Last night, we watched the scroll of pre-emptive school and business closures in anticipation of blizzard conditions in several parts of the state and 8-14 inches of snow in Front Range cities.
Today, roads in the metro-Denver area were nearly dry by the afternoon, and only a few inches of snow coated the ground.
I couldn’t think of a better scenario to talk about the importance of preparedness.
Why? Because today’s non-blizzard underscores the fact that disasters are unpredictable. We can’t control (and often can’t correctly predict) the weather; if a big storm can miss us, then we can also miss predicting a big storm. Meanwhile, there are some disasters – like wildfires – that strike suddenly and with little warning.
We didn’t get buried in snow during this storm. But two families in northeast Colorado lost their homes to the extreme winds associated with the storm.
The Red Cross is helping those families with their disaster-related needs. But ask yourself this: as you prepared for winter weather last night, did your plans include knowing where you would go and what you would do if your home were suddenly destroyed by the storm instead of just snowed in? What if, during this cold snap, your apartment building was damaged by a heating-related fire?
It happens all too often.
We can’t control the weather or disasters. The only thing we can truly control is ourselves – our actions and the steps we take to make sure we have the plans and resources in place to minimize negative outcomes when terrible things happen.
We can protect ourselves and our loved ones and mitigate risk by planning and practicing emergency plans.
With temperatures forecast (and turning out to be) well below freezing all night, it’s perfect weather to cuddle up with your loved ones, hunker down in your home, and work on your personal preparedness plans while sipping a hot drink.
You can find more resources and ideas at www.redcross.org/prepare.