“WE ARE LUCKY”



We’ll cut to the chase today.

Here’s what David has reported from Irma:

First, I would like to acknowledge our team.

In total, we have 5 of our preparedness advisors in Florida. Some are still without power. The folks in main office in Sandpoint in northern Idaho and elsewhere stepped up and took up any slack. Your dedication and sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. I for one am very grateful.

Now, onto my personal dispatches and lessons learned from Irma. We often advise that people practice their plans. Well, as they say in the sports world, there’s no better practice than a real game. Irma has proved that true for preparedness as well.



First responders:

first responders are not the police, fire, rescue, and sheriff's departments. They are you and your neighbors. I have yet to see any of those personnel in our neighborhood.

My neighbors and I were out checking on each other as soon as it was safe to do so. We also continued to do so until power and utilities were restored. The first sign of any responders was the power company, which descended on the neighborhood (9/13) around 5pm. They worked through the night until power was restored the next morning (9/14) between 8 and 9am. For that I am grateful.

So how did our personal preps fare?


We had plenty of food, water and first aid supplies.

My only adjustment would be staging of the supplies. They need to be where they are going to be used. For example, emergency lighting should be placed in one location in a common area with several placed in open areas throughout the house. I also would suggest the purchase of several 30 gallon cans that can be placed in the bathrooms for flushing. They need to be filled prior to the storm. We set up smaller ones but due to length of the outage they did not last as long as we liked, which resulted in hauling water from the pool to the bathrooms. All in all, it wasn’t bad, but could have been made easier. Lesson learned.


Daylight is your friend.

You need to take care of issues while daylight is available. This saves you power and batteries for the evening before bed. When the sun goes down, go to bed, do not waste energy unnecessarily. That goes for both you and your devices.




Water:

Everyone purchases bottled water and that is good. Do not throw your empties in the trash, refill them and keep them handy. If you have enough notice then place those refilled bottles in the freezer a day or two before and let them freeze. Not only will they extend the life of the foods inside they also provide you with a cold drink of water. In the Florida heat, cold water is nice to have. We did this as soon as it looked like we were going to be hit. Make sure you only fill these water bottles three-quarters full as the ice will expand.

Keep one of those bottles of water with you and drink throughout the day. Do not wait until you are beyond thirsty. Once that happens you will begin to chug the water and that will not end well. First you will become lethargic and quite possibly make yourself sick. If you drink periodically through the day, you will feel much better. Do not allow yourself or those in your care to become dehydrated. That will present a whole new set of obstacles that are unnecessary. Pay attention to those around you and keep reminding everyone to drink water at every turn.


If evacuation is necessary, it’s also a good idea to freeze a cup of water and then place a coin on top of the ice.

If you return and the coin is at the bottom of the cup, then you know the items in your freezer which may have refrozen are no longer safe to eat.

Portable generators:

great to have, but make sure you have ample fuel for them. After the third day without power, we could hear the generators dropping off and not restarting. They must have gone through all their fuel.


Gas was a commodity that was hard to find.

Fill your car up before the storm hits and then limit your excursions out. We had deputies stationed at the gas stations because fights would break out. On Tuesday (9/12), we needed ice, so we drove into the next town to purchase ice. A Facebook friend of Sean's (fellow preparedness advisor) told us they had some. I was willing to pay pretty much anything for that ice. But they charged the normal price for the 4 bags we bought. Guess who will be getting my patronage from now on? They were Middle-Easterners who owned a store and made their own ice overnight then bagged it. Those folks made a statement about what it is to be an American and more importantly how to be a good neighbor.




More on power usage:

e-books are nice but in this situation, they were not very effective. There is something to be said for a book you can hold in your hand and read. There is a place for e-books and audiobooks. I am a big fan of audiobooks because it allows me to be doing something else will listening. This however would not work in this case as energy is a commodity not to be squandered.


Above all, maintain your sense of humor.

Take things in stride, the situation has presented itself, now make the best of it. Complaining will not change or speed up anything. Make the best of a bad situation.

Deal with issues as they arise. The minute you think you have everything under control you will be pitched a curve ball from out of nowhere.


These types of events will bring out both the good and the bad in people.

Emergencies bring out the extremes in people. We are lucky. We are surrounded by like-minded folks who tend to circle the wagons when things go south. We come from many different backgrounds. We check on each other even when there’s no crisis - but more so during. If this sounds like your neighborhood, there is safety in numbers. Which brings up my next thought...


Do you know your neighbors? Have you spoken to them lately? If not, now is a good time to start. There is always something lurking around the corner no matter where you live. Can you count on them? More importantly, can they count on you? Yes, this storm will cost us some dollars. But we are alive and in my opinion better off. Now we really know that when the proverbial shit hits the fan, I know that those around me will step to the plate. I will be there for them as I am sure without a doubt they will be there for me and mine.


In Liberty,

David Powell,
Preparedness Advisor and Customer Service Manager