"I’ve had it! I’m moving!" I insisted this winter-for the fifth time. The endless rain, power outages, hurricanes (hello?) and tornadoes (hello, hello?) threaten my beloved home (and psyche) more often than I care to admit. And in my corner of the woods, we had a four-day outage last year and a six-day outage this year, when even the land lines and cell phones were down.
Talk about a return to the past! Suddenly communication had to be passed door-to-door and often didn’t happen at all. With 911 service down, neighbors had to count on each other more. Fortunately, we had already as a community determined where emergency centers were and while conserving gas and limiting trips out, we could still convey emergencies through local Ham radio operators who were set up at those centers. The local radio station (who bought a generator after last year’s 4-day outage) became our only source of official information-including when to expect services to return. Although we also had to conserve batteries (highways into our area were closed due to tree blockage so supplies were limited), it became a high priority to listen to the news only until an update was given.
If you love the Northwest like I do, it is much harder to actually follow through with moving when the disasters are over. Because when the sun does peek out-and I get a chance to walk some trails, see some beautiful northwest scenery, find a beach, tilt my face to the blue sky and warm sun-I SO love my Northwest.
There is a lesson, however, in preparation. And part of living here (or anywhere for that matter), should include preparations for emergencies. We have it on good authority that our natural disasters will someday get worse. And, trust me, a stove or fireplace from Rich’s will greatly decrease the anxiety and stress in an emergent situation when there is no power and suddenly all your time is spent trying to stay warm, preparing food and concentrating on the once-simple art of keeping the dishes clean. Not only will the gas-powered options provide heat (that can spread even further with the use of a small generator for the fan) but it can provide a surface as well-necessary for cooking and boiling water.
I recently read the Restoration Series by Terri Blackstock. It’s a fictional account of what might occur if there was a long-term, worldwide outage. I was impressed with the details and the accuracy. I found out, at the end of the second book, that the author has also lived through it short-term, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.
Don’t be left out in the cold this year. Remember that our storms often continue into March and April. Get your stove or fireplace installed and keep an emergency stash of supplies nearby.