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© Gail Underwood Parker

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soapbox: Preparation Never Wasted

A lot of folks around where I live have been complaining that there was too much hype about preparing and "worst-of-the-century" language etc. Hurricane Irene/Tropical Storm Irene did not hit us directly, and lots of generators were purchased/rented, plywood nailed, furniture moved inside, etc. etc. .... "for nothing."


1-Those people should be rejoicing that they escaped being ravaged by Irene, hurricane or storm.  Any one of our many Vermont neighbors would happily trade for the opportunity to have "wasted" their time of preparation.  Any of the thousands still without electricity would rather have "wasted" their time. Any of the people cut off and trapped by roads or bridges destroyed envy those whose time was "wasted."

2- Preparation reminds us to celebrate the ever improving art of forecasting and prediction... even if it isn't perfect.  Imagine how different it was when the only warning was the ever-increasing winds or never-stopping rains!  When people thought it was over when the eye arrived only to be caught by the returning storm!  Teach us patience when the day before the predicted track is over one area and the next day a storm veers more to the east or more to the west.

3-I do not believe that preparation is EVER wasted effort.  Each time we prepare, we get better and faster and more clear-headed and calm about the preparation.

4- Sadly another benefit of practice at preparing is learning how to do it right, how not to lose our lives unnecessarily in a storm by... driving across washed out roads, or using generators too close to the house, or coming too close to downed electrical wires, or washed out while watching waves, or , or, or...

5- Even just thinking about preparation gives us the opportunity to consider what we value, what is worth the effort of protecting, what is expendable. 

6. Preparation lets us model safety for those we love and those we know.

Preparation is practice for survival, for enduring. Preparation offers neither a guarantee of being needed, nor a guarantee of being successful. But, preparation is one of our only means of improving our odds in the battles with nature and the world. 

Whether a seat belt, a helmet, or storm preparation... preparation is not a guarantee, but a bit of insuance against disaster. Like insurance it may not cover everything and may never be needed... but it is truly good to have. And, like insurance, preparation can offset, mitigate or protect against tragedy.

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