Thanks for the comments and thoughts about what needs to get done when the power goes out at the Museum. From reading your comments on the last post, I think you got the picture of what’s needed. While it’s true in the real world wild animals don’t need power, it’s not the same for the captive critters, or critter care-takers. Many animals do just fine, and many exhibits do just fine too, but there’s still a lot to take care of.
There’s a sheet in the Keeper Manual that can help: The Four Fs of power outages. Fish, fridges, freezers, and fences. These are the main things we think about:
- 1. Fish: moving water provides oxygen for them. Without power running the pumps, the fish don’t get what the need to breath. We have battery powered aerators that we use when the power goes out.
2. Fences: There are electric fences for the bears, wolves, and lemurs in Explore the Wild. Power won’t be out there on Monday, but it’s something we have to deal with if the electric wires on the fences are down.
3. Freezers: We keep food that needs storing- thousands of dollars in in mice, rats, bird of prey diet, and more. When power goes out for short periods, we just don’t open the doors (also, we make sure we completely fill the freezers ahead of time so they hold in the cold better). We’ll make sure to run our freezers off a generator.
4. Fridges: Besides food, we keep some medicines in our refrigerators. (Katy knows that when the lemur TB tests come in we want to make sure we “save the meds” in case of a power outage because it is expensive and difficult to get). We need to make sure we open our doors as little as possible, but we’ll run what’s needed off a generators too.
(These aren’t enough extension cords…I have to keep gathering more from around the Museum).
These Four Fs are not everything. (I think I’ll change the sheet to 6 Fs…)
The fifth F should be Freezing: Temperature in general is a big deal for some animals. Our reptiles need heat to stay healthy, and live! I’m hoping that the temperature in the building will hold, but if it is going to be super cold on Sunday/Monday, we’ll run some heaters off the generator as well. The power won’t be out at lemurs, but they are another group of animals that we have to make sure stay warm enough.
The sixth fifth F should be Flashlights, or Fbatteries, as we use them a lot when the power goes out. We always keep a lot of batteries on grounds for the aerators, but I’ll make sure we have extras as the Keepers will have to take care of the indoor animals in the dark.
There’s also a difference between the power going out for one hour, or one day, or one week. I’ll tell you some other time about what we did in the 2002 December Ice Storm or after Hurricane Fran when power was out for five days!