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Natural calamities, fortunately, don’t come Perry County’s way too often. But last week’s big ice storm shows once again why it’s so important for all of us to have a plan in place when emergencies occur, no matter the season.
As we all know, the big storm closed roads and cut power to thousands of people. We know of many who moved in with friends or neighbors or hunkered down in homes heated with wood stoves or gas fireplaces. However, several took advantage of a Red Cross shelter established at the Schergens Center in Tell City.
Despite the inconvenience and discomfort, most of us made do. We know of no serious, storm-related injuries that took place locally. But let’s not be fooled. Severe winter weather kills. Last week’s storm claimed more than 20 lives.
Being prepared for emergencies begins with being prepared and able to answer the questions many of us ask when we lose power, are kept from traveling or find that our cell phones don’t work.
• Where will I stay?
• What will I eat?
• How will I keep in touch with loved ones?
Many of us run to the store for bread, milk and other necessities when snow threatens. But what happens when we can’t get out? Do we have non-perishable staples to tide us over for several days if we can’t make it to town? The American Red Cross recommends we stock emergency supplies that include clean drinking water for three days, that’s about 1 gallon of water per person per day; purchase foods you regularly eat that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and keep enough food for at least a week, maybe two. It is better to have extra food than to run out.
Keep cupboards stocked with dried fruit, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, condensed soups, instant cereals, powdered milk and nuts. Make sure to keep a manual can opener in the house. Teach your kids how to use it.
Being prepared also means having fresh batteries in flashlights in our homes and cars, blankets in case we get stranded or lose power and making sure our gas and propane tanks are at least half full during winter.
Many people reported difficulty placing or receiving cell calls last week, either because of overloaded networks or ice damage to towers.
Family members should know whom to contact, perhaps a relative or neighbor, when they can’t reach home. They can relay information and keep loved ones from worrying.
Part of our preparedness plans should also include keeping in touch with neighbors and friends who are homebound, require medical attention or who live alone.
Local utility crews, police officers and road workers worked hard last week to keep us warm and safe last week. But each of us has the responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families when things get tough, as they did last week.
Developing a plan for dealing with the unexpected is a first step.
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