People Stranded In Their Cars for 22 Hours (Snowstorm), Propane Shortage

1 Feb

Warm air in Alaska pushed frigid cold air down into the lower USA.

Roads in Atlanta, GA, became gridlocked as vehicles spun out. Unable to drive on the 2″ of ice (!), many drivers simply abandoned their vehicles and walked home. Roads were unpassable. Other drivers camped out in their vehicles.

What are the lessons for citizens? The wisdom of prepping, or preparing for emergencies and disasters, is once again proven true. One lady who abandoned her car and walked, walked in high heels. Sure, she looked good. But, it couldn’t have been a fun walk.

Lesson 1. Sometimes the simplest things are the most important. Do you have good tennis shoes or boots in your vehicle if you drive to work in high heels or dress shoes? What if you were suddenly forced to trudge though the snow or walk home?

As I wrote in the book, inadequate footwear was an issue for many people evacuating the 9/11 emergency. Before cars, before busses, before humans tamed horses, walking was the basic way to get from point A to point B. Don’t take your walking footwear for granted!

All drivers should keep a basic emergency kit in their vehicles. In my book, I write extensively about winter survival kits, but residents of Georgia shouldn’t need a full-blown winter survival kit, merely a jacket, and the usual things in a car emergency kit. Assemble a basic car kit suitable for your location.

Lesson 2. Don’t assume the authorities know best. The state and local governments recognized they should let people have the day off from work. Two factors made this correct decision a problem. The decision was made too late, when people were already at work. Advanced monitoring of the weather channel predicted what was coming. The correct decision made too late doesn’t always work. When people were sent home, it became a Soccer Stampede, because everybody was told to go home at once, at the same time. Staggering dismissals would have been better.

Lesson 3. Experience matters. GA was simply unprepared for this event, because it happens so rarely there. That isn’t bad. It’s difficult to be ready for things that only happen infrequently.

It reminds me of putting up cement board. The board has two sides, a smoother side and a rougher side. Which side is supposed to face out if you’re tiling a bathroom wall? I’ve done this job myself, but it was like fifteen years ago. I did a great job. If I did the same job today, it would be like starting over. I’d have to relearn what I once knew but have forgotten. Without the relearning, I’d do a hack job.

This is why training is so important for readiness. Memories fade, skills become dormant.

Reading some of the reader posts to the news stories about the storm was amusing. One guy wrote, “This is the most hilarious disaster ever in the History of USA!” Another joked that if there were ever another civil war between the North and South again, it would end with the first Southern snowfall. The South would capitulate.

For a Northerner, being stranded by 3″ of snow is kinda funny. The Northern states can get 30″ or more in a day. We had 3-4″ just yesterday. The Northern states have experience in dealing with heavy snow every winter.

The problem for readiness, is that very few have experience. If there were a terrorist chemical attack in any state, the state wouldn’t be ready. Expect the authorities to make bad decisions or make good decisions too late.

Lesson 4. Those around you are one of your most important resources. One of the articles wrote, “..Southern hospitality reigned as strangers took in strangers and tried to make the best of the situation.” Strangers brought food to stranded drivers, and invited them into their homes.

The simplest thing, pushing a stuck car out of a rut, takes help from others.

In other news, there is a shortage of propane and prices have risen dramatically.

For those who rely on propane and who can afford it, a good idea is to have a second tank and keep a reserve. It’s during times of abundance when you want to squirrel away the things you want to have available in the tough times.

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning

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