Ready or Not #268: Frankenstorm Sandy — A Violent Storm Reminder

I have never been so happy to be in Utah as I am right now; or at least not living back east along the coast.

‘Frankenstorm’ Sandy has caused massive amounts of damage in several states back east.  It has caused damage that will someday be repaired and fixed, but right now that seems like a long way off; a very long way off; especially for those living through it – right now.

In the news, I have read and heard about all of the people that are trapped in their homes and those who have even lost their homes and/or are without utilities and power. There are millions of people that are affected.  Even if they could leave their homes where would they go and how would they get there?  The gas stations have no gas and only a few subway cars are able to run.  Not to mention the water and debris in the streets.  What a mess.

Many people have shared their stories of their lack of preparedness and how they are now suffering.  Granted, even if you have prepared ahead of time, it is still going to be difficult to go through a monster storm, but not as tragic.  Is the government going to help individuals and families?  Not really.  They will help somewhat with the city’s most critical needs, but one-on-one help historically hasn’t happened – and it won’t happen now.  To even get the faintest hope of help, you will most often have to stand in long lines; fill out insanely aggravating forms that won’t help you and meanwhile you are getting more and more frustrated because nothing is happening.  I’m sounding a bit cynical aren’t I?!

Besides that, it is your responsibility to provide for your own family’s protection and survival.  You shouldn’t pawn that responsibility off to another – especially a politician or government agency.  Of course we can’t all do everything and some have special needs, but that is where a sense of community and neighborliness comes in to play.  Share your talents and accept help when you are offered.  But don’t just sit there forlorn and wonder when somebody is going to come rescue you.  That isn’t a real expectation and it is a very selfish attitude.

If you have prepared ahead of time with emergency provisions for your family such as clean water, food, electricity (a generator with fuel or alternative fuel to cook), appropriate clothing, alternative sanitation facilities (when necessary) and the ability to communicate with others, believe me, your life will be so much more, well, livable.

In an emergency, if you have enough of the correct provisions, the worst that the experience could be is like a miserable camping trip.  If you aren’t prepared, then your experience will be more like living in H-E-double toothpick!  And who wants to be there?

Yesterday, one of our local news stations had a story about getting our families prepared.  Reporters usually do a pretty good job presenting this topic, but some of the stuff that was talked about didn’t go far enough and it was pretty superficial.  Okay, I will forgive them because it was only a 30 second clip and it did help people to at least start thinking about preparedness.  Now if those same people will follow through and get prepared, well, that would be wonderful.

The newscaster’s first concern was if the power were to shut off.  But it was okay because he whipped out his trusty flashlight.  Of course you need back up batteries and he talked about that and offered several other light solutions (a small flashlight with a built in generator, candles and such), but one thing that he didn’t mention was that you can conserve your resources and use less light resources if you place the light in front of a reflective surface.  Place a candle in front of a mirror and you will get brighter light, a far more illuminating light.  If you don’t have a large mirror handy in the room you are in, just take a cookie sheet and cover it with aluminum foil, shiny side out, and use it to reflect more light.

Another discrepancy that I noticed was the stove.  He pointed to the stove and said that it wouldn’t work without electricity.  That would have been correct if it had been an electric stove, but it wasn’t, it was gas.  If the power goes out you can still use your gas stove.  All you have to do is have some matches or a lighter.  The lack of electricity does not affect the flow of natural gas, nor does it affect the ability to open the gas valves.  The only thing that it won’t do is do an automatic start – that is where the matches come in.

Now, don’t do anything foolish like use the gas stove to try to heat your house because that would be downright dangerous.  But don’t worry if you cook with it and prepare meals for your family.

Just because you may not be in a crisis now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prepare for one because chances are you will be involved in one someday.  So get prepared now and stop putting it off so that when you meet your ‘Frankenstorm,’ you can beat it instead of it beating you!

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