I know I keep mentioning this, but in the event of a major disaster, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN! It’s been two weeks since Superstorm Sandy came ashore on the other coast, and as of this writing, people are still without power. Essential services are slow to be restored and government resources are insufficient to “fix it” for everyone.
In spite of all this, I still have people tell me that in lieu of preparing for a disaster, their “plan” is to rely on government services or local charities. This may seem harsh, but in the words of John Wayne, “Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid!” It doesn’t take a genius to see that local services are dangerously overwhelmed during any emergency, let alone a storm like Sandy or similar event.
I will concede that F.E.M.A. and other disaster responders have come a long way in the seven years since Katrina. Supplies are pre-positioned quickly and resources are in place far more rapidly than in times past. Still, nothing trumps personal preparedness. To have your own stores and plans in place means you have to rely on no one. If you have done your homework, you know what you have at your disposal and are familiar not only with your local geography but with the local weather habits.
Knowing what you have on hand is essential. After the power goes out and blown-down trees are blocking your route to the grocery store is no time to find out what you’re lacking. Secondly, knowing your way around is essential. Familiarize yourself with alternate routes. Now would be a good time to purchase a good quality local map showing all the side roads or back roads in your neighborhood. Then after you buy the map, go for a drive some nice afternoon and prove out the accuracy of your map. (Experience talking here!) If you’re new to the area, find out which roads flood first. Also learn which roads stay frosty and slick all day after the temperatures dip below freezing at night.