Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Weird Weather
Originally published July 20, 2012

How many times lately has someone mentioned how weird the weather has been? Our recent snow storm seems to caught everyone, even the weatherman unawares. It seems everyone has a story to tell about their experiences when they woke up and discovered somewhere between six and ten inches of snow in their yard.

What struck me was the degree to which our lives were impacted, by only 8 inches (at my house) of snow. Power lines were down, trees across the highway, and a whole bunch of driveways (mine included) blocked by fallen trees. Some folks were without electricity for at least three days. Not to mention the slick roads. A deputy sheriff was overheard making the following radio transmission: “I’m just going to arrest people for driving!”

One area police department was unable to use their patrol cars as they had no system in place to get tire chains installed. That coupled with the fact city hall was without electricity (no generator), the phone system and base radio station were inoperative. Officers were patrolling in their privately owned four-wheel drive vehicles, even responding to some calls on foot.

The up-side is we all had a chance to learn some valuable lessons. Some folks I know are also some of the best-prepared-for-disaster people around, yet they related to me one lesson (among several) they learned. No electricity required them to use their kerosene lamps. The lady of the house told me she discovered whatever they used for fuel in the lamps gave her a headache. Time to re-evaluate their fuel, maybe paraffin oil.

In my case, the last time I used my chain saw I put it away dull. I remember thinking, “I’ve got to file that chain.” Little did I know how quickly I was going to need it again. Then when faced with a tree across my driveway, I realized the error of my ways. Going to my shop I had resigned myself to sharpening the saw, then cutting that tree out of the way and going on to work. In my not-so-tidy shop, I was unable to locate a file, so then I find myself griding away on that tree with a dull saw. I finally got it out of the way, but my task would have been much less stressful with a sharpened, ready-to-go saw in the first place. Just in case you’re curious, I have since purchased two new files, cleaned up my workbench, and my saw is now gassed, sharp and ready for action!

And that area police department? (Not Myrtle Point by the way.) Steps have been taken to bring their readiness to a higher level in the event weather repeats itself.

No matter what your experience taught you, I’m willing to bet you and your family learned some lessons. We all learned some about how prepared we were, and how we could have been just a bit better off with some minor adjustments. A few more candles or some extra gas for the generator could have made a difference.

As always if you have questions or comments or just want to know where you can get a good deal on round files, contact me 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