You wouldnt think youd find anything illuminating in a power outage, a bright side to the darkness.

But a recent series of outages that cut power to thousands of Oregon Trail Electric Co-operative customers offer plenty of opportunity for reflection, if not ample light.

Baker City and County residents would do well to adopt the motto of the Boys Scouts of America, Be Prepared.

And, while the green and khaki uniforms might not suit you, another scout slogan do a good turn daily is a phrase that describes a familiar way of living for small town residents.

When it comes to power outages then, take some time this fall to prepare yourself for the most dangerous season for outages deep winter.

Winter brings long nights and cold temperatures, and we use electricity to stave off the effects of both.

When the lights go off, does everyone in your household know where to find a flashlight? And do those flashlight batteries work?

What about candles and candleholders? Are they accessible and can they be used in your home without creating a fire hazard?

Households with electric heat, or gas furnaces that rely on electricity, have further cause for concern. An extended outage could turn a toasty living room into an ice box.

Make sure everyone knows the location of extra jackets and blankets, and discuss your household plans for an extended outage like you would your plans in the event of a fire.

Please, make sure that plan includes checking on your neighbors, particularly those with limited mobility or the frail and infirm.

In the event of an extended power outage, these neighbors might benefit from some help, even if its just a warming smile and a simple, How are you?

OTEC is adept at finding the problem with an inoperative line and bringing the lights back on.

But no one can foresee what wreckage a wind or ice storm might bring to our peaceful valley.

We may sound like a broken record on this issue, but its not because we doubt Baker City neighbors and their ability to look after one another.

Sometimes a reminder doesnt hurt: Theres nothing wrong with committing acts of intentional, well-planned and orchestrated kindness.