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August 15, 2003
Which blackout(s) did you experience?
Other (please specify)
In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
IT WAS AUGUST 14, 2003 AT EXACTLY 4:11 PM, I WAS IN THE BATHROOM AT WORK WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THE LIGHTS STARTED TO GO OUT. WE WAITED A FEW MINUTES THEN DECIDED TO CALL LIPA BUT THERE WAS NO PHONE SERVICE AT ALL AND THE CELL PHONES WERE NOT RESPONDING, WE WERE CALM NOBODY PANIKED EVEN THOUGH WE COULD NOT GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR LOVED ONES. EVERYONE HEADED HOME, THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS WERE OUT, ACCIDENTS STARTED TO OCCUR, I GOT HOME SAFE. AROUND 9PM MY HUSBAND SAYS LETS MAKE A BARBEQUE, WE LIVE IN AN APARTMENT COMPLEX, WE STARTED ASKING EVERYONE TO PITCH IN WITH MEAT FOR THE BARBEQUE, SO THEY DID WE HAD A GREAT TIME, AFTER A WHILE WE DIDN'T EVEN MISS THE LIGHT.
EARLY THE NEXT MORNING AROUND 6 OR 7 AM THE LIGHTS RETURNED EVERTHING BACK TO NORMAL. RM: BRENTWOOD, NEW YORK
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
TO MUCH ELECTRICITY BEING USED, AC'S AND LIGHTS LEFT ON ALL DAY. IT WAS VERY HOT THAT DAY, THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR.
What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
THERE MIGHT NOT BE SUFFIENT ELECTRICAL PLANTS FOR THE AMOUNT OF CONSUMERS IN THE STATES.
Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Both were significant
Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
ANY THING THAT TAKES US FROM OUR REGULAR EVERYDAY LIVES IS SIGNIFICANT. TRAFFIC WE PUT UP WITH EVERYDAY BUT HAVING TO LEAVE YOUR CAR IN THE MIDDLE OF A BRIDGE IS NOT. WALKING FROM MANHATTAN TO QUEENS IS NOT NORMAL AND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVETOR OR TRAIN IS TOTALLY SCARY.
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
IT HELPED ME UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF BEING PREPARED FOR ANYTHING THAT MIGHT HAPPEN. WE SHOULD KEEP CANDLES, BATTERIES AND RADIOS, NON-PERICHBLES AND ALL OF THE ABOVE HANDY.
What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I THOUGHT THE LIGHTS WOULD RESUME IN ANY MINUTE, BUT NO THEY DIDNT.
How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
MY FIRST EXPERINECE.
What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
NOT IN MY AREA, I LIVE IN LONG ISLAND, LONG ISLAND POWER AUTHORITY (LIPA) IS OUR COMPANY.
If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
No effect / same reliance
This is how the story goes: In November of 1965 the lights went out in New York and crime rates temporarily dropped; there were widespread reports of extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers caught together in the power failure. In July of 1977, little more than a decade later, the lights went out again in New York. This time, a devastating wave of looting and arson broke out. Does this story ring true to you? Explain why or why not:
Story #247, The Blackout History Project, 15 August 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/247/>.
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