Wrapping Up National Preparedness Month
Have the last two years seemed like a horror movie come-to-life to you? My first reaction to that question would be “Yes.”
But then I stop to think and realize the answer is really “No.” Horror movies usually focus on one villain. Over the last couple of years it’s been one disaster after another.
And even if we limited our scope to the last month or so, we’d have to say there have been plenty of villains to go around.
A pandemic that continues to infect, sicken and kill. A deadly hurricane that ravaged many states. Wildfires consuming millions of acres of land and destroying homes.
Political upheaval affecting the economy.
And earlier this year it was a shocking deep freeze that left 4.5 million homes and businesses without power in Texas alone. And cost hundreds of lives.
The Need for Self-Reliance
As all of you know, we just completed National Preparedness Month. Once FEMA understood that disasters were far too frequent and devastating for the government to handle, they established this annual designation.
Encouraging self-sufficiency was a good idea. It brought additional awareness to being prepared. But it’s also something we’ve learned can’t be limited to one month.
There are just too many problems. And every time one occurs, we see the consequences of being unprepared. Such as empty grocery store shelves. No way to purify contaminated water. No safe backup power.
Below is a brief recap of some of the stuff we’ve dealt with in 2021. If this doesn’t convince us to be prepared, I don’t know what will.
Ida Delivers a Knockout Punch
Hurricane Ida was the fifth strongest hurricane in recorded history to strike the U.S. mainland. The Category 4 storm made landfall at Port Fourchon, Louisiana on August 29. Exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Bayou State.
After slamming the town of Grand Isle with 136-mile-per-hour winds, officials described their city as “uninhabitable.” In Jefferson Parrish, nearly every home had damaged or missing roofs.
At least 31 people in Louisiana died due to Ida. More than 1 million customers lost power in the state. Plus another 113,000 in Mississippi. More than 80 million Americans faced flood risks along the storm’s path.
After pulverizing Louisiana, Ida moved to the Northeast. That’s where flooding was responsible for more than 50 deaths. Including 27 in New Jersey. The storm started numerous fires and spawned tornadoes. And left hundreds of thousands without power.
Powerless to Counter Punch
Louisiana residents who rode out the storm were told to boil their water. That’s because water systems in many areas were either limited or knocked out of service.
The storm disabled 216 substations and 207 transmission lines in Louisiana. Entergy officials estimated that those living in southeastern Louisiana might be without power for weeks or more.
All this meant many of the state’s residents would be left sweltering in the heat for the foreseeable future.
As of this writing, there have been 17 named storms in 2021. And hurricane season still has two months to go.
Wildfires Ravage the Landscape
Wildfires have once again been a huge problem in the U.S. this year. As of this writing, the National Interagency Fire Center reports that 44,647 wildfires have burned more than 5.6 million acres.
Most of these wildfires occurred in the West. Especially hard hit have been California, Oregon and Washington. As well as Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Arizona.
Conditions bringing out this onslaught of wildfires include severe drought, high temperatures and high winds.
Prior to the 2021 wildfire season, 75 percent of the western U.S. experienced drought conditions. And 21 percent of those conditions were labeled “exceptional drought.”
Unprecedented Uri Unleashes Fury
Historic Winter Storm Uri packed a big punch back in February. At least 31 people died and many were hospitalized. More than 5 million homes and businesses lost electrical power.
All due to record-breaking frigid temperatures. And a killer storm featuring snow and ice. On February 15, it was colder in Houston, Texas than in Houston, Alaska. And Oklahoma City experienced its coldest morning since 1899.
As the storm moved east, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama were also hit hard. More than 109,000 lost power in Louisiana. Over 60,000 in Mississippi suffered blackouts.
Other states were struck hard as well. Officials in Oklahoma said unprecedented demand for electricity strained the state’s electrical grid and natural gas infrastructure.
The storm even caused damage and injuries in Georgia and Florida. Overall, power outages were reported in 15 states.
Preparedness = Peace of Mind
National Preparedness Month ended at midnight last night. But after what we’ve been through lately, preparedness is going to be on many people’s minds for a long time.
And that’s as it should be. Emergencies are scary. Crises are scary. Disasters are scary. But preparedness isn’t scary. It’s just plain common sense. And once you get prepared, it’s the opposite of scary. Preparedness brings peace of mind.
Thanks for reading our National Preparedness Month emails over the last few weeks. I hope they were informative.
As you know, 4Patriots offers many preparedness products. Each has its own website page. But to make things simpler, we’ve placed the most popular items in one spot.
Go here for our National Preparedness Month collection of Survival Food Kits, solar-powered generators and more preparedness gear. Plus our emergency radios, tactical flashlights and much more.
Let’s not limit preparedness to one month. It should be an ongoing process.