When hurricane Ida hit my area, I lost power for almost 4 days. The power went out Sunday night and came back on early Thursday morning. During that time, communications had gone down, it was extremely hot, and my cat almost died of heatstroke. We were lucky.
Towards the end of the second full day without power, communications were about 80% restored and the internet was moving from spotty to almost stable. I was able to get online and share what I’d been going through. I saw that my friend and colleague here at CleanTechnica, Jennifer Sensiba, tagged me in a thread between Ford’s Mike Levine and Janie Garb, who asked Ford to send its electric generator F-150s to New Orleans to help during the disaster. Mike replied that there were six trucks on the way down, and then Jennifer tagged me.
Where is she located?
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) September 1, 2021
I sent them my address and the plan was that if the power wasn’t restored, Ford would send the generator F-150 to my address to get us some cool air the next day. However, due to the roads being blocked, Ford had a bit of a delay and Mike said that the trucks would be there by Thursday instead of Wednesday. Mike also said that Baton Rouge was expected to get power back sometime on Wednesday, but just in case, he set aside a truck for us.
— Johnna Crider (@JohnnaCrider1) September 1, 2021
During the disaster and the ensuing aftermath, no one had given an estimate as to when the power would be back on — in fact, we were told it could be out for weeks. I told my neighbors Mike’s news, and at the end of the evening, we hoped that he would be proven right. I fell asleep on my mattress in front of my open door trying to breathe the sticky air. At about 1:30 in the morning, I was woken up by a loud bang and the air conditioner powering on. About 45 minutes later, my two cats, who were struggling with the heat, were playing as if nothing had happened.
They also seemed to have forgiven me for putting them outside in a crate and hosing them down with lukewarm water.
We have power, @mrlevine! It came on around 2 AM.
— Johnna Crider (@JohnnaCrider1) September 2, 2021
Some Updates On Ford’s Disaster Relief Efforts
Another friend and colleague from here at CleanTechnica, Paul Fosse, asked for an update. I replied and tagged Mike, who shared how one Ford F-150 generator was being used to run an electric fuel pump. The fuel was needed for home generators. He also added that Calvin Braxton Ford used an F-150 Pro Power Onboard equipped truck to power a barbecue. They cooked enough food to feed over 1,500 Lockport residents. FEMA was also involved with a station to help with cleaning equipment and supplies.
Calvin Braxton Ford used a F-150 Pro Power Onboard equipped truck to power a barbeque event over the past weekend where they fed over 1,500 Lockport residents. FEMA also set up a station adjacent to his barbeque to pass out supplies and cleaning equipment.
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) September 15, 2021
Mike added that Team Rubicon has several trucks and that there are more coming.
I’ve had a couple of friends ask me about how I felt about Ford helping when Tesla didn’t (their words, not mine). I don’t know if Tesla itself did help in some way. But I do know that SpaceX was in St. James Parish helping out. Also, the Tesla community helped by donating to disaster relief organizations such as the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. They also helped my own community and me. We fed over 150 families and provided them with $25 Walmart gift cards. I think the total amount raised was around $8,000.
It’s important to understand that during disasters, we need to put aside our differences and come together. I advocate for clean energy, but I understand the necessity of fuel during times when we have no power. In order to help our planet, we need to make sure we are able to do our part. When you’ve been impacted by a disaster, however, you need to survive.
We all have morals and ideals that we believe in and these shape who we are. However, in some cases, we may have opposing ideas with others. During times of disasters, there is no place for who is right, who is wrong, why this person or company you disagree with is wrong/right, etc. When lives are on the line, we need to unify to help those in need.
It’s a helpless feeling when you watch your cats almost die of heatstroke knowing you’re doing all you can to keep them cool. And I only went through roughly 4 days of this. There are still people without power even now.
I’m grateful for Ford, Tesla, SpaceX, the banks that have donated, my friends who have donated, Walmart, and everyone else who unified to help the communities of southeast Louisiana recover from Ida.
Thoughts On Clean Energy, Climate Change, And Disasters
We, and I’m speaking from experience here, need to be better prepared. Someday, I may have to move. Until then, we need to prepare ourselves for all the impacts of these storms. I’m saving up for a solar-powered generator. I want to get one for myself and encourage my neighbors to try to get one. They are around $1,500 or so on Amazon and they would help us stay cool during power outages.
Baton Rouge gets these storms from time to time, but I think Ida and Delta were the worst. With Delta, it was the howling winds that got me, emotionally. With Ida, we were really, really, really lucky. The storm turned north at the very last minute, putting us on the west side instead of the east side as projected. The east side of a hurricane or even a tropical storm is the most deadly side. And as I write this, we are dealing with Nicholas. Baton Rouge had flooding in a lot of areas yesterday. Areas even further south had it worse.
Now is the time to find a way to deal with the aftermath of disasters and try to do so sustainably. I can’t afford a Tesla Powerwall or solar — and neither can my landlady who owns my home. The house is over 100 years old and would have to be rewired. But I can save for a solar generator. I could perhaps use it during the summer to lower my electric bill as well. And when disaster strikes, we can use solar to recover faster.
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