Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

More Lessons From Sandy
Originally published January 18, 2013

Last November, Hurricane Sandy dominated the news with stories of destruction and survival from the east coast. Shortly after the winds died down, an email came my way from someone who had learned first-hand lessons from the storm. Knowledge that can only be gained by someone who had truly “been there”. Following are highlights of his observations:

1. The excitement and “coolness” wears off after day three.

2. You are never really prepared to go weeks without electricity, water, or heat. Never!

3. Just because your generator is running like a top does NOT mean it is producing electricity.

4. If you do not have water stored up, you are in trouble! A couple of cases of bottled water is NOT water storage.

5. Even the smallest little thing you get from the store should be stocked up. Things like an extra spark plug for the generator, barbeque lighter, batteries or matches.

6. It is surprising how quickly normal social behavior goes out the window. Three people were killed at gas stations within 50 miles of here. I didn’t say three fights broke out, three people were killed!

7. Cash is king. All the money in your savings does you absolutely no good.

8. You eat a lot more food when you are cold. You also need more food than you think when your kids are out of school for two weeks.

9. The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought.

10. You quickly become the guy in the neighborhood who knows how to wire a generator to an electrical panel or you are the guy whose Masters degree in accounting suddenly means nothing.

11. A woman who can cook a fine meal by candlelight over the barbeque or an open fire is worth her weight in gold.

12. All the stored food in the world is worthless if your kids won’t eat it.

13. You might be prepared to take care of your children and their needs, but what about when the neighborhood children start showing up at your door?

14. You really do not want to be the “unprepared parents,” the kids turn on you pretty quick.

15. There was a strange peace to knowing all I had to do each day was keep my family safe, warm and fed, but my peace was someone else’s panic.

16. Some people totally shut down in an emergency, there’s nothing you can do about that.

17. Your town, no matter how small, is entirely dependent on outside sources of everything. If supply trucks stop rolling due to road damage, fuel shortages or for any reason, you could be without for a very long time.

Food for thought. Your comments are always welcome at disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.

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