Skip to comments.Storm highlights the need to be prepared
Posted on 02/19/2003 1:13:19 PM PST by Utah Girl
After worry about terrorist strikes and war, disaster finally struck Washington this week from an unexpected source: a record snow storm.
It tested how well prepared we are personally, and as families. Frankly, Washingtonians could have done better. So how prepared are you, Utah, if that long-feared big earthquake, fire, blizzard or even terrorist attack arrives?
Bear in mind that Washington rarely receives much snow, and a quarter-inch is often enough to cancel schools here.
But this time we received more than 2 feet of snow in a day in the Maryland suburbs where I live. Snowplows could not make it through major streets. My neighborhood road was dug out mainly because of neighbors working together to do it ourselves. Snow is piled 7 feet high in front of my house, which is a surreal sight here.
Maryland on Sunday and Monday even shut down all state highways except for police or medical personnel (or sick people) trying to make it to hospitals.
So, for a while, people had to depend on themselves. They couldn't depend on stores which were often closed even if customers could make it to them.
Many people in my area suddenly found they should have had more food at home, or maybe a first-aid kit, or plans about how to contact family members. Many found out they had forgotten something basic like they should have bought a snow shovel.
I live near a Safeway food store. As I was shoveling snow, I watched a long line of people walking back from it (driving wasn't really possible yet). We asked if it had much food left on the shelves. "Barely," one said because trucks couldn't make many deliveries at first, and people fairly quickly drained food that had been there.
Luckily for me, I have a smart wife. She long ago made "72-hour kits" with disaster supplies for the family. We have a basement full of long-term food storage. We had no fear, even if stores were cleaned out and supply trucks were buried in snow for a while.
Still, with all of that and with terror alerts that remain on "high" disaster preparedness suddenly has become a hot topic here, and Washingtonians are ready to listen.
The government and other groups have some wonderful information about how to better prepare. Most is available for free on the Internet or by calling toll-free numbers. Following are some of my favorites:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a detailed publication full of tips called, appropriately, "Are You Ready?" It is available online at www.fema.gov/areyouready/. Printed copies can be ordered by phoning 1-800-480-2520. FEMA does not take orders for printed copies online.
However, another government Web site does accept orders by the Internet. It is: www.pueblo.gsa.gov. It is one of my favorite sites on the Internet. It is run by the General Services Administration and has a listing of free or low-cost pamphlets from many government and private agencies on virtually every topic imaginable. It has online copies of most publications for free.
Currently it is highlighting a brochure called "Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit." It is only five pages online, but it gives great information about what should be in a "72-hour-kit" and basics about what to think through with a family before disasters come. Local churches have been photocopying it for congregations here.
For those without Internet, the GSA (the same people who offer the Pueblo, Colo., catalog of free government publications) can be reached toll free at 1-888-8PUEBLO (1-888-878-3256).
Maybe the best site on the Internet for all sorts of questions and answers about disasters and planning is www.redcross.org. It has steps and checklists it suggests for different levels of terrorist threat.
Finally, for those who want to go the extra mile and prepare long-term food storage to ride through really tough times, one of the best Internet sites for that is actually based in Utah: www.providentliving.org. It is a site sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
So, Utah, learn from us ill-prepared Washingtonians. Be ready with a family disaster plan and a disaster supplies kit. Think about even learning first aid and CPR, and building up some longer-term storage. The times may demand it.
Well, God will eventually melt all this snow. But I'll get my car on the road a lot faster if I start shovelling.
Neither one of those rings a bell. Are those bible verses, or Book of Mormon verses?
That is NOT true. Washington DC (the city) gets an average of 16" of snow a year while the Northern and Western suburbs get from 24" to 30"
They were forecasting the twin storms for most of the previous week and I stocked up on Friday by the Saturday storm I thought I overreacted but by Sunday/Monday I realized I had not.
I have lived, so far, all of my life in the mid-Maryland area and I can't remember schools being closed for a quarter-inch of snow (mainly because the smallest measurement of snow they use is one full inch). The Washington DC area are not light-weights when it comes to snow - I think you are thinking of Richmond VA and south
That's July of 2000, BTW.
Freak summer snowstorm up on Sunwapta Pass dumped 18+ inches of snow and closed the Icefields Parkway for a day. The snow was gone and it was 70 degrees out two days later.
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