration estimation from Duke Energy predicting that power would be restored between 10 and 10:15 p.m., three hours after the outage had begun. While they stayed calm, many students were left with little to do as street lamps and other lights could no longer replace the fading daylight.
Eventually, the outage would be resolved by 8:06 p.m., two hours ahead of schedule, in a lucky break for the students and faculty involved. In total the outage had lasted about an hour, making it a minor inconvenience instead of an emergency. A longer power outage may have had bigger consequences, particularly for students who may rely on the built-in kitchen and refrigerator in their apartments for their meals.
While a power outage might seem like an inconvenience, it clearly wasn’t an issue for everyone. Matthew Poole, a junior who lives in Guilford’s North Apartments, had this to say about his experiences during the outage. “I was like… man, this sucks, I hope I don’t have to turn in my homework.” In response to being asked about if anything interesting happened, he had this to say; “I don’t think anything too interesting happened, people went out on their porches for the first time, which was cool to see I guess. But it just got- it got really dark really quick, so my roommate got some glow sticks and I got a flashlight and I just sorta hung out.” When asked for his other thoughts on the blackout, he said it was “overall, kinda fun.”
When it comes to keeping food cold during an outage, the FDA’s official website recommended the following: “Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature: The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened.”
“If the power was out for no more than four hours, refrigerated food should be safe as long as the doors were kept closed,” the website continued. “When the power comes back on, check the temperature in the refrigerator or of the food. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, eggs, or leftovers) that has been at refrigerator temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours or more. Perishable foods with temperatures that are 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below (measured with a food thermometer) should be safe, but should be cooked and consumed as soon as possible.”
While this outage in particular only lasted an hour, it can never hurt to be more prepared for future disturbances. Students should keep flashlights around their dorm or apartment and should consider having rechargeable battery banks on hand to make sure they can charge their phone and other devices to stay in contact with others. While it may be unlikely that this event repeats this year, it is important to remember that one car accident can cause a power outage that lasts for a few hours or longer.