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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A World of Hurt

Here I sit in my WARM home office doing some reflecting. I am not only doing this because of the season but of the other forces that have effected my family, friends and neighbors in recent days.

Where I live, Fort Wayne, Indiana experienced a bad winter storm of snow, ice, and bitter single digit temperatures. A result of that wicked combination was over 100k households in the span of about 3 hours lost power on Friday 12/19/08. My house was one of them. I was not worried. I am prepared. I have a disaster plan and supplies, but I was in a world of hurt. The problem was that with any disaster is that most people DO NOT prepare, and thus the problems begin. With this storm, the bitter cold was the enemy. I had hooked up "Mr Grumpy" my 6800k generator, to keep the furnace and basics working. I also rigged up my neighbors furnace and had their house covered too. All around me was darkness, for 30 blocks in every direction, I had a serious concern about theft and looting. I have no worries in that dept. either, I am armed. Since most of my neighbors had left and knew I was staying, they ask me to look over their houses.

To keep my sanity, I kept a routine, fire roaring, lights off, and every two hours make the rounds of the ten or so houses around me and of course check "Mr. Grumpy". Between rounds, a little shut eye, catching up on reading ( with my led headlamp) and stoking the fire. The storm had also dropped a large amount of tree limbs across roads, over cars and on houses. The sound of all the ice and wind was the most unique sound I have ever experienced. On day 3 I really got worried, most stores were out of supplies, and the gas station nearest to me lost power. I did have 18 gallons in reserve, but in this instance, I had 3 extra gas cans and so I ventured out to fill them. (a four hour venture). OK, so on top of all this, I had to go check on my Alzheimer's mother and her facility. All good there, they actually had a primary and secondary generator and had not lost power. In addition, I am watching over my 98 year old Great Aunt Clara. A few problems there, the "Independent Living" facility where she lives was dark. Apparently, state code does not require them to have back-up power. Needless to say. I gave them a bitching out after discovering the lack of generators. I tried to get them to describe to me what the difference is between profits and doing the right thing is. I made arrangements to get my great aunt to a relatives house with power.

Enough of my long and boring story, lets jump to today. Power is restored and everyone is back where they belong in my family. Others are not so lucky. As of this writing, approx. 17k homes still have no power. A note on the Power Company. American Electric Power took a shotgun blast on this weather event. Their response was nothing more than heroic. They have done an outstanding job, bringing in crews totaling 1300. I personally saw over a dozen different convoys of trucks and charter buses of crews. On the second day, at a staging area, they must have had 300 trucks gathered in a Wal-Mart store parking lot. I saw that and knew the Calvary had arrived! I saw trucks from North Carolina and Tennessee. They have gone beyond the duty to work around the clock to get the power restored. One thing I failed to mention are the 35+ mph winds after the storm. This posed a dangerous threat to the crews trying to work outside and a threat to tearing down the repairs already done. I cannot say enough for these workers, they really saved the day!

Think about how you will prepare for 2009, think about how you will handle the adversity, think about how important your family is and what they mean to you. If you are prepared, you can handle anything...

Merry Christmas to all-May Christ warm your heart with his love.

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