What does being prepared really mean?

We have just lived through a couple of pretty cold days, but it is not the first time that we have seen extremely cold temperatures. This cold snap affected me personally in two different ways. During the last coldest day, my wife noticed that one of our vinyl windows had cracked from one side to the other. The windows that we replaced had been there since the 60s. I then went down to the church and found that the downstairs heat had stopped working. Upon investigating, we found that the condensation line had frozen up, causing the furnace not to be able to ignite. The fix to problem number one was the purchase of a new window sash to the tune of $105. The fix to problem number two was the purchase of a space heater to heat the furnace room, at which point, everything thawed and the furnace began to work again.

I will say that preparing for extreme weather events may mean that we have to become creative when unusual circumstances arise. One friend had his well freeze up. This had not happened since he moved into his home. Some of these things have to occur before we can see a problem and correct it. Extremely cold weather taxes those things that are designed to keep us warm. It is times like these that cause us to utilize supplemental heating systems. The time to check for proper operation of the supplemental system is before the weather event, not while it is occurring.

I had a conversation with the fire chief in Haysi, Va. over the weekend. He stated that it was inevitable that they would probably run a fire during this cold snap. The news this morning reported a fatal apartment fire in Richmond. Building fires are always possible, but seem to be more probable during extremely cold weather. Investigators will seek to determine the cause of this fire, as well as the cause of death of the occupant. Firefighters have to make preparations to respond to fires on extreme weather days. Extremely cold temperatures require that pumps are drained, and that firefighters carry a change of clothing to change into when they get wet.

Our mindset needs to be that things will probably occur during extreme weather events. We may not know what to prepare for, but we should not be surprised when strange things occur. When extreme weather events are occurring, we need to check on things that we may not normally check on, such as the downstairs heat at the church. The issue is that one problem leads to another problem. In other words, frozen condensation lines led to a furnace not lighting. If this had not been found, it would have caused water lines to freeze. Preparation during extreme weather events may be to be prepared to fix a problem directly related to the weather, in order to fix a problem with something else.  


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