As someone who helps local residents prepare for future disasters or emergencies that could impact our community, I quite often hear a familiar refrain: “We live in Southern Arizona. Nothing ever happens here.”
True, we don’t get headlines for tornadoes or hurricanes.
But think about some of the things that have happened here in recent years: We have had record cold winters, with pipes freezing and bursting throughout the community. We have seen record high temperatures, microbursts and wildfires that have threatened lives and property. We have seen a mass shooting, flooding and drought. Airplane crashes or hacking attempts into financial and governmental institutions remain a risk.
If you were not impacted by any of these types of events in some way, you were fortunate.
With September being National Preparedness Month, it is worth pausing for a moment to consider all the ways something as simple as a power outage will affect you. Without electricity, there will be no television, no computers or radios. Importantly in the summer, there will be no air conditioning and possibly interrupted water supplies. Cell phone batteries will quickly be depleted and landlines won’t be operational. Food will spoil in refrigerators and freezers and grocery stores will quickly run out of merchandise if trucks can’t fill up their vehicles, since gasoline is pumped from the ground using electricity. Banks and ATMs will not be working.
In the first week of November, Arizona will hold a statewide exercise to test plans and preparations for this scenario, working under the premise that the power grid has been knocked offline and won’t be up for two weeks.
While it is comforting to know critical plans are in place to adapt to such a scenario, we must be personally responsible for our own community, neighborhoods and families.
What is your plan to cope with the situation?
If you didn’t have a great answer, one of the easiest places to get started is at www.ready.gov online.
Something you can do right away: Store a copy of your important documents, such as birth certificates, marriage/divorce paperwork, custodial records, immunizations, house and auto insurance policies, as well as important medical and immunizations records on a CD or flash drive. Beyond that, make a list of things you would need to take with you in an evacuation — and consider getting trained on first aid and CPR.
Taking these simple steps will help you on your way to being resolved – and ready.