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Ready or Not #18: Disaster Readiness

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Wow! Was anyone in that storm last week in Provo, Utah? I was in the middle of it and, wow, what a storm! It only lasted 10 to 12 minutes, but (can I say WOW again) what a 10 minutes it was! I was at work, and I had about 2” of water rushing through my office within minutes of the start of the storm. Actually, the water flooded the entire main floor of my building. I was very lucky; I was in my office when everything started getting wet and so I was able to save everything, but not everyone was so lucky – at work, or in Provo City.

There is nothing like a mini-disaster (and remember, it is only a small disaster when you are not actually involved in it – it is a HUGE disaster when it affects you) to help you re-evaluate what you need to change, what you did right and what you will need to do to be better prepared for future disasters.

One of my co-worker’s daughters’ basement was flooded and she and her family weren’t home at the time. Was there food storage on the floor that wasn’t protected like flour, rice, or oats in a sack on the floor? Well, they are no good now. Did they have a freezer full of food? Did they have a generator and gas to keep the freezer running?

Also, how about all of the people that were forced from their homes? They were forced to leave their homes because of the broken power lines that were leaning on their houses for the length of the entire block. Or were they at work and not even allowed to get to their homes to check them out because of safety issues? Where was their family emergency meeting area? Who was their out-of–state, or at least out-of-area, emergency contact person? If they had medicine that needed to be taken, but was at the house, what was their backup plan? These are all questions that need to be asked and answered before a disaster strikes.

Fortunately, most of the phone lines were still working and cell phones were not down (at least not that I am aware of) and so communications were able to continue, and emergency measures were immediately put into place and Provo City employees started right in with emergency disaster clean-up. It was also fortunate that the entire city was not affected, but what if it had been? What if the entire county had been affected? What if you hadn’t been able to call home or call your spouse or your children’s workplace to make sure that they were okay? What if?

Please, get together with your family and ask these hard questions. Is your food storage stored in a way that would be safe from flooding? Do you have a backup energy source to keep your fridges and freezers going? Who is your out-of-state contact person? Where would you meet if you were not allowed back in your neighborhood? Do you have kits in your car that would help you if life as we know it changed in a moment, even if only for a day?

These are all important questions and I know that you and your families will be able to come up with even more. The best thing that you can do for your family is to sit down with them and discuss these things, no matter what their ages are and even if, or especially because, they don’t live at home any more. Remember, knowledge is power. Take control and empower you and your family to confront a disaster head on. Be prepared.


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