Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The great Valentine Ice storm

Here are a few views that may make life somewhat better for the next ice storm. Everyone should have a radio that will pick up the local radio station. Here in Ripley County that would be WRBI FM located in Batesville. You may want to put a mark on the tuning dial with a sharpy or some white-out. I observed very little information was passed from EMA, Sheriff, or State to the radio station and this needs to be corrected. The radio station should be equipped with VHF radio so if phone service is disrupted the information can get through. You the listener should have extra batteries on hand, but I know you won't, so a better idea is to buy a wind-up powered radio. Radio Shack and other stores carry these. Now if you want to here the total big picture, buy a scanner for public service frequencies. Listen to EMA, Sheriff, and State Police. Listen to it before you need to. Get compatible with the unit numbers so you know the calls are intended for your county and not the next county to the East or West. You may want to also buy a Weather Radio. These are good for severe weather and will keep you up on day to day forecasts. About everyone these days has a cell phone, but keep the battery charged as with ice storms the power goes off. Get a cord that will let you use it from your car. Keep enough gasoline in your car to reach the nearest hospital as the rescue unit may be too overloaded with calls. Turn your car facing the road so you don't have to turn around to get out to the main road. Put the keys in your pocket so you won't have to look for them when its time to go. Have some sort of lights when the power goes out. The new LED flash lights are great as the batteries will last almost forever. Oil lamps should be kept full of oil and ready to light. Women always seem to have candles, know where she keeps them. Sense no one smokes these days, keep matches and know where they are. A Bic lighter is a good investment. I am not going to tell you how to keep warm in your house when the power goes out, but you should think of a way. Most heating devices will not work with no AC power. If you have no way to get heat find out where a shelter is and go there, don't wait. You should know where and how to shut off the water before you abandon your house. Turn off electrical appliances so if the power comes back on before you return there will be no harm to them. Turn off your electric water heater to save the heating elements in case a pipe breaks. I found that no one knows what is meant by the Emergency snow levels 1, 2, 3. I don't know at this time either, but I and you should find out before they put them out again. There are very few buildings here in Ripley county that can be heated without AC power. No heat - no shelter. This is something for EMA to investigate and preparer for before the next ice storm. To end, just plan ahead for the next ice storm or blizzard. Its not if, its when.

Jack Demaree (just a concerned citizen)

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