Who would have thought the cold and blustery weather, along with the white fluffy stuff, would show up this soon? Although we are approaching the end of hurricane season, we were recently forced to shift our focus to winter weather risks as we were harshly reminded that disasters happen year-round.
While some may enjoy the colder weather and the accompanying snow, others like myself, prefer the warmer temperatures. Regardless of your view on cold and snow, now is the time of year when temperatures drop. It is also the time of year when gusting winds and accumulating ice and snow can bring power outages.
Power outages can accompany virtually every natural disaster and are more common than you’d think. Power grids, generating plants, transformer stations, power poles and even buried cables are vulnerable to the elements of natural disasters. The rare October Nor’easter that struck recently left approximately 3.2 million customers on the East Coast without power. The effects can be devastating and outage durations can last a couple of hours or a couple of weeks depending on the severity of the event and service options available in the affected area. (How we’re supporting Northeast states after the severe winter storm.)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released its Winter Outlook for this December through February, which will be influenced strongly by La Niña causing shifts in weather patterns across the country. But with no way to be 100 percent certain about the weather to come, it’s important to be prepared for emergencies 365 days a year.
One thing we can do, as community leaders and preparedness advocates, is to take the time to encourage organizations, communities, individuals and families to review their disaster plans and update their emergency kits. Below are a few considerations you can share with community members when discussing how to prepare for a power outage:
Actions to take during a power outage:
Even if your community wasn’t affected by this recent winter-like storm, it’s still important to take the opportunity to inform your community about its risks and provide simple tips. Everyone can play a vital role in helping our communities prepare for severe winter weather.
Posted by: Paulette Aniskoff, Director, Individual and Community Preparedness
Photo courtesy of FEMA:
Simsbury, Conn., November 5, 2011 -- Utility crews work to restore power in the aftermath of a deadly winter storm. FEMA is assisting government and residents recover from the storm and is providing food and water, as well as generators for some public buildings and nursing homes.About The Salvation Army