Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rock and roll

The earth moved on August 23, 2011 in central Virginia without warning and caused widespread damage. Since then we’ve been jolted with several aftershocks. There will be more.

On October 16, the Great Southeast Shakeout (http://www.shakeout.org/southeast/index.html)is scheduled. This event, sponsored by a host of emergency preparedness/management agencies, has lessons about surviving an earthquake. The website includes links to a great deal of interesting and useful information.

Our weather of late has been relatively benign, so it’s easy to be complacent. Satellites keep a watchful eye on the weather and give plenty of advance notice of the arrival of hurricanes.

But tornadoes can pop up in the blink of an eye spawning death and destruction in their path. Remember the derecho that smashed through the region a few years ago that left downed trees and power lines in its wake?

Bordered by Interstate 64 and the CSX tracks along the James River, much of Goochland is vulnerable to a hazardous materials incident that could happen in a instant.

While September, the traditional height of hurricane season, is national preparedness month, it’s also a good time to give at least a fleeting thought to being able to take care of yourself and your family for a few days with no outside help. In a widespread emergency, first responders, the people you expect to come to your aid when you dial 911, could be overwhelmed. The ability to take care of yourself and your family is vital.

Remember the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in 2003? High winds knocked out power to a large part of eastern Virginia for extended periods of time.

Last winter’s bitter cold and the deep snows of 2010 brought other challenges.

Grocery stores are over run the day before a storm, but what if you had no warning? As you read this, would you be able to stay where you are for three days if told to shelter in place?

Please take a few minutes as the days grow shorter, to check the batteries in your smoke alarms, find your flashlights and fire extinguishers and make sure they are in working order. Tuck a little extra non-perishable food in your pantry, and maybe some bottled water if you don’t have a generator to keep your well pump going.

As many of us range far afield from home during the workweek, it’s a good idea to designate a meeting place in the event your family is unable to get home.

For more strategies to prepare for the unexpected, visit ready.gov. A little foresight and common sense goes a long way to being safe not sorry.

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