Be prepared for when things go wrong

I was sitting by the window watching the snow melt and thinking about everything that has happened in December. The lights went out and the pipe in the garage burst.

I’ve been telling my youngest son to become an Orthodontist but after being handed the bill by the plumber I may rethink my advice to him about his choice of professions. Although our electricity was only out for 24 hours — it was out for five straight days in 2006 — I began to realize how dependent we are on other organizations. We didn’t have our garbage picked up for three weeks because of the snow and we became very inventive in what to do with it.

I’ve noticed that the neighbors became inventive as well when it came to surviving the lack of services which we normally take for granted. Our cul-de-sac had snow that was knee deep and the road leading into our area wasn’t passable. A lot of us were digging a path to the street from our driveways but why I’m not sure, you couldn’t get out on the road. A week and a half of snow and a neighbor got the great idea of hiring someone with a plow to come clear our road. I want to thank that neighbor.

I have become so dependent on the system to supply my daily needs that it would be another six months before I would have thought of calling anyone. As I’ve gotten older I seem to be more complacent in letting the system take care of me. I’m not sure this is a good idea. What if we have an earthquake or flood or heavy snow who’s going to take care of me? And who is going to take care of my family. How can I take care of my family when I’m expecting the system to take care of me?

Common-sense tells me the Arlington and Marysville Emergency Services will be overloaded during any major regional emergency, but for some reason I’ll be sitting in my living room or on top of my roof waiting for the system to take care of me unless I take steps to change my attitude towards reliance on the system. I thought about it for awhile and I realized that the system has limits and they may very well be reached before they get to me.

The question I kept asking myself was; What can I do the next time the system is overloaded and can’t make me the number one priority? I went to the internet and found many sources for Emergency Preparedness including my local community Web sites. You would think they actually anticipated my concerns.

One of the first places I headed was the Marysville Web site located at ci.marysville.wa.us; I found a great deal of information and found that the Marysville Fire District offers CPR classes. I hope that someone in my neighborhood will take this class and be around next time I have to shovel snow. I then jumped over to the Arlington Web site at ci.arlington.wa.us and found they had a lot of useful information on their Fire Safety & Emergency Preparedness page. One of the things they recommend is having bottled water.

The day before my pipe broke I was looking at bottled water at my Smokey Point Safeway. I thought to myself “What a waste of money, it’s almost free in my faucet.” Lucky for me my neighbor doesn’t think the same way. He supplied us with a gallon of water while I was waiting for my son’s new future profession to show up. I plan on going over all the Web site information and hopefully will be better prepared for the next system overload.

Comments may be addressed to sdwhippo@yahoo.com.

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