Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy

Monday, November 12, 2012
Hurricane Sandy ripped through coastal New Jersey 2 weeks ago leaving a path of destruction in her wake. The media promised that it would be a storm like no other. And Sandy lived up to those promises.

Structurally sound homes were taken completely out to sea. Lives were lost all along the East Coast. The city that never sleeps was silenced. It was a devastating storm.

As a resident of the Jersey shore, I have seen the destruction first hand, most of it in pictures. And you hear the stories. The heartbreaking stories of loss. My family and I were fortunate to have lost one thing: power. But it was enough to teach me important lessons about storm preparation and otherwise.

I put together a list of what we learned as a result of our experience with Hurricane Sandy. I'd never wish this experience on anyone. But should you be faced with a similar one, you'll be warned.

1. Prepare by buying basic household supplies.
Thankfully, we had plenty of batteries, candles, lighters, water, and food. These were the items that SAVED us when the power went out. We experienced a widespread power outage. There was no power for miles and miles for days on end.

2. Fill gas tanks and cans.
Fill the gas tanks in your cars. If you'll be using a generator in the event of a power outage, fill gas cans too. Fortunately, I didn't have the need to wait in gas lines since we had filled our gas tanks in our cars prior to the storm, and we didn't have a generator.

3. Consider buying a generator.
We don't have one, but we plan to buy one after this storm. Think of them as car insurance. On a daily basis you don't have a need for it, but when an accident happens, a generator will save you.

4. A Smartphone is essential to staying connected when there's a power outage.
Without power my only means of getting information was via my iPhone, specifically Facebook. I relied on updates from friends and local sources of information. I would have been completely in the dark without Facebook.

5. Buy a phone charger for your car.
This was the only means I had of charging my phone. Without the car charger, I would have lost use of my phone after a day.

6. If you live in a flood zone, move vehicles to higher ground.
I know so many people who lost cars in this storm due to flooding. Move your cars if you are prone to flooding. Parking lots about a mile inland were filled with cars. Ask a friend to give you a ride back to your home, and be sure someone is available to drive you back to your car after the storm or in an emergency.

7. Heed the warnings of the media.
The media like to create a lot of hype around storms. It's how they get their high ratings. But in this case, there seemed to be many more sincere warnings than hype. Take warnings seriously. If you are ordered to evacuate, do it! I've heard horror stories of people who had to literally swim out of their homes in 8 foot deep water. I am not kidding. There was a lot of hype with Hurricane Irene and little storm. I heard a lot of people saying that Sandy would be the same. Not all storms are the same.

Meteorologists know what they are talking about. Listen to them.

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