Published 28 February 2021
When’s the last time your lights went out? Or your gas? Or your water? We’ve all been there at one time or another. Some interruptions last just a few minutes; some for hours. In not-so-rare instances, large swaths of populations can be inconvenienced for days, weeks or even months. Take, for example, the rolling blackouts that millions of Californians experienced in November 2019.
One thing we all have in common when we find ourselves facing that surreal moment in time when we realize we’ve lost our connection to the grid (or, in my case, misplaced my smartphone) is that we have no idea how long the outage will last. That’s why it’s important to have plans in place to deal with any service interruption or disaster that may come our way. I used the word “plans” because it’s a good idea to have two: One that will sustain you, in-place, for a minimum of three days, and another in support of an evacuation.
The internet is full of tips about disaster preparedness, and www.ready.gov is one of them. The site is replete with lists for about every situation imaginable. From knowing how to receive alerts from local officials (try www.nixle.com) to what to do with Fido and grandpa when calamity strikes, it’s all there. Disaster preparedness information is also available from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security (www.nmdhsem.org).
Most of us are of the opinion that we won’t be affected by a natural or man-made disaster. That’s because we don’t typically take into consideration situations like wildfires or weather events that interrupt major electric transmission lines elsewhere in the state or region, chemical or biological spills from trucks or trains, arson, earthquakes, drought, explosions, and a myriad of other calamities that can interrupt our lives for unknown lengths of time.
Speaking of interruptions, last month’s historic winter storm left millions of Texans without power for days. How many of those people had a disaster plan in place? According to FEMA, only 39 percent of us do. If Texans are like the rest of us, hundreds of thousands of them were scrambling to find candles, batteries and who knows what else at some point during the storm and its aftermath. Will you be one of “those” people when your lights go out?
See you at closing!
Gary Sandler is a full-time Realtor and president of Gary Sandler Inc., Realtors in Las Cruces. He loves to answer questions and can be reached at Gary@GarySandler.com or 575-642-2292.