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New emergency plan needed after big storm leaves me stranded and in danger

Snow Deep Backyard

By Rita R. Robison

Last week’s snowstorm in the Seattle area showed me that my Emergency Plan needs revision.

When I went out Wednesday to take photos of the snow and pick up my mail after a vacation, I got stuck twice at the bottom of my driveway and slid around on the main roads.

Thursday, it was icy, so I knew I shouldn’t go out. At 10:20 a.m., my power went out.

I called the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number in my community to ask where the warming centers were and how I could get ride there. The dispatcher didn’t know. Neither did the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

About 1 p.m. Friday, I began shivering and having fuzzy thinking. It was 45 degrees in my house. I had planned to walk to Safeway to get warm. However, when I saw that my street had been plowed, I thought I could get out.

It was raining, and the roads were bare and wet. I tried to find a credit union that was open, but they all closed early. I stayed at the food co-op where it was warm until it closed at 9 p.m.

The experience showed me I need to revise my Emergency Plan. I couldn’t get out, and no one was available to give me a ride to a warming center or a warm place. My friends also were snowed in. My neighbors were busy taking care of their needs.

I’m going to see if I can get my fireplace insert repaired, buy a battery-operated lantern, keep a supply of D batteries on hand, figure out how to use a space blanket, and replace the outdated water and energy bars in my emergency kit.

What’s your Emergency Plan? Did it pass recent tests?

If you don’t have a plan, see “Are You Ready for an Emergency?” and “What Boomers Need for an Emergency” for details on making a plan and gathering supplies.

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