Power outages hits BRF

Students, teachers adapt to changes


When a county-wide power outage hit Black River Falls, many students and teachers were without power and had to adapt in many different ways.

Having a power outage for a day caused many challenges, including losing a lot of heat that was within the house before the power outage. High school history teacher Michael Shephard had a whole family to take care of and make sure they were warm during the night.

“To make sure we stayed warm throughout the night, we kept our fireplace stoked all day and into the night,” said Shephard. “We then relied on warm beds and heavy blankets.”

Having animals throughout the power outage was also a major challenge that many had to overcome. Even though animal owners couldn’t turn back on the power, they did what they could.

“We have a pretty large water tank in our basement so we could get the dogs and cats water,” said junior Charlie Severson. “The biggest issue with the animals was the fish because their filter and heater weren’t going to work, obviously, but we just hoped for the best and kept feeding them.”

After having a power outage, many started to prepare in case there was to be another outage anytime in the future.

“After we had gone 24 hours without power, we went out to find ways to keep our house warm. We ended up purchasing a space heater as well as a generator,” said senior Jayme Koenigs. “After getting power back, we started to collect water in milk jugs in case it were to happen again.”

Having no electricity caused fridges and freezers to stop working. Since this happened, many are trying to prevent this from happening if there was another power outage.

“We lost a LOT of food from our fridge and had to throw 75% of the fridge’s contents away,” said Shephard. “Hopefully, we will have our generator connected by then and will not have to worry about ruining food. Otherwise, we have coolers that we would use if needed.”

There was another big storm that was coming in about a week after the first storm that took people’s power for a day or more. Knowing this, Severson started to prepare for the worst.

“Knowing there could be another power outage after the first one, we first set up our new generator so we wouldn’t have the same issue with the fish,” said Severson. “We also went and showered at our family’s house just in case.”

Koenigs started to adapt when she was without power. She used natural resources to help keep all food not spoiled.

“While we had no power, we used lots of blankets to keep ourselves as well as our dogs warm,” said Koenigs. “We also started transporting food to our garage as a natural fridge.”

Having a family, Shephard’s children had a lot of different reactions to the power outage.

“My 3-year-old did not care, 6-year-old was scared it would never turn on again, and 8-year-old was worried about other people who might be suffering,” said Shephard.

One of Severson’s worries was ensuring her dogs were warm throughout the night since there was no heat within the house.

“Right before we went to bed, we would turn on our gas stove for a while to produce a little bit of heat,” said Severson. “We would also use a lot of blankets and sense the dogs were cold as well. They would cuddle up next to us and produce some body heat.”