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OnStar Was Lifeline During Power Outage

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OnStar came to the aid of a Member whose power was knocked out.

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OnStar came to the aid of a Member whose power was knocked out.

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It started with a bitter cold rain. Then it changed to ice. And then the wind came. Patsy Sea was alone at her home in the country. The lights started to flicker and then everything went dark. No heat, no lights, her landline was dead, her cell phone wouldn’t work. It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.

“The porch was thick with ice and all the trees were bent to the ground from the weight of the ice,” Patsy says. “I managed to get the house door open and crawled to the car. I started my Buick Lucerne to get warm. Then I checked my OnStar. It worked clear as a bell. I always make sure I have minutes to use because you just never know when you’ll need them. I called the electric company and the phone company to report the outages. I found out most of Kentucky was down. Then I called my family. They had been frantic with worry and were relieved to hear from me. I let them know that I could get warm in the car, and that I would check with them every day using my OnStar.”

Camping out in the car

Patsy spent most of the first night in her car with the window cracked slightly. She wisely had kept her car stocked with emergency supplies like blankets and flashlights, and her gas tank was full. Her closest family lived 20 miles away. They also were without electricity but luckily had fireplaces.

Two days after the storm, Patsy’s nearest neighbor brought over a kerosene heater and a can of kerosene. Now she could cook, heat water and get some warmth in the house. But every day she went to the car to use her Hands-Free Calling*32 to contact her family. All told, Patsy was without phone service for a week and without electricity for 11 long days.

“If it hadn’t been for my Hands-Free Calling, my Buick and a kindly neighbor, I would have surely died,” she says.

Ice storm coffee

Patsy had been through ice storms and outages before and had a few tricks up her sleeve. As she says, “You have to be inventive.” She made her coffee by cutting off the top and bottom of a tin can and poking holes in the sides. She dropped the tin can over a candle, placed a pan of water on top of the can, wrapped some coffee in a coffee filter with a twist tie and dipped it into the pan of water like a tea bag.

“I can do without a lot of things,” she says, “but I can’t do without OnStar — I will not do without OnStar. It keeps me connected no matter where I am. It never lets me down. And I feel very safe and protected having it.”

Hands-Free connection

Your Hands-Free Calling system is an easy way to stay connected while you’re driving. You can make and receive calls at the touch of a button, and voice-activated dialing is convenient because you don’t have to dial when you’re at the wheel. And Hands-Free Calling is reliable because it’s specially designed for better reception and fewer dropped calls in areas of limited cellular reception.

Winter survival kit

If you live in a cold-weather area that sees a lot of snow or ice, you should always have emergency supplies in your car. Here are a few suggestions on what you should include:

  • Blankets
  • Gloves
  • Warm clothes
  • Socks
  • Boots
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • An empty coffee can to melt snow
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Shovel
  • Energy bars
  • Hard candy and gum