FROM GARFIELD COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
By Mike Honigsberg, Director
When was the last time there was a power outage that affected you? Were you at home, at work, at an eating establishment, the post office, the doctor’s office, the grocery store, the vet with your pet, hmm, that rhymes. You can be driving in traffic around town and suddenly the traffic signals fail even though there are backups, it can still occur. What if it happens? What will you do? How will you deal with it? What decisions will you make based on where you are?
What causes power outages? Here is a list; animals, accidents, tornadoes, lightning, high winds, ice storms, thieves, kids poking things into outlets, bad decision making which can cause #2 on this list to occur. There are hundreds of things that can cause outages and most folks understand this. Any one of hundreds of events or decisions can cause power to fail and it can affect tens of thousands of people, or just a few.
Let’s talk storms. A storm 50 miles away COULD affect power at your home. So you lose power. What are you going to do? Have you even taken the time to consider what you might do if that in fact occurs? Let’s talk about an ICE STORM since that was a threat a few weeks ago. Here is what “most” folks do. Hmm, a storm is coming. I guess it’s time to go and get a generator. No, it shouldn’t be that bad. I will wait and see if the forecast changes, it usually does and won’t affect me anyways. I am getting low on a few groceries but again, I’ll wait.
Now, you watch TV. The world is coming to an end!! 24/7 coverage along with folks driving all over creation on dry roads, initially. The temperature outside is in the mid to upper 30’s. No frozen roads yet. All stations are showing something different. What do you believe and how will you survive?? According to them it will be worse than any ice storm ever!! TOO MUCH DRAMA AND HYPE TO ME. Have you looked at the information from the “no ratings needed” NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE? You may need to read a little, but you would be amazed at what you could learn and all the variables involved in ANY TYPE of forecast for a weather event. You will see words like possibly, maybe, if, and a few others that tell the indecisive story on an up and coming event. They won’t panic you. I will stop here on this one.
Let’s discuss FRUSTRATION. WHAT IS IT?
- The feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of the inability to change or achieve something. Hmm, like a power outage.
- An event or circumstance that causes one to have a feeling of frustration. Hmm. A power outage can do this!!
- The prevention of the progress, success, or fulfillment of something. No power= no computer= frustration. Possibly a power outage, works for me!!
This said, in our society today, electrical power is everything. When it goes away, even for a short time, the world comes to an end for many folks. WHY? They don’t have a clue how to survive without electricity simply because they aren’t taught about this. It amazes me how uneducated many folks are today about very simple things and this is why there are millions of folks out there that are susceptible to false suggestion. How do you gain knowledge about anything? Experience. I gained this about electricity in the 3rd grade. Dad asked me to take the light bulb out of the lamp. I did and then he told me to stick my finger in the light socket. I did and I learned immediately that finger in socket = SHOCK!!!! I never did that again. I even got in trouble showing my little sister how to do this. She cried and I got spanked. I learned then that I should ONLY share my experience VERBALLY and let nature take its course. See? Experience = Knowledge.
Power is out and you weren’t prepared, what do you do. Many folks went out and bought generators and I hope they read the instructions. In those areas where power was never lost, they want to get rid of those generators. WHY? You may need them later on in the event you lose power!! I bought one in 2002 after the ice event and still have it!! I have used it twice in all those years but those 2 times paid off simply because I had heat, television, and hot water. Lucky me. I was and I am still prepared. You know why it still works? Preventive maintenance. It’s kind of like your car, oil change, fuel, running it once in a while. It’s all relevant when you think ahead. If you need it, it’s there. It may be in the way sometimes, but at least it’s there and IT WORKS!!
ELECTRICAL COMPANIES- CO-OPS, OGE, etc are in the power business. When weather events occur, they try to be as prepared as possible. During this past event, I was impressed that so many were ready for the task of restoring power. Most were not needed. That’s ok. Out west though, there are still folks that may not have power back for several more weeks just because they live so far out in the rural areas. Are they frustrated, yes they are but they knew the consequences when they moved out there. Most were prepared. Some I am sure weren’t. Either way, when power is lost whether it’s a small issue or a region wide event, there are procedures that have to be followed. First, they perform reconnaissance. You have to know the extent of the damage. Second, by folks calling in, that helps them determine that area involved so CALL IN when you lose power. Third, after determining the extent and resources lost, they have to order in poles, wire, transformers, people, etc. This said most companies will have done #3 prior to the event. This list could go on and on but for the sake of time, I will leave this at these few.
Here is the KEY TO PREVENT FRUSTRATION. It will TAKE TIME to fix the system especially if a lot was broken. This is where Patience comes in. Just understand that it will take time to get this done. These folks are out in the elements risking their lives to get your power restored. Respect and understand that and frustration will be eased some. Look at this another way, you go out on ice covered roads and end up in a rollover accident. Now we have to respond on that same ice to get to you and we face the same dangers because you decided to be out when you should have stayed at home. It’s all one in the same.
I have been preaching preparedness for over 21 years and how many of you have attended training of some sort from me or just listened to a talk while attending a civic club breakfast or lunch. Maybe it was in-house training. I always ask if you are prepared for most things that could occur. I never ask for a show of hands but how prepared were you?
I heard many stories of people in the grocery stores being really mad at them for running out of bread and milk. I guarantee you that it wasn’t my posts or videos that panicked the masses. I stated in a post earlier in the week that if you are running low on anything, top off the supplies and you’ll be fine. When panic arrived from the “south”, hundreds of folks went nuts and were very rude to grocers here in town. It wasn’t necessary to panic this way and if folks could just pay attention and think before reacting, there wouldn’t have been panic at the last minute. Hopefully no one got hurt.
How prepared are you? How long can you get by without having to go to the grocery store? Can you stay warm/cool depending when an outage would occur. Do you have a generator or battery backups to keep phones and accessories charged. When an event is going to occur, don’t let the OKC media drive you into an emotional state of mind that causes you to panic. They want ratings. I want Public Safety. Your awareness level DEMANDS that decision making is based on logic and not emotion.
Be prepared. Here in GARFIELD COUNTY and the surrounding area, download our Notification App- GARFIELD COUNTY EM. Learn how it works. Listen to our LOCAL radio stations, KOFM-103.1, KNID-107.1, and KXLS-95.7, KCRC-AM 1390, KGWA-AM 960 and pay attention to Enid Buzz and Enid News and Eagle. We all work together to get information out to our local region. Guess what, WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING TOO!!
The title: Power Outage=Frustration should now become;
“Power Outage=Preparedness=Knowledge=Less Frustration”
WORKS FOR ME!!
Have a Super Day!!