EDITOR'S LETTER: Seeing the light
November 10, 2011
I’m writing this column by hand under lamplight-a propane lantern, to be exact. For something like the sixth or seventh time this year, nature has conspired to deprive my New York City abode of electricity. Unfortunately this time the outage coincides with a rather tight deadline period, hence me under lamplight scribbling away, preparing this column for when the electricity comes back on and I can type it onto the computer and wend it on its merry Internet way.
I know what you’re thinking-you live in the nation’s largest city, where every little thing is news. How come I haven’t heard of the power going down in the Big Apple, since when such a thing has happened in the past it sometimes leads to rioting, looting, the whole “the Bronx is burning” scenario? Well, New York City is very large and has many distinct regions, mine is Riverdale, which is in the most northern part of NYC, butting tight against Yonkers. More specifically, I live on a somewhat quaint tree-lined street with a very unquaint electrical grid originally installed in the 1940s and little improved upon since. The trees on the street have not been maintained in any meaningful way over the past decade, which has led to many of them growing into and around the electrical wires. During any stiff breeze a branch or a diseased tree is bound to fall, pulling down wires along the way and shutting down the electrical current. This time, a freak pre-Halloween snowstorm was the culprit, and I have been off the juice for 10 hours and counting.
Thank God for the propane lamp, I have relied on it quite a bit the past few years-so much so that I have it stored in a place where it’s always easy to access. I also know exactly how many propane cylinders I have, and always get more when the supply dwindles to two. When I break it out, I also remember to grab an extra gas cylinder so I’m not frantically chasing down one at night when the light starts to flicker, pop and dim-all signs that it is about to run out of fuel. Believe it or not, the propane lamp and a burner I have since purchased give me untold comfort-it’s good to know that no matter how bad it gets, I’ll be able to read at night and make a fresh cup of coffee in the morning.
Which is why I’m always surprised when a neighbor comments the next day that they saw bright light coming from my window and wondering what it was. When I tell them propane lantern, they say they should get one of those, but inevitably never do, judging by the inky darkness of their windows, with the occasional flicker of a candle or circular dot of a flashlight. It astounds me-they have lived through the same outages I have, but are willing to roll the dice with candles or a battery flashlight until the electricity comes back on
Because the electricity and the lights will always come back on, right?
For me as a person living where the electricity seems to go out when someone sneezes, being prepared in this matter is a personal choice; you’re ready for the darkness or not, depending on your comfort level. As executives in the gaming industry, being prepared is really not an option for you. Quick, if the electricity was suddenly to go out across your property, what’s the first step you take to insure the safety of your guests, your staff, the business enterprise and yourself? Sure, there is likely someone in your organization who’s responsible for knowing, but what if he or she happens to be away that day?
When was the last time you studied your emergency operating and contingency plans? When was the last time they were updated? Do yourself a favor and really read them over to make sure they’re current.
Don’t be the one caught in a dark room with a dying light and nowhere to turn.