A Dark Day in Humboldt

With the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutdown behind Humboldt County — at least for the time being —the Journal asked readers to share their experiences during those hours when the region went dark. Here is a sampling of their responses.


My husband and I were fully prepared. We have a generator, extra gas, lanterns and extra batteries, plenty of food and water, a barbecue, a propane stove and water heater, power packs for the cell phones and a battery powered radio and scanner. Because of this, we could enjoy my having a day off of work, which I was paid for."

Barbara Kapitan

People here are generally prepared to be without electricity for a night or two. With a gas stove, camping stove or a wood stove, you will be fine, as long as you aren't medically dependent on electricity.

But the question that needs to be answered is why was the Humboldt Bay area without electricity when there's a power plant right here at King Salmon? PG&E has a lot of explaining to do. Some major changes need to be made to the way our electric transmission system is managed, because extreme fire danger combined with high winds is our new normal."

Jennifer Kalt

It's interesting that people with access to resources are finding this an appropriate time to judge the preparedness of those without resources, instead of making helpful suggestions in a kind manner."

John Earl

Friends, family and community members lost wages, while some were unable to cash their checks, leaving them without money to buy food as well as ice. Folks who had food are now counting their losses and are frantically trying to make ends meet for their family. Poor, medically fragile and disabled people suffered the majority of the brunt of this 'solution.'"

Robyn Moreno

Having worked with Emergency Response Agencies for decades, in actually helping communities prepare in advance to deal with disasters, like turning off the power in the fifth largest economy on our planet, I've never seen anything approaching this level of unplanned, uncoordinated action, impacting so many, with so little coordination, where obviously needed."

Kirk Gothier

We live in the Kneeland redwoods and are used to no power in winter but ... this time our generator failed. It was 20 years old so that was a bummer. Looking to order a new 5500kw tomorrow. Lucky power came back before we lost the food in the fridge. Candlelight and oil lamps, nice fire, conversation and books to read. Great to not have TV or handi screens!"

Landy Hardy

We did just fine but I did write some notes on improvements we need to make for next time. I thought it was a good learning opportunity. The suggestions, tips help that I've seen on FB pages were extremely helpful, not to mention all the news sources keeping us informed. We also are so lucky to have such awesome neighbors who take care of each other."

Jenelle Palmer

My freezer full of halibut survived the Great Darkness of 2019. It was only 24 hours, after all."

Mel Fisher

We made a fire and read a book aloud as a family. Luckily, we have a gas stove so dinner was normal, just a little darker. Awful sorry to hear about others struggling because of it."

Angela Yvonne Forslund

We had canned foods, can openers, flashlights and batteries, a gas stove, and even hot water via gas water heater. It was a bit of a scramble to find ice for perishables, since we didn't know how long power would be out. We will be investing in a generator, I believe. It was kind of refreshing seeing so many folks out enjoying the beauty of the sunset last night. If we'd all had power, I bet a lot of those folks would've stayed home to watch the news/sports."

Joni Hanson Hammond

We took a nice drive to Crescent City where we enjoyed lunch, grocery shopping and filling up our gas tank."

Michael Camann

Our house didn't have hot water but our unattached garage did so my husband and I made a makeshift shower stall so we could shower with the garden hose. We didn't use it since the outage only lasted about 24 hours."

Johanne Mercier

I got two wonderful days off from work, my husband got a lot accomplished outside (it was his days off), our little generator was able to pull what we needed. Of course we just got electricity in our village seven years ago. A little blackout like this was nothing BUT a few years ago we were out for two weeks due to fires, generator was running day and night to keep freezers cold."

Barbara McCovey

(It) showed me how unprepared we are for an actual earthquake or other natural disaster."

Lainie Cohen

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