Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Lessons Learned
Originally published February 25, 2014

Sometimes we can watch the news with a certain impunity when a winter storm is pounding the northeast. Then when the ice-laden power lines go down across someone’s new car it makes more great TV footage. And the stories come in about power outages, people sitting in their cold living rooms with only their flashlights for lighting and stories of heroism on the part of linemen, police, fire and EMS personnel.

That’s all well and good when we’re three thousand miles away on the balmy South Coast of Oregon. But this past week a storm system dumped a load of snow in the Portland area causing traffic tie-ups, accidents, power outages and all manner of chaos on our north-state friends. The Oregon State Police reports responding to over 600 weather-related traffic accidents since the storm began. Sadly one person was killed on I-84 when the car in which the victim was riding lost control and struck a tree. Stories of people spending the night in a Beaverton hotel because they couldn’t make it home to Gresham or others spending hours in their car along Interstate 5 bring the drama a bit closer to home. Although when it’s YOU in your car in the ditch or YOU doing the motel-thing without your toothbrush, it’s more than drama, it’s a reality show and you’re the star! Not exactly what you had in mind when you dreamed of stardom, now is it?

It was a regular reader of this column that related the story of spending the night in the motel. He had just begun carrying a kit in his car and was actually well-prepared for his night away from home. (The motel supplied a toothbrush.) The point was, he had extra clothing, some snack food and his medication with him. Needless to say, he is now a full-fledged believer.

The prepper’s mantra is Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Informed. In the case of winter travelers, all three elements are useful. That kit in your trunk gives you peace of mind and a bag full of useful items when needed. Being informed of the weather forecast should aid in making travel plans. Sometimes the smart thing to do is abort the mission once you learn what’s in store weatherwise. Pilots routinely alter their flight plans due to adverse weather. In my view a smart traveler does the same thing.

The next winter storm may decide to take a more southerly route. Now is the time to Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Informed.

Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.

additional columns by Dave Robinson