Sunday, November 11, 2012

Super Storm Sandy: Lessons Learned

  Like so many other people, I'm still a bit frazzled by Super Storm Sandy.  Unlike so many other people, my family was left relatively unscathed by Sandy.
     By two o'clock pm, the winds of Sandy were starting to intimintaly whistle around my home and I thought "Well, if it stays like this, it won't be too bad." No sooner than I had this pleasant thought, than there was a huge "BOOM" and our internet and electric left.  The house immediately became a few shades darker.
       The winds began to pick up and become more strong, more frequent and longer lasting. I was very happy that my husband's work had been cancelled and he was home and that my two son's from NY were visiting also.  I couldn't imagine being in a storm like Sandy alone, or with only people significantly younger than myself.
        That night, we ate a very simple and forgetable cold supper since my stove is electric. My body ached for my heated blanket, buy without electicity, it wasn't to be.
         The next morning, the storm was mostly over, and we expected to have our electric power back by that afternoon, the same as last year's October storm.
         It wasn't to be.  This time around, not only were we without electric power for nearly 6 days, we also were the last block in our development to get the power back.  I expected our sons to leave us and return to Long Island every miserable day because their area got almost no rain or wind and never lost cable, never mind electricity.  But they stuck it out with us.
         Well now I've taken stock of the situation and I'm ready to share with you what we did wrong, as well as what we did right.  May-be you can glean some information that will help you to be ready for when you are in a storm situation yourself.

Ready?  Here goes!

What we did right:

1. We removed every tree in our yard that could possibly fall on our house.  Other trees were drastically pruned to make them "lighter" in a storm. Note, we didn't leave pokey branches that would punch holes into the side of our house. Just lightened them up.  We did this months before storm season.

2.  We have an electric stove, so my husband bought a small, inexpensive "camp stove" to cook one skillet dinners on.  And an extra canister of propane.  This was done in the summer, before any danger.

3.   Because we live in shivering cold New England, we found out what was involved in putting a wood stove into our house legally.  We did everything by the book and had it done in late summer.

4.   We bought canned food for almost a full two weeks, extra toilet paper and paper towel, paper plates and plastic cups as soon as there was talk of a hurricane starting.

5.   Dear husband bought flashlight battery kits when they were on sale, enough for our family, and stored them under the sink.

6.   After last years October storm, WalMart was selling small battery powered lanterns for about four dollars.  We bought one, put it on a shelf in the bathroom and left it there in case of an emergency.

7.  We bought a deck or Uno cards and a package of dice and left them unoppened in case of a spate of no power so that we'd have games to play to relieve the boredom.

8.  We bought a crank powered emergency radio

9.   As soon as we found out the storm was supposed to hit the next day, we all put our cell phones on chargers to make sure we had a full charge when the storm hit.

10.  Had a huge collection of jar candles with easy access too and a collection of box matches.

Tomorrow?  What we did wrong!

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