Millions of people across the mid-Atlantic region of the United States are without power as a swarm of violent storms took out power lines throughout the country. And yet again, most Americans have been caught completely off guard.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
After what’s being called a “Historic Storm” made its way across parts of the east coast, a State of Emergency has been declared in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia.
As many as three million people have been without power for over 72 hours and officials are warning that some areas could be without power until late in the week. At least 18 people are dead and officials are warning that the record-setting heat in the region could compound the problem.
RECORD SETTING HEAT
The mid-Atlantic region of the United States is in the middle of one of the most deadly heat waves in recent history. With no power to run air conditioning units, millions have taken refuge in shopping malls, movie theaters, libraries, emergency cooling centers and anywhere that has emergency power.
DAMAGE TO POWER GRIDS
Thunderstorms and high winds knocked out power and caused catastrophic damage to power grids in states from Ohio to New Jersey. The power outages have left millions of people to deal with blistering hot homes as temperatures approached or exceeded 100 degrees.
Power in some areas could be out until next weekend.
Cell service and internet outages have only compounded the problem as millions of cell subscribers have either been without service or complain of spotty service. Verizon informed a number of 911 call centers that their customers were unable to make emergency calls.
In a number of cities emergency 911 call centers were not in service. From power outages effecting the emergency call centers to cell phone outage that made it impossible for people to reach emergency personnel, the emergency response system suffered a massive failure.
Parts of Northern Virginia went without 911 service for over 48 hours. This should serve as a major wake-up call to those that think emergency responders will be able to help you during an emergency.
Commuters are finding an absolute transportation nightmare in many areas of the country. In west Virginia, hundreds of Amtrak passengers were stranded for over 20 hours after debris blocked both sides of the train tracks. From mass transit delays and shutdowns to road closures and signal outages, commuters can expect to see transportation problems and longer than normal commutes for at least a week.
WATER & SEWAGE PROBLEMS
Boil water advisories, water restrictions and sewage backups are causing major problems for those who failed to prepare. A large portion of the affected areas have been told to not drink the tap water without boiling it. A number of cities have also imposed water restrictions.
FOOD, WATER & ICE SHORTAGES
A number of stores throughout the region are reporting major shortages of water, food, and ice, as unprepared residents flock to local stores to stock up. Ice has become a major commodity as millions of people desperately try to save what little food they have.
LESSONS TO LEARN
It’s sad to say but most people probably won’t learn a damn thing from this disaster. I mean, how many years has the public been warned to prepare for natural disasters, only to be caught off guard time and time again? This storm showcases how unprepared Americans really are to protect themselves from even the most basic disasters.
Is it really that difficult to understand that you need to have basic supplies in case something bad happens? How hard is it to stock up on some extra food and water?
- WATER – If the power grid goes down there’s a pretty good chance your tap water will become undrinkable. Now is the time to put together an emergency water supply and learn how to find water during an emergency.
- EMERGENCY FOOD – In preparation for any type of disaster you need to think about emergency food. After a disaster, power outages are going to cause some major problems. From those who failed to prepare raiding the local grocery store, to power outages spoiling refrigerated foods, you need to come up with a plan to feed yourself and your family during a disaster. We advise stocking up on canned foods, dry food mixes, dehydrated camping foods, and other foods that do not require refrigeration.
- INVENTORY YOUR SUPPLIES – Take an inventory of your supplies and calculate how long you can realistically survive with what you currently have. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of your inventory assessment make a list of what you need and then start stockpiling those items.
- CAMPING – Think about what items you would take on a camping trip and then stock up on those items. These are the type of things that you’ll want to stock up on because you’ll probably be camping out in your home for at least a couple of days following the storm.
- LIGHTING – Candles, lanterns and flashlights are all essential emergency preparedness items. Make sure you have a number of them on hand and don’t forget to stock up on extra batteries.
- GENERATORS– If you can afford one, a generator sure makes things a lot easier during a power outage. Just remember to keep it away from your home and away from windows so the dangerous exhaust fumes don’t blow back into your home.
- EVACUATION PLAN – Having an emergency evacuation plan is a crucial step in being prepared. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important elements in any good survival plan.