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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Accidental Emergency Test That Didn't Work

Let’s call it an accidental test of our emergency preparedness. Someone must have cut the Comcast cable because our section in Seabrook has been without Internet or TV for two days. What an eye opener.

Suddenly, I found that my contact with the outside world was reduced to a Blackberry -- and portable digital TV that couldn’t pick up any of the TV signals emitting from their Missouri City transmitters. The only channel that came in loud and clear was all-Spanish Channel 67. If I don’t know Spanish by the next emergency I will know it a lot better afterwards! It looks like I need to find an antenna that will give the digital portable a signal.

This is the time to test our preparedness, not when a hurricane has entered the Gulf of Mexico. It’s too late to go shopping for antennas, or get your hurricane film on your windows, when that happens.

I was at Smith Point yesterday, checking a house that sits on Trinity Bay – and took the brunt of IKE last September. As I watched their two lab dogs running and jumping into the water with their toy ball, the couple told me that over 2,000 refrigerators washed up (probably from Bolivar) after IKE – along with two live men. Their houses in Bolivar had fallen into the surge. They clung to debris through the night, including a floating kayak. After the storm one of them was trapped in a fence when Chambers EMS personnel found him after the storm.

The couple wanted our Armor Glass window protection. The surge was 8 feet under their house, which survived.

I saw dozens of heavy trucks on the remote roads leading to Smith Point, hauling away tons of debris left by IKE. It is being handled by landfills, composting and ‘box burns.’

Remember, We Cannot Repeal the Law of Geography: We are as Close to the Coast This Year as We Were Last Year, if not closer. And Remember too, that we Cannot Repeal the Law of Nature: Hurricanes are an ANNUAL event. I’ve heard people claim that five near misses by hurricanes in five years doesn’t count as a threat to us. That is like saying that the five bullets that just missed you weren’t really a threat.

Some people are already in denial, thinking that it will be years before another one hits. Those who deny and fail to prepare will pay a heavy price when the next one hits. People need to use the brains that God gave them. A little common sense can go a long way.

I can see from the accidental test by Comcast that even my system of preparedness needs improvement. If a former TV terrorism analyst still needs to fix his system, imagine how many other people need to do the same…? Now I am wondering if a new digital TV antenna would work if we also lose electricity, such as after a storm. If so, millions of people will not have TV information like we did after IKE because of the digital changeover. Have you got a radio?

Because Comcast is still down, I am sending this via the Blackberry, which acts as a mobile modem that connects the laptop to the Internet when I need it. Like now…

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