You are at work. It’s 2PM in the afternoon. In an instant, without even a flicker, the lights go out, your computer monitor goes blank, and the office is suddenly devoid of the familiar background noises that you’ve become accustomed to. Silence.
About 5 seconds later, you begin to hear your office mates around you saying things like, ‘what happened?’ ‘oh that’s just great…’ or ‘$hit, I just lost all my work!’. The phones are not ringing. The power is out. You’re secretly hoping that it stays out long enough so that the boss will send everyone home.
A few minutes later, you walk over to the window to have a look outside. The traffic is becoming grid-locked on the snow and ice coated streets below from the lack of flow-control from blank traffic lights. People are beginning to fill the sidewalks as they stream out of blacked-out stores, shops and office buildings while shivering in the cold wind.
You begin to wonder how wide-spread the power outage is, and if it is affecting the rest of your family at their own locations. Your daughter is a sophomore in high-school, which is about 4 miles from home and 10 miles from where you work. Your son is in eighth grade at the junior high school about a quarter mile from the high school. Your spouse is on a business trip in another state and not expected home for two more days.
The season is winter. The storm had begun early in the morning, catching most people unaware as the intensity unexpectedly worsened while ice began to coat the trees and power lines… thicker and thicker. When the power went out, you pretty much knew that it was because of the storm. You knew that the storm was a big one, and was causing problems well beyond your locality. It stretched for many hundreds of miles.
As the minutes ticked by, you began to get that sinking feeling as you begin to worry about the rest of your family, how they are faring, and most of all, how will you get in touch with them and all get home safely?
The example above is a very real world scenario. The question is, are you ready for it? What could you do proactively to be better prepared or in a better position of successfully weathering the storm, so to speak?
Have a plan
Make sure that all members of the family are prepared and know what to do. Don’t depend on being ‘led’ by others during a disaster, instead, know what to do yourself. Far too many people make very bad decisions during uncertain times, and if you are following their lead, you may end up like lemmings all walking off the cliff together…
Know that communications will be out during a power outage, so, you need to have a pre determined plan of action for everyone involved. Sometimes the traditional telephone ‘land lines’ will still be working, so perhaps the plan is to call a central point of contact for updates – maybe the kids are told to call their grandparents if they can’t reach your cell phone or work phone for example. Make sure they know or have the phone number.
It’s winter, so you need to have the proper clothing and outer wear to keep you alive if out in the elements, in case you are caught in them or have to walk a bit of a distance. Most body heat is lost through the head… keep a pullover hat with you. Gloves, mittens…
You should have a survival kit of sorts in your car with food and other potentially helpful or life saving items. It’s also a great idea for your kids to have a few extra supplies in their school pack. A few high-calorie food bars…
If you are on the road away on a business trip, you should still keep a few preparedness essentials with you. If anything, you’re more likely to rely upon such items while away on a trip than near home.
The ideas are many, but the point is, think about the possibility BEFORE it happens. Remember that most people rely on communications these days, especially when they don’t know what to do… many, instead of thinking or trying to reason for themselves, will first try to call their friends, etc. to figure it out – looking for an answer or direction, but when their cell phones don’t work… what then?
Know what to do.
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