Tuesday, March 11, 2008

weather attitude

Home Sweet Home Sweet Home II by Niro Vasali
Home Sweet Home Sweet Home II

There has been a shift in attitude about damage caused by the weather. It seems normal now that tiles fall off, that roofs leak and that water gushes down the walls. It is a minor disruption compared to floods that take everything with it.

About 3 years ago, such weather and its damage would have raised eyebrows, panic. As a result of the storm the next hamlet were without electricity for 24 hours which apparently has not happened before in the last 25 years. Trees falling down over electrical cables also seem the norm, diverting traffic, making deliveries late and unpredictable.

Not many visitors in the shop today which to us is the effect of the weather. I am still grateful that I do not need to go out in the weather when it rains. I could see the rain and wind battle it out from within a safe haven. I also noticed that neighbours joined together to drink tea, to offer warmth, comfort and help where needed. There is regret from some that home maintenance was put on hold and resolutions to plan and prepare better. The difficulty is knowing what in fact we are planning for.

With powerlines above ground , there will always be danger of trees falling and disrupting the network. If your whole existence centres around electricity, and it is cut for a long period of time, how do you prepare for that?

I personally cannot bear to be cold and a woodburner that can heat some soup or boil sufficient water is a lifesaver.

Some safety tips for when blackout happens :

  • Only use a torches for emergency lighting. Never leave candles unattended
  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
  • If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.
  • Listen to local radio for updated information.

How Can I Prepare Before a Blackout Happens?
Assemble supplies, including:

  • Torches
  • Batteries
  • Portable radio
  • at least one gallon of water
  • a small supply of food.

The house seems to have withstood the wind and rain damage others did not escape. Someone felt their house shake, other wrestled with tarpaulin to cover and make good. All in a days work today.

The shift in attitude is one from horror and surprise that hurricanes, winds and rain can slash the countryside to a strange acceptance that this is the new weather we can expect in winter. Warm, wet, windy and unpredictable. It is not just staying warm that is the key but to keep water out and roofs on.

We may have taken our homes for granted in the past and in the future there is an opportunity to ensure that the house is tight and safe for the winter to come.

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