Are you prepared?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 18:41

When this community was founded, rugged individuals had to wage daily battles for survival in a harsh, unforgiving land. Today, it doesn’t take much to remind us what life might have been like in those frontier times.

The recent windstorm that ripped through town last week was more than just a minor inconvenience in Chugiak-Eagle River. In some places, power was knocked out for several days, leaving many people without many of the modern conveniences we’ve become so used to. Overnight, comfy homes were turned into dark, chilly shelters.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in the storm, and crews have restored power to all areas that lost it. But having to experience a world without electricity is no picnic, and it’s a good bet anyone without lights and heat for 4 or 5 days got more than their share of homestead-style living.

Coincidentally, September has been designated Alaska’s “Emergency Preparedness Month” by Gov. Sean Parnell. In a proclamation accompanying his announcement, Parnell stressed that all Alaskans have a duty to be ready whenever emergency situations present themselves.

“By learning and preparing, we can be ready to respond to disasters for our families and then be ready to assist our neighbors,” read the proclamation.

By far, the best way to be ready for an emergency is to plan ahead. Let your family know where to meet in the event of an emergency, and have back-up plans ready so you can quickly locate loved ones. Remember, cellphones might not work in some situations, so don’t expect them to be the critical lifeline they are during normal times.

Another important part of emergency preparedness is stockpiling food and water. In his proclamation, Parnell recommends all families have at least a week’s worth of drinking water and food on hand in case of a serious emergency. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’ve got plenty of batteries, warm clothes, blankets, matches, a first-aid kit, personal documents and medication.

Last week’s big storm won’t be the last to hit our area. And it won’t be the last time the lights go out. Now is the time to get your family ready so you’re not left in the dark the next time something unexpected happens.

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