As I write this, Hurricane Irene is approaching the eastern seaboard near Florida and evacuation plans are already commencing. As I read all the news concerning this recent storm with potential for disaster, I am also reminiscent of 2008 when some of the after-effects of the hurricanes of that year were felt further inland than just the east coast.
It was late summer of 2008, and Ike was doing what every other hurricane has done before it… build up steam while out at sea, only to slam and bash the coastal regions as it makes landfall. This hurricane entered the Gulf of Mexico, slammed the eastern portion of Texas, and then moved north / northeast. It made its way through the southern portion of the Midwest and the after-effects were felt as far north as the Great Lakes according to the National Hurricane Center.
So, what is the point of all this? The point is this: Hurricane Ike’s effects were felt in southwest Ohio where I live. My wife and I were in the supermarket buying items for our home when the power went out through the entire store. We left without our items, and the winds were severe, knocking out power throughout the area. The storms winds also turned the street in front of my house into a wind tunnel. I and two of my neighbors watched begrudgingly as my roof shingles and ridge vent flew away, along with their trim and siding. I patched my roof the next day with the help of a friend, only to have another wind storm blow in a few days later to rehash the damage.
What was worse than having my roof turned to Swiss cheese is the fact that we had no power in our community for 3 days. Other areas were without power for a week. There were people in our subdivision running out in a mad dash to buy a generator to save the food in their refrigerator. One guy that lives down the street in front of my house drove with reckless abandon toward my home, ignoring the stop sign, only to come to a screeching halt at my next-door neighbor’s house to inform him that he was going to buy a generator before the store ran out.
The next two weeks were utter pandemonium for people as it was clearly obvious that Ike had just about completely disrupted their normal routines. People in my neighborhood were outside more, cooking up all the food that was about to go bad (which happened in other neighborhoods that were without power for longer periods of time), the low hum of generators for those that had purchased one before inventory dried up rumbled in the background. Hardware stores small and large all had signs in their front window stating “we are out of generators!” Supermarket shelves were out of a lot of the basic items: bread, water, eggs, milk, etc. due to current supplies going bad. People were trying to fix the damages to their home and property.
I think back on that time and wonder “that was only a wind storm with minor disruptions and people were going nuts. What would happen if the feces really hit the fan?!” People exhibited signs of disorganization, frustration and worry with the minor upheaval of their schedules. I would hate to see what would happen if there was a legitimate catastrophic even (i.e. EMP attack, stock market crash, etc), hence the title “Just a Taste is Unsettling”, because this was just a taste of what could happen in a larger-scale event, and the reactions with the small-scale event was unsettling to me.
This event was the eye-opener for me in terms of preparation. The Boy Scouts have it right with their motto, “Be Prepared.” I was a boy scout when I was younger, and it finally hit home about being prepared. You are to be prepared for anything, whether it’s a storm that knocks out the power, job loss that causes financial difficulties with living expenses and basic necessities, or a FHTF (feces hits the fan) event. If you have not begun to prepare for events such as these, there is no better time than the present. Start with a couple of gallons of bottled water, some canned foods, extra flashlights and batteries, candles, and other small necessities that you use in normal everyday life. It does not cost much to begin, and once you begin, you will feel the peace that comes with knowing you are ready for whatever comes down the proverbial “pike.” For me, the next few big items include a generator to help run the refrigerator if the power goes down, and a shotgun for hunting / protection.
Of course, location and situations common to those regions will decipher the prioritization of your preps. For example, if coastal areas are more prone to hurricanes and flooding, you should prepare properly for that type of situation. Here in the Midwest, you can have tornadoes and wind storms. The west coast is near some major fault lines, so earthquakes are a very real concern. Research the common occurrences in you region or immediate area, and begin to prepare in that sense.
If you have any other feedback, please feel free to add your comments. May God bless us all, and may your preparations lead to peace in mind and heart.