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August 17, 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?
My girlfriend, Leslie, and myself were walking our English Bull terrier, Sydney, and so missed the shutdown. Lights out is regular in the near Toronto rural community so we didn't thiunk much was going on. At 8pm Leslie phoned me from the ICU at Sunnybrook to tell me the news that all the day shift was being kept in the hospital.
I was reading using our standby lamp and broke out out lights and cooked on a camping stove.
Across the road my neighbours had one light for two houses and were listening to the radio in their car. They were very happy to recieve three of my extra flashlights.
This shows that most are terribly unprepared to deal with any crises. Many in Toronto had no mechanical can openers.
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Cause unknown but I wonder why terorism was ruled out when the cause is unknown (August 19th)
What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Part of life where I live. Its no big deal.
Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Neither was significant
Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
Size and length.
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
Slept badly as the cat's were very wired. Related to cause??
What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
It became worrying.
How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Worst was 4 hours. This one was 12 hours (we were lucky) but knowing so myuch of modern life was turned off was concerning.
What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
I remeber hearing about the 1977 looting on UK TV.
Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Yes (please explain)
If yes, please explain:
Consumerism is awful. Not watching TV limited the impact of this blackout and meant I am used to reading instead of watching game shows and ads.
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 #279, The Blackout History Project, 17 August 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/279/>.
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