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Be Ready For The Unexpected

2012 July 5

By Lina Younes

This past Friday night I don’t think anybody truly anticipated the intensity of the storm that hit the Washington metropolitan area. The devastation caused by the strong winds still has many utilities working around the clock trying to restore power to many residents in the area.

While we had enough flashlights and batteries, basic necessities, battery powered radios and a generator on standby to weather the storm; there were two things that were lacking. We hadn’t had the foresight to fill up the car with gas and we didn’t have cash on hand! We hadn’t foreseen the impact of the power outage would have on gas stations and banks in our immediate area.

Last Saturday, we were literally running on fumes when we finally found a working gas station with gasoline for sale. With gas in the tank, then we were able to drive further to find a bank with power.

So, what did we learn from this experience? Basically, to prepare for the unexpected!

And some additional tips?

How was your experience during the storm? We would love to hear from you!

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Hal Marchand permalink
    July 5, 2012

    Thank you Ms. Younes! I was grateful to see this brief EPA article on preparing for unexpected environmental conditions. The recent storm should be a reminder to us all. DC area weather conditions usually include extremes of heat, isolated power outages, heavy rains, downed trees, flooded creeks, and downed power lines. The daily commute or a short trip to a mall may sjuddenly result in dangerous environmental circumstances.
    I recall a stormy summer evening commute on US 15 about ten years ago. The rain poured hard for hours. I waited for almost an hour to reach state police checkpoint only to learn that a tractor trailer full of gasoline had turned over a few hundred yards. A state police officer shouted out an order to take Logmill Mill Road. I had never driven that route home before to get to 66. I quickly recalled that I had a Garmin road finder in the glove box. I had only used it for hikes along the AT but that night I used it to find a circuitous but safe route that helped me too get down to 66. I was two hours late but safe.
    Later, on a few sunny afternoons, I drove back through the detour roads to get a feel for the terrain, as well as for a few other potential detour roads that might be useful in severe weather events. This proved very worthwhile when creeks were swollen.
    I teach environmental health and safety courses and I have worked in public health. I’m gratified to see EPA taking a lead on providing environmentally safe practices information to the public.
    Let’s see more. Let’s all contribute more. Thanks. Hal

  2. Lina-EPA permalink
    July 5, 2012

    Thanks, Hal
    Keep up the good work!
    Lina

  3. July 5, 2012

    thank you. Lina nice Article..

  4. July 6, 2012

    Great content, I am indeed impressed with this posts. Please keep it up!

  5. July 30, 2012

    Somewhere in our life, all of us are bound to face unexpected situations. It is at such times that we need to keep our intelligence (or at least common sense) intact. Else, everyone behaves well at the coffee table.

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