Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Emergency managers
Fall into “scenario” trap


There is a young lady carousing in the Caribbean with designs on south Florida.

Turn on the tv and you hear the name “Chantal.” Once named, the tv news readers tell us we are advised to get our hurricane preparations underway.

Turn on the radio and you hear the same thing.

Pick up a newspaper – yes, there still are newspapers in south Florida – and you not only are encouraged with hurricane preparations but you also get a hurricane tracking map.

‘Course you also can get a tracking map at the local, almost ubiquitous, Publix market.

Crackers, and this scrivener is at least a “semi-Cracker,” consider a lot of the urgency expressed by the tv weather boys and girls to be a bit much. How the visitors take the constant admonishments is beyond my ken.

The problem is that the copy writers are focusing on one threat package – hurricane – and they should be marketing NOT “hurricane prep” but “threat prep.”

Hurricane preparation is actually pretty basic.

  1. Batteries for flashlights, radios, tv, and miscellaneous other devices
  2. Books – make friends with Local Lending Library – to pass the time
  3. Candles that are big enough and thick enough to stay lit for awhile; wicked lamps with a bottle or two of “lamp oil” and something to light the fire – matches, barbeque starter
  4. Car chargers for cell phones and other “charge in the car” devices
  5. Fluids, a gallon or two of bottled H2O for drinking (bathtubs and sinks can be filled as the storm nears for limited bathing and toilet flushing)
  6. Fuel in the car(s)
  7. Medicines, both OTC and prescription, to last at least 72 hours
  8. Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  9. Ready cash
  10. Suitcase(s) with sufficient clothing for several days
  11. Telephone – the POTS type that connects to the wall jack and requires no connection to AC power
Finally, if the house has hurricane shutters make certain they easily can be closed/lowered.

With the exception of checking the hurricane shutters, ALL of the items on the list can be used for other events or times.

    Fire: Items 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Flood: Items 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (until the house dries out) Power outage: Items 1, 3, 4, 11

What’s nice about most of the “hurricane” supplies, beside the fact they can be used for other events, is that they can be used any non-event time that the stock can be replenished in a day or two.

Canned tuna – toss in some mayo, chop up some veggies, and maybe add a small Red Savina Habanero or milder Scotch Bonnet – they look alike – to spice up the concoction. You might need some bread handy; pitas are good and stay fresh for a while without refrigeration.

Emergency Managers need to take a broader view

Telling people that what they squirrel away for a very rainy and windy day ALSO is handy for other days.

Candles can lend a romantic light to an evening meal of cold chicken and a couple of veggies served with a room-temperature suitable wine.

By the way, pre-cooking foods, such as the chicken, always is a good idea. Ordering pizza for the freezer (or make your own) can add another menu item. A barbeque. From a simple charcoal hibachi to a monster multi-burner rig with all the bells and whistles, is handy to have and, like most other “hurricane prep” items can be used at other times of the year. Just be sure to use charcoal in a well-ventilated area.

Theonly “hurricane prep” I do is

  1. check the storm shutters at the beginning of the season
  2. turn down the thermostat on the refrigerator and freezer and stuff as much frozen food into the freezer as possible when the storm is 24 hours away
  3. fill bathtubs and sinks with water when the storm is 12 hours away
Everything else on the list – and a few more things that are not – are always on hand.

If I wrote it, you may quote it.

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