Of all the names they could have chosen for the recent hurricane that brought much devastation, discomfort, and disruption to many in our area and beyond, they named it Florence. Now I know that our neighbors to the south, who just happen to live in a city with the same name, did not take kindly to that. Having quite a few congregants from the city of Florence who attend our church on Palmetto Street, I will of course use this ironic natural occurrence as a means of humor and teasing for a while. It just makes for good drama and humor that Hurricane Florence would visit the city of Florence and much of the southeast, especially the coastal region for a season and reek much havoc and power outages. However, I must be careful here because there is always next year and the years to follow. Who knows whether they who have the responsibility to give names to the hurricanes and tropical storms will not call one Dillon? Now that certainly has a certain ring to it! I for one, as a lifelong resident of Dillon, would not be delighted if during next year’s hurricane season they gave one the name of Hurricane Dillon.
In spite of all the negatives and discomfort that Hurricane Florence unleashed upon our region, there are some good lessons to be gleaned from this unwelcomed and unavoidable natural occurrence that we are going to consider in my column today that will greatly help us in the future. For whether we want to believe it or not, we are living in a time when hurricanes and natural disasters will probably increase with greater intensity and devastation. Now whether the cause is global warming brought about by humanity’s over usage of fossil fuel, natural changes in the climate that takes place every few thousand years, or an eschatological (end time) warning from God that time is winding up does not matter. What does matter is that these occurrences are happening more frequently and with greater intensity. The following are just a few lessons and things that each of us can do to be better prepared for the coming storms that are certain to happen.
Overcome the Ostrich Complex
Perhaps one of the most important lessons that any of us can learn in regard to impending storms and disruptive or disastrous weather is to avoid the ostrich complex. Regrettably, many people are like the proverbial ostrich when it comes to impending danger. They foolishly hide their head in a hole in ignorance and denial of the danger that is about to hit them whether they are ready or not for the impact and detriment. Refusing to accept the warning of impending danger is not going to delay nor stop it. Don’t be an ostrich when storms are impending. Get your head out of the hole and get ready to the best of your ability.
Invest in a Generator or Some Alternate Power Source
Given the fact that we are living in a time when hurricanes, tropical storms, and bad winter weather can cause power outages, it would be a very prudent decision to invest in some type of generator. Even if you cannot afford to install a backup generator that will kick in and provide electricity for your entire house when there is a power outage, consider investing in a portable one that will give you enough power for lights, refrigerators, and other basic electrical household devices.
Have Enough Food and Water Put Away to Last for Seven Days
In times of crisis when access to stores and restaurants are prohibited due to closings, closed roads and bridges, and other factors, it is comforting to know that you have enough food and drinking water to last until things get back to normal. Be sure to stock or store up these basic things that you are going to need during the duration of a power outage. If an outage occurs during the cold of winter, make sure you have an alternate source of heat that does not depend upon electricity. Remember that during the time of crisis, only the necessary things are important. Things like flashlights, lanterns that run by batteries, and other things are often taken for granted until you need them. Remember it is an act of prudence to prepare for a crisis or weather disaster in the time of calm and normalcy.
Keep a Certain Amount of Cash On Hand
Due to the fact that we now live in a system where most folk (including myself) transact most of their business by either credit or debit cards, many have gotten away from carrying or holding on to a lot of cash money. Though I believe it is not wise nor safe to carry too much cash on your person, it is very prudent to keep a certain amount stored in a secure and secret place somewhere in your house. For if something happens to the computerized system that disables us from using our debit or credit cards for an indefinite amount of time, it would be good to have a little cash on hand. Though we are swiftly coming to be a cashless society, we are not completely there yet.
Always Keep Enough Medication on Hand for a Power Outage
One of the things that everyone needs to do who depend upon prescription drugs is to keep enough on hand that will last during an emergency like a power outage. During a power outage, even the drug stores are usually closed. The hospital is the only institution that deals with sicknesses that will remain open due to the fact that they are equipped with alternative generators that will automatically come on if there is a power outage. So do not forget to make sure that you are ready to endure a time of crisis during a power outage by having enough medicine to last you until things come back to being normal.
Do Not Build nor Buy a House in a Flood Area
The last advice that I will share with you today is one learned from a couple who were members of our church some years ago. They made the regrettable and costly mistake of buying a house in a lowland area too close to a tributary of the Pee Dee River. To their dismay, every time there was a hurricane, tropical storm, or any abnormal weather that brought a lot of rain for an extended amount of time, they paid the price. The lowland area where their house was located (not many feet from the tributary of the Pee Dee) would be inundated by rain and water from the tributary that would rise as high as the first floor of their two-story house. So my advice to you if you are going to buy or build a house, make sure that it is not situated in a flood or lowland area. Ultimately, you will suffer loss and pay the price for not using wisdom and being selective in the area where you decided to live.
Let’s learn from the lesson that Hurricane Florence unknowingly taught us and be better prepared for the next storm that is certain to come our way and disrupt our routine and convenience to which we have grown accustomed. Perhaps the following words that are of a divine origin will bless you as they have me concerning storms and times of adversity:
“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.” (Philippians 4:12-13)