I must say it was a bit upsetting to watch the DC area including Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland trying to recover from the surprise storms that hit them last week. A huge number of people lost power at a time when there was an on-going heat wave. The power company had to slog through neighborhood after neighborhood clearing debris and restoring power and although they obviously worked hard and worked long hours their progress did not meet the needs of the residents of the area or give the rest of us any kind of confidence that progress would be any better if this happened near any other large metropolitan area.
Yesterday, as we all watched parades and picnicked and celebrated, news channels reported that some areas without power were also without food. I don’t know what happened to the non-perishable food supplies, but lack of refrigeration is what happened to the perishable food supplies. Stores and individuals had to throw away their frozen foods once their freezers shut down and they certainly could not schedule any deliveries until their power was restored. Some people, especially in West Virginia, are living in very remote areas where power may not be restored until tomorrow. Today’s news reported that 90% of people now have power, which means 10% do not. People had trouble getting water, cleaning themselves, cleaning clothing.
Our weather is showing a tendency to get more violent, rather than less. We are not set up to live without power at all. Most of us don’t own generators. Most of us don’t have a backup well or stream or an emergency outhouse tucked around the corner. If storms hit metro areas housing millions of people, perhaps amenities need to be rolled out by some agency like FEMA so that life can go on until power is restored. Bring in generators and freezers to neighborhoods where people can store food, bring in port-a-potties, bring in portable showers and water trucks. We may need emergency supply kits that include big items like this which can be mobilized as needed.
I think it is safe to assume that if this happened once it will happen again, and, in fact, it has not just happened once; it has happened over and over again recently (especially those tornadoes). We need to reassess our emergency preparedness and we need to update our offerings.