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Monday, February 2, 2009

Ice Storm!

I feel for the people in Kentucky and other states hit with a snow storm, ice storm, and now a wind storm. It's been a while since we have had a severe ice storm here, but the thought of trying to drive (nearly impossible), trying to walk anywhere (ditto), and watching firefighters try to put out a fire when all of the water that falls onto the ground freezes almost instantly are still embedded in my memory. After keeping up with the Kentucky situation via online and television news sources, here's some reminders:
  • Never use a generator, barbecue, or other combustible heating/power source in your home. The carbon monoxide fumes will kill you (so far four deaths in Lexington were attributed to this).
  • Have a chainsaw on hand. Even if you don't use it regularly, it will come in handy when the tree limbs start falling on your house.
  • Check on your elderly and infirm neighbors and relatives. There is no excuse for people to die of hypothermia in their homes when there are people around who know they are home alone during a lengthy power outage and thus have no source of heat.
  • If you are not prepared for a lengthy power outage and don't have heat, go to a shelter. The Red Cross usually sets up shelters in these types of events and it is much better to be warm with a bunch of stranger than freezing in your home.

  • Keep enough extra food in your home to carry you through at least a month. Many people were out of food in the area affected by the storm within the first few days. With grocery stores closed, they had to rely on rations provided as the National Guard who went door to door to check on people.

  • Have water on hand too. Many water systems wouldn't work because of the storm.
  • There's something to be said for body heat. One family that was interviewed by a reporter had 18 friends and neighbors staying with them. They all stayed in a large room heated by a fireplace. Not the best situation but better than freezing.

  • Communications have been out for almost a week in some places; this means land line phones and cell phones that ran out of battery power were dead. Having a hand held, battery powered HAM radio and/or a car charger for your cell phone is a good idea.

  • I do like how the net has played a role in storm reporting. Check out the Twitter page for the ice storm here.

  • power for the Super Bowl :(
  • Be careful with candles and lanterns when the power is out. There always seem to be fires, sometimes deadly, attributed to the use of candles during a power outage.

Well that's about it from here. If anyone in an area hit by the storm has more advice for the rest of us, please post in the comments section.


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