Frankenstorm Preparedness

By definition, a disaster is a sudden, unplanned calamitous event that causes great damage or loss.  A key concept is that in most cases it’s sudden and unplanned.  Yes, there are exceptions.  One exception is occurring right now, with “Frankenstorm”.

As Hurricane Sandy barrels north from the Caribbean to meet two other powerful winter storms, experts said it doesn’t matter how strong the storm is when it hits land, the rare hybrid storm that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.  A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says “We’re looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people”.

People AND businesses along the east coast have had a few days now, and a couple yet to come, to get prepared before the expected storm(s) hit.  Those who are wise are either already prepared or will use this opportunity (it’s a positive word) to become prepared.  In the end, whether or not this turns out to be as severe as forecasters are saying, they will be part of the solution.  However, there will be those who won’t prepare and will simply continue to be part of the problem.  What a shame.

Knowing what I know, especially about how easy it is to get prepared, I always wonder why people chose not to prepare even in the face of the inevitable.  Several years ago, I stumbled across an article titled “The “Disaster Dozen -Top Twelve Myths of Disaster Preparedness” written by Paul Purcell.  Hopefully, those on the east coast are talking about preparedness and not using these excuses …

  • “If something happens all I have to do is call 911.”
  • “All I need is a 72-hour kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, some food and water, and a radio.”
  • “My insurance policy will take care of everything.”
  • “Nothing like that could ever happen here.”

We know from past experience that 9-1-1 may be overloaded in a large-scale disaster.  The normal few minute response times most of us have come to rely on in normal times most likely will become hours or days in a true disaster.  So we will be on our own.

We MUST prepare to be on our own for at least 72-hours, but in reality we may be on our own for longer periods of time.  Remember Hurricane Katrina?  Consider what you and your family will need for the next 7-10 days.  Did you know each person will require one gallon of water per day?  And don’t forget your pets (read my previous blog).

Check your insurance policies closely.  Call your insurance agent NOW and make sure you have the appropriate coverage’s and ask your agent what you will need to supply if you need to file a claim.  If you will need pictures and/or receipts to support your claim, you might still have time to gather these important items.  And then, make sure you store them in a safe and accessible location that won’t be affected by the disaster.  Maybe e-mail your important files to a relative in a distant city.

Lastly, why do some say things like this can’t happen here or there?  Is there a special law of science or government that makes it impossible?  In reality, bad things do happen and we have to be prepared.

So how can people along the east coast get prepared even in the face of Frakenstorm?  Check these links out from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready.gov website …

Hurricane preparedness – www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Flooding preparedness – www.ready.gov/floods

Winter storm preparedness – www.ready.gov/winter-weather

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