With this “pending” ice storm on the horizon, I want to spend a little time talking about preparing for, living through and recovering from a weather event. I know that this information will come a day late and a dollar short for what is supposed to begin tonight, but there will be other weather events that will affect our lives. In some cases, where we live dictates what we must prepare for. We like to watch Alaska reality shows. What I glean from them is that a great deal of preparation must go into surviving the dead of winter. Living in Chester, Va. is not like that, but from time to time; we have a weather event that may change the way that we live for one week, two weeks, or maybe even a month.
Preparing for a weather event occurs during “the calm before the storm.” The type of weather event will dictate what needs to happen pre-event. One consideration is, will we lose power during this event? If we lose power, how long will it be out? The time to buy gasoline is before the power goes out, both for your vehicle and for gas cans that will be used to keep generators and chain saws running. If the power does go out, what will it take for you to heat your home? Do you have a supplemental heating system? If the power goes out, how will you cook food? If your plan is to use your gas grill, is your propane tank full? If the power goes out and you do not have a generator, your food may last in a closed refrigerator for about 24 hours. By the way, have you run your generator lately? During the storm is not the time to find out about a starting problem. Bottom line, the best time to take care of whatever you will need to get you through a weather event is to get it before the event hits.
Though I did not cover everything in preparing for an event, I hope that I have gotten you thinking, what must I do before this storm hits? Now we are ready to move to living through the storm or weather event. If evacuation has not been declared, we begin living through the event, based on when the event starts. Living through may be nothing more than hunkering down and staying inside for a day or two. On the other hand, you may not have that choice. Your job may dictate that you have to brave the elements to get to work. Icy roads mandate that you give yourself much more time to get somewhere. Incidentally, four-wheel drive means very little on ice. By the way, do you have something to put down on your steps to melt the ice? If your supplemental heating system is fueled by natural gas, propane or kerosene, then you must be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, where you place your portable generator is important in preventing a build up of carbon monoxide in your home. What many people fail to prepare for is that you may live through a weather event for hours, days or maybe even weeks.
The final period that I will talk about is recovering from a weather event. This phase could be nothing all the way up to months. As workers strive to restore services that were lost, some will continue to live through the event. If damage has occurred to your home, then you will need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. What if your home cannot be lived in, where will you go? The recovery phase involves returning things to as close to normal as possible. I hope that a new normal does not have to occur, but if so, what will that look like? During the recovery phase, it is important to remember that safety is always a paramount concern, especially when things have been affected by a storm. This phase is when a large number of people get hurt. Do everything possible to prevent yourself from becoming a casualty. Be patient during this period.