Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Did we learn anything?

Day 9 continues much as the other days do, no electric and no sign of utility workers. I dutifully call in my outage, per DP&L, each day and each day I get to hear we still are not schedule for a repair crew.

Enough of that nonsense, here is really what I’ve been thinking about. You can have all of the bottled water, food and batteries in the world but it doesn’t help if your are alone. Friends, family and neighbors looking out for one another is what really helped during this emergency. Better health care means or population continues to live longer. More and more people require some type of in-home medical care that relies on electricity. When the power goes out, these people’s health becomes at risk. Checking in on you friends and neighbors with medical conditions during power outages or storms is an important part of everyone getting through tough times.

You can’t underestimate the importance of having working flashlights available. I usually have a small SureFire pocket flashlight on my person and several flashlights throughout the house. Don’t fall victim to letting your flashlights become repositories for dead batteries. Keep fresh batteries in you flashlights by changing them whenever you change your smoke detector batteries.

Ready.gov has good list of items to keep on hand as part of your emergency kits. In addition to water, food and first aid supplies don’t forget about prescription medications and pet food. The time of course to stock up is before and not after the emergency so paying attention to the weather is critical. Keep as much of your supplies in a kit or bag that you can take with you in the event you have to vacate your home.

Make sure you and your family have ways of communicating that doesn’t rely on cellular phones (which work so long as there is power to the towers). You may have a pre-determined rally point where everyone gathers at a pre-agreed time in the event of no communication. In the event you had to leave the area (say due to a chemical hazard), you will need a rally point outside the immediate area as well.

As we get ready for winter, let me mention having a possibles bag. The term comes from Colonial times and a possible bag was a small bag woodsman carried to handle a wide variety of possibilities. A possibles bag is smaller than you home emergency kit but basically address some of the same issues.

A good possibles bag would contain a way of creating fire, a small space blanket, water purification tabs, first aid kit, and a knife. You possibles bag needs to contain those items you would need to survive 24-48 hours without assistance. Other items might be some protein bars, a compass and candles. Don’t make it too big, it needs to be something that you could carry around with you. I recommend keeping it in your car in the event you get stranded in a snow storm.

Basically though, apply what you learned from this emergency to allow you to handle the next one.

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