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Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy: The Reality of Not Being Prepared Revealed

So yesterday I talked a bit about preparedness. 

So let's see where things are four days in after Sand (the 72 hour "grace" period of civilization has worn off)...

(In no particular order...)

FEMA, which has many large power generators, has managed to deploy one (yes, count'm one) in Connecticut (see this).  There are still some 300,000 people without power in Connecticut.  FEMA said some four power generators were installed in NJ as of Thursday.

In New York it will be ten more days until power is restored.  Hospitals are evacuating patients - apparently no FEMA generators have arrived (but don't worry, the FEMA bureaucrats are busy decided who can use what generators; that will only take another week or two...)

In New Jersey non-union power crews who were specifically invited to Sea Side New Jersey were turned away because they are non-union (see this).

The bottom line is many are facing two weeks without power.

Next is looting.  And these days its not just a brick through the local TV store window. 

First there's grandma.  More than likely that senior high-rise is full of pain killers - lots of them.  Seniors fear being attacked for this reason.

Google "ny looters " for hundreds of thousands of links.

Looters have broken into pharmacies, food stores, and so on.

Residents of Staten Island (one of the five NYC boroughs) are pleading for food and clothing.

Then there are the miles-long gas lines (links to stories, images, info on fights, etc.).  Note that without power most gas stations cannot function so people move to stations along the NJ Turnpike that are known to be open.

Part of the problem is that like California NJ and NY require special gas.   This is refined locally.  However, Sandy has knocked out the power to these refineries.  Governor Christie has waved requirements that special gas be used but there are still shortages.

Perhaps 50% of gas stations in NY and NJ are open.

While the news calls this a "super storm" remember that Sandy was only a Category 1 storm when it made landfall.  (Katrina was a Category 4.)

NY and NJ are lucky the storm was not more intense.

People in NYC are left walking up 51 flights of stairs in high-rise buildings where generators are not present or have failed.  (You need to go out for water and so on.)

Seniors in these building have little choice regardless of their health.

Most stores have sold out of critical items like "C" and "D" batteries (see this).

At the end of the day big government is going to do little to help anyone in a timely or efficient manner.

So that leaves you to prepare for yourself if you can.

If you live somewhere where there is no hope of serious preparation, e.g., the 50th floor of NYC high rise, you really have only one option: leaving.

There was plenty of warning time so traveling to relatives or other "out-of-town" location would have been the best option - particularly if you lived where flooding was likely.

Similarly for coastal towns.

For those living further inland where storm surge is unlikely you have to assess what's going to happen locally: Will rivers rise from rain?  Will ponds or lakes overflow? ...

You need to decide if you can stay or go.

If you stay it seems clear that you need to be able to manage yourself for a couple of weeks without power (about the time it takes FEMA to get a generator to you area - and not that you could actually make use of it - I suppose you'd have to drag your fridge full of now-rotting food down to the local disaster center...)

This requires some planning and preparation.

(No one is laughing at "Dooms Day Preppers" in NY and NJ.)

There are all manner of related websites (see  Sadly this particular site requires you to be a member, i.e., have planned ahead, to use it. (I suppose all those nasty "preppers" are sitting smugly in their bunkers watching Fox News.)

In all seriousness.

People need to start thinking ahead about this sort of thing.  Hurricanes are not the only kinds of natural disasters: there are earthquakes, floods, storms, tsunamis, snow storms, bad water, bad food, and on and on.

Modern society cannot and will not save people - its mostly populated - at least from what I can see - with those that only think about themselves.

So you should too.

Not in the sense that you don't care about anyone else but instead in the sense that you must take care of yourself.

"No, No" you object, "I have no extra money..."

I doubt it.

Put away a few cans a week ($2 - $4 USD worth) in a safe place.  In a year you'll be prepared with food.  Ditto for water.

Don't have enough room? 

Then expect trouble in a disaster because yes, there is a price for you decisions...  Perhaps create a "bug out bag" with enough supplies to at least get out of town.

Big government wants you to feel comfortable with them in charge.  But remember, when the going gets tough no one at the government has any personal stake in things going well in the aftermath.  They are far away making decisions with zero input from you the victim.

And sadly, at least in NJ, your politico-union affiliation is going to have an effect as well.

I wonder, if anyone dies after the Alabama power crew is turned away will someone look to blame the local IBEW?

Nope - grandma will just die at home, frozen, and NJ will revel in its #48 out of 50 in creating new business rating...

(Note too that since at least 2005 there have been fewer than normal hurricanes.)

So on the one hand you can drive a Prius in the hopes that the carbon savings will prevent the next hurricane from damaging your home - and you may be right on there.

But I think the smart money is on much more direct and useful preparations.

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