Emergency Preparedness


Being prepared for an emergency is essential. We all know about the grasshopper and the ants. We have probably read articles on having a 72 hour emergency kit. In California we were warned about the coming of El Nino months in advance. I had forgotten what El Nino did last year so I personally was thinking people were getting a little hyped up for nothing. I didn’t buy any rain boots before He came. I forgot to take my umbrella most days. I guess my fading memory as I age blanked out some of last year’s excitement. Moving on to this year:

If you have read the newspaper or seen the news California had a visit from El Nino, the not-so-nice storm boy (El Nino means the boy.), a week or so ago. El Nino brings with him a lot of rain and wind, and spread damage in his wake. Not the kind of storms like the ones causing Missouri to flood. And not the freezing temperatures and blizzards of the east. But for California, El Nino strikes fear in the heart of many Californians.

I am from Pennsylvania, so El Nino is not what you’d consider a massive storm front, except in California. Here’s why: California is really a desert planted with a lot of trees and greenery to make it not look like a desert. Water here is precious and suffer from the want of it constantly. We don’t even water our lawns except on certain days because we are saving water.

But along cause California’s naughty storm boy dumping a whole lot of water in a very short little time. The problems start when California’s drainage systems can’t handle the massive influx. The state systems were built for desert mode and so when everything cuts loose we get flooding where other states wouldn’t even bat an eye. To illustrate how little rain we expect, most Californians don’t own rain boots. I sure don’t. My children don’t. I don’t even have a pair of fashion boots because none will fit over my fat calves.

We live at sea level here, by the way. So with the onslaught of rain, drains backed up, streets flooded sometimes to the height of 3 feet, people got trapped in their cars, and where I work the parking lot water level was up to the top of the curb and water flowed into the administration building rising quite high. (There are still fans and sump pumps going to dry the place out.)

As I left work on the worst day of the storm to get to my car, I floated to admin on the floor mat that was swimming on a sea of water. (I guess I could consider this a magic carpet ride, except my shoes got wet.) Then to get to my car I stepped into water up to the curb that quickly rose above my ankles. Of course, my car was at the far end of the parking lot. I didn’t have an umbrella and the rain was coming down in sheets. My shoes were soaked and you could hear me slogging water in my shoes. (Remember, I don’t own any boots.) Soaked to the skin from the rain. It was an adventure. I wasn’t too happy about the shoe situation, but otherwise I was okay. My son was there and wasn’t happy at all, especially because I move slowly even in a downpour and he feels he got wetter than he should have. It took 2 days in front of the heater to dry my shoes out to enable me to wear them again.

I carried large trash can bags with me and rubber bands to cover my feet, ankles, etc. should the flooding not recede. So the sun is out and the flooding has receded. I think I should still get some galoshes should El Nino decide he wants to return and rain on my parade!

You remember Noah and the ark and the rain that no one believed would come, right? Well, I came across some lessons on being prepared from a handout I received during an evening meeting in which we learned about storing supplies for an emergency. I don’t know if my friend who taught the class came up with these safety tips on her own or if she found them somewhere, so I don’t know who to credit. I am pretty sure you’ll think they are funny, but right on. So here goes:

All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Noah’s Ark

  • Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
  • Stay fit. When you’re 600 hundred years old, someone might ask you to do something really big.
  • Don’t listen to critics – Do what needs to be done.
  • For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
  • Speed isn’t always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.
  • When the doo-doo gets really deep, don’t just sit there and complain –SHOVEL!!
  • Don’t forget that we are all in the same boat.
  • Remember the woodpeckers inside are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.
  • Keep in mind that the ark was built by amateurs with the Lord’s help, while the Titanic was built by professionals.
  • No matter how bleak it looks, rain is always followed by a rainbow.

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