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Disaster Lessons From Sandy
Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:03 pmForum Host
It’s been a rough week over in the East, and while things are slowly starting to get better, Sandy’s taught us a lot about dealing with natural disasters. Here’s what you should know for the next time around.
10. In a Disaster, Old Technology Is King
One of the first things Sandy took out as it tore through the East was cellphones, power, and internet—and even when cellphones came back online, they were pretty jammed. If you have a landline in your house, you’ll have a much better chance of staying in contact with the outside world, and even pay phones can become useful again. If all you have is a cellphone, though, texting is better than calling. Be sure to save any important web pages for offline access, so you can access the information on them even if your internet’s down. Photo by Clemson.
9. Prepare Your Home Ahead of Time
You can never guarantee your house won’t be damaged when the next disaster comes to town, but you can do a lot to prepare ahead of time. Use impact-resistant windows to keep them intact during a windstorm, secure your doors with a sizeable deadbolt and at least three hinges, and make sure your roof is able to resist high winds. PLAN FOR DISASTER well before hurricane season and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping everything intact (and avoiding serious injury). Photo by Seth Anderson.
8. Your Car Might Be Salvageable
If you’re in a flood zone, there’s a good chance your car became a submarine once that storm hit. In most cases, your insurance agent will pay to scrap it, but if you really want it back, you can SALVAGE IT—particularly if it’s an older car. It probably won’t do much to help you get around in the aftermath, of course, since gas may be in a serious shortage (in fact, electric cars are surprisingly more useful in a blackout). If you have gas but don’t need to drive, you can siphon the gas from your car for a generator, too, which can at least give you power in your home.
7. Avoid Looters, Scams, and Other Ne’er-Do-Wells
There will always be those who try to exploit a disaster like this, both in the heart of the disaster zone and elsewhere in the country. If you own any kind of commercial outlet, make sure you have the necessary insurance to PROTECT AGAINST LOOTERS. If your house or business is damaged, take extra care to AVOID CROOKED CONTRACTORS. And, no matter where you are, avoid scams when donating to the relief effort—always donate to a reputable organization like the THE RED CROSS or THE SALVATION ARMY (in fact, you can donate to them with simple text message).
6. Social Networks Are Not a Reliable News Source
Networks like Twitter have been praised for their ability to get news out fast, but you can believe everything you follow. Twitter was incredibly useful if you were following Con Edison, the New York Mayor’s Office, and others—but it can also be a dangerous lie generator. As with avoiding scams, make sure you’re getting your “news” from a reputable source, especially if it’s on Twitter—and while you’re on it, don’t fall for those fake pictures either.
5. Prepare for Long-Term Power Outages
A week may not seem like a long time, but when you run out of power, it’s an eternity. Having the right tools can keep you powered up even during a blackout, so make sure you have them in your home. A gas generator is a huge boon, and a portable battery pack can at least help keep your phone charged. You can also grab power from your car, emergency lighting, and a lot more. See this LIST OF UNEXPECTED CHARGING LOCATIONS so you’re ready when the lights go out. Photo by Edenpictures.
4. Get Ready to Wait In Line
If you need to go anywhere in the aftermath of a disaster, you aren’t going to get there very fast. The Friday after Hurricane Sandy saw lines that stretched blocks for things like the Brooklyn-Manhattan Shuttle or the East River Ferry. If you need gas in your car, you’ll be waiting a lot longer—as in, at least two and a half hours. The takeaway? Fill up your cars and generators before the storm hits, and ask your boss if you can work from home while things get back up and running. .
3. Know What Is and Isn’t Safe to Eat
When you’ve lost power, your fridge becomes a ticking time bomb of spoiled food—and if your house has been flooded, you’re even worse off. Don’t eat anything that’s touched flood waters, and make sure you know what water is safe to drink or bathe in. KEEP FOOD AND WATER SAFE, and if you’re running low on food, Gawker’s got a good GO TO LIST OF HURRICANE FOOD. You can also make the best out of what you have and COOKING FROM THE PANTRY. Photo by Olesia Bilkei (Shutterstock).
2. Back Up Your Data
It may seem silly to worry about your computer during a disaster, but once everything else is accounted for, you don’t want to return home only to find that all of your important documents, finance information, and other data is lost forever. START BACKING UP YOUR DATA NOW. It isn’t that hard, and it’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about when the next disaster hits.
1. Always Have an Emergency Kit Ready to Go
Last and definitely not least: Always, always, always have an emergency kit in your home. Make sure you’re PREPARED FOR 72 HOURS, and check out our LISTS OF MUST-HAVES for your first aid and emergency disaster kit. THESE GADGETS might give you an extra edge as well, and when it comes time to clean up, a FEW SIMPLE HAND TOOLS can go a long way. Especially if you live in an area plagued by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or anything else, there’s no excuse for not having an emergency kit on hand ahead of time—you’ll be really happy when the worst happens.
Courtesy of LifeHacker.com
Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:04 pmForum Host
Thank you, Molly...good article!
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