Alaska Toolkit for Safety: The parents’ guide when lights go out

My Alaska Airlines flight on Wednesday morning was the last one for a long time.

I woke up this morning to the sound of tree branches and ice whipping against the windows of my hotel room. Ensconsed in a marketing retreat for the Alaska Travel Industry Association, I have been in Fairbanks since Wednesday morning, watching and waiting as mother nature went a little bezerk. Fairbanks was nearly paralyzed for a few hours; schools were closed, the airport stopped all flights, and nobody got much sleep last night.

Snow, rain, ice, and violent wind preceded a series of power outages around the city, including Pike’s Lodge. After stumbling about with minimal assistance from my smartphone-flashlight app, I endeavored to put down in writing a revised toolkit for Alaska safety, in the event you, too bang your shins on the bed or trip over shoes left on the floor when the lights go out. Listen up, parents and others, this short list is for you:

My cozy room at Pike's Lodge, just before the lights went out.

1. Pack light. Portable light, that is. Lucky me, I discovered a little flashlight in my carry on bag, and felt much better about trying to insert contact lenses with some sort of illumination. Even better, a headlamp for every family member; they allow hands-free work and are easier for kids to manage.

2. Clean it up. I’m not generally a messy person, but I did manage to leave my shoes in a heap on the floor and a chair askance last night when I went to bed. Not always the clearest thinker early in the morning, I forgot where I put these items and thus tripped over them all on the way to investigate the deep darkness at 6 a.m. Lesson learned: Everything goes out of the path of travel before bedtime, including kids’ toys, clothing, luggage, etc.

3. Stash snacks. Gee, but I was hungry this morning, and thankfully the folks at Pike’s had arranged for a cold breakfast despite the on-off power situation. Much of Fairbanks has no power, though, so it was a good reminder to pack energy bars, an orange or two, and a bottle of water.

4. Have a plan of action. If AK Kid had been with me, I would have directed him to read a book with his headlamp and stay put in bed. Direct children to the safest place during a power outage, out of the way of injury. Pack toys and games for low-light situations. Take kids on a walk-through of hotels, too, and note the location of stairs; the way to head up or down when lights go out. NO elevators, please.

Fortunately, the wind seems to have abated a bit, and the airport is allowing flights to arrive and depart once again. The lights are back on, too, and I’m finally warmed up. It’s time to go home.

Noon on Thursday. There is an airport over there, I promise.

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5 Things Every Alaska Traveler Should Carry

May We Have Your Attention: Safety briefings for Alaska travel


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