Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Marcus Carey’s On the Marc: Be prepared …
disaster could be only a wind storm away
A recent windstorm blew a few branches down around the yard. I haven’t been out on the farm yet to see if any trees came down, but from the house I don’t see any. Hot temperatures can inspire thunderstorms and high winds, but what we’ve seen here is nothing compared to what they are suffering to the east.
My son and daughter-in-law live in the Washington, D.C., area. The other night I happened to see a report on come across the screen of my phone that their area had been hit by a heavy thunderstorm. Knowing that my son was traveling on business, we called our daughter-in-law’s cell phone to check on her. We were sent immediately to voicemail.
We then tried to call her on the house phone. We got a fast busy. So we started to look for more detailed reports of where the storms had hit. It looked like her little village had been spared but that the power was out all up and down the middle Atlantic seaboard.
A few hours later she called. The power was out in their building; there was no air conditioning. The elevators were, of course, not working and her cell phone was hit or miss. She was at that moment in her car with the air conditioning running, huddled up with both dogs and worried she might run out of gas.
The gas stations were inoperable because the pumps run on electricity. The traffic lights were out, roads were closed by downed trees, and there was a general sense of panic everywhere. She was OK, but more than a bit worried. That was Friday. This is Tuesday and, still, millions of Americans are out of power.
Now just think for a minute. Maybe you live in a suburb. Maybe you live on a farm. Imagine millions of people living in an inner city without electricity due to any number of reasons, from storms to acts of terrorism to war. What do they do?
How do they get up and down the dozens of floors to where they live? How do they see in the dark? Without air conditioning in the inner city, in buildings with windows that don’t open, water pumping stations that are out of commission and without refrigeration for food, what do they do?
Depending upon your metabolism, you might live as long as three weeks without food, but you can only last a few days without water before you die. Where do millions of people go for food and water in big cities when it all runs out, when the water pumping stations are destroyed, the transportation systems to bring in enough food to feed them all are disrupted? How do they even get out of the city if fueling stations are not working or are over capacity?
A little natural disaster like the East Coast storms should drive home a couple of things. First, you need to be prepared for yourself should some disaster strike. Second, you need to be thinking ahead both as to what you and your family will do and how to react to what others might do.
In the 1960s people were afraid of a nuclear war and built bomb shelters. Then the worry became what to do if the shelter you built was being overrun by your unprepared neighbors who demanded that you let them in and eat your food.
There are any number of sources of information out there for people some call “doomsday preppers.” And while it might seem far-fetched to buy into any of the conspiracy theories about a Chinese invasion or our government declaring Martial Law, the storms of this past weekend make it pretty clear that we need to think about what we would do if the emergency we faced was a natural one.
Sitting there in the air conditioning checking the weather around D.C. on my iPhone while my daughter-in-law was trying to stay cool running down the gas in her car made it all the more clear to me.
It’s always a good idea to be thankful for what we have, but perhaps a little attention to what we would do if we no longer had the comforts of home might be a worthy pursuit. You never know, disaster might be only one wind gust away.
Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. He is a prolific and accomplished writer whose blog, BluegrassBulletin.com, is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.” He writes a regular commentary for KyForward.