Saturday, September 30, 2017

20 Lessons Learned from Puerto Rico (So Far)

It has been ten days since Puerto Rico was nearly destroyed by a series of hurricanes.  What have we learned so far from this situation?

  1. ATMs are out of cash.
  2. Yet everything being sold on the island is now 'cash only'.
  3. There is also no water, no food, and no power.
  4. And no gas either.
  5. Medical care is in short supply.
  6. And there is barely any cell service.
  7. Meanwhile politicians are busy arguing among themselves.
  8. Goods that could help people are stuck at the port.
  9. People were surprised that a very old law was impeding help to Puerto Rico.
  10. HAM radio operators are a boon to the island.
  11. As are satellite phones/service.
  12. Disease outbreak is a serious concern.
  13. Trying to leave the island is difficult if not impossible.
  14. Airlifts for critical medical care...are dependent on celebrities?!
  15. A Navy medical ship will arrive to help out...sometime (the ship hasn't arrived yet 10 days into this situation).
  16. Remember the Cajun Navy?  Well the Cajun Airlift is now a thing.
  17. Even abandoned dogs are being airlifted from the island.
  18. Of course, crime and looting often follows a disaster.
  19. On top of the myriad problems that the island had even before the hurricanes struck.
  20. Overall, the path to full recovery is agonizingly slow.
From this we learn: you need (a lot) of cash on hand, you also need a goodly supply of food and water as well as alternate power sources. If you have a serious medical issue, evacuating pre-disaster is a good idea.  In fact, even if you are healthy, evacuating pre-disaster is maybe a good idea.  Get a HAM radio, a license, and know how to use it.  Sat phones are an (expensive) alternative for communications.  Preventing disease should be a top priority.  And be able to protect yourself in other ways as well is important.  Finally, relying on the government to save you after a disaster shouldn't be your preparedness plan.

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