Hurricane Unprepardness

Yes, it’s hurricane season, and soon we may all be running to the grocery and hardware stores so we can buy canned food we probably will never eat and candles, stoves, tarps, plywood and generators that we will probably (hopefully) never use. Chances are I will be right there in line next to you, with cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew and Beefaroni that will sit in our cupboard until they are donated to a more worthy cause.

As we watch our favorite TV weather personality get a little too excited about the latest track and update… we will all, sooner or later, get to a point when we decide “THIS IS THE ONE” and begin to implement our own self crafted hurricane preparedness plan. For the most part, each person’s plan is different and wonderfully unique… everything from “I’m getting the heck out of here!” to those of us who are possibly a little “hyper-prepared.”

Being a marine contractor, I am particularly vigilant because I have barges, boats, job sites an office and equipment yard to secure and prepare every time a storm gets close. But everything we do is well-planned, straightforward and necessary. My personal plan however, tends to get needlessly creative.

My hyper-preparedness peaked in 2004 when hurricane Charlie, a bad little hurricane that was incredibly destructive, was approaching the 24-hour mark. As I studied the computer forecast, I told Lori (for possibly the twentieth time in the last ten years) “I’ve got a bad feeling about this one!” And I began implementing ‘the plan’. A couple of thousand dollars later we had enough food and water for weeks. Generators, pumps, ropes, tools and tarps crowded our house. Lori didn’t get it. “Sooooo… what are you going to do with that stuff?” “That’s the beauty of it!” I said as I continued to unload the extra 15 gallons of gasoline into our garage. “You never know what you’ll need!”

Now, what I thought was the coolest part of the plan was that I was going to park large frontend loaders, backhoes and dump trucks from my construction company in front of particularly vulnerable parts of the house. Our stand-alone garage got a huge dump truck parked in front of it because that’s where Lori made me move all the crazier emergency supplies to and because the doors on the garage were large and unreinforced.

Twenty-four hours later we were experiencing hurricane force winds. At the height of the storm the wind was from the north… straight at the dump truck protected door. “HA! Who’s crazy now?” I said to Lori as I tried to get a peek at the garage door by sticking my head out the door of our well protected foyer.“ Lori quickly replied. “You?” Then I saw it. Even though the huge truck was inches away from the door… the garage door was GONE! I turned and gave Lori the bad news. “I can’t believe it! The door blew in… it’s gone! It probably damaged the car and now with the door gone… the whole building could go!” All we could do is watch and wait.

After a few hours the storm had died down enough for me to go survey the damage. I grimaced as I looked behind the truck into the garage to find that despite all of the meticulous planning … I had forgotten to CLOSE THE GARAGE DOOR! Amazingly, nothing had been damaged! Well… besides my brain!

So, although you still need to be prepared and have your very own hurricane preparedness plan, don’t let the complexity of the plan bury the obvious little things. Or as my wife likes to say to me with a little smile whenever we get into the car after I’ve packed up everything we need to leave for a day or two. “Nice job honey! Did you shut the door?”

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