Preparing for any eventuality…
Preparedness, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States, refers to “a continuous cycle of planning, organising, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action, in an effort to ensure effective co-ordination, during incident response".
We may however be much more familiar with the heavily touted concept of disaster preparedness, which is often pushed during the hurricane season, which is essentially taking measures to prepare for and reduce the effects of sudden calamitous events which bring great damage, destruction or loss.
That said, there are incidents that may occur in our lives, that are not necessarily disastrous, but which could set us back a bit. Now if we embrace the concept of “preparedness” on a whole, all by itself, which ultimately means we are always in a state of “readiness” for any eventuality, life can certainly become a bit easier, when the unexpected takes place.
We don’t have to flip our minds back too far to see what I mean. Earlier this week, we experienced an island-wide power outage, which left some parts of the country without electricity for hours. The Barbados Water Authority (BWA)’s pumping stations were also affected by the outage and as such, some parts of the island had no water.
Now the Barbados Light & Power Company (BL&P) and its crew members must be highly commended for the swift and extremely professional handling of the situation. Members of the media and citizens were kept fully abreast of all that was taking place and by 2:20 a.m. Tuesday morning, power was fully restored to all customers.
That incident and its spiralling effects however, should give us some insight into how our Caribbean neighbours who were touched by disastrous weather systems in recent times, must have felt, as unlike us, they were left in the dark for extended periods of time and had to rely on neighbouring islands for food and water, in some cases. So imagine if we had to endure that power outage for a day or more.
Going back to the whole issue of preparedness however, it is time we take to the concept of rainwater harvesting seriously. Rainwater harvesting is fast becoming a viable alternative for supplying households and businesses with water. Catching rain water and using it to assist in our daily lives, is also a means of removing total dependency for water from the Barbados Water Authority (BWA). Now consider, that if a number of the households who suffered from a lack of water had embraced the concept of rainwater harvesting and were practicing it, how much of an ease it would have been on the BWA and those very householders, when word got out that there would be no water for a little while, after the power outage.
Personally, my household was able to rely on a portable generator to give us some power to fuel lights, to establish an Internet connection (vital for my work) and to plug in a few devices (such as my cellphone), during the power outage. My husband, being a technical guy and one who always speaks about the need to be “prepared” (sometimes a bit much), was able to show me the benefits of having such equipment around, whilst following the necessary safety precautions. We even had a mini portable fridge which could keep items cold. So I am a believer in being prepared. It certainly helps you to feel much more stable and grounded when incidents occur and alas, there is no need to join the “grumbling and complaining” party, in subsequent discussions about what has taken place.
This is no boast. Just a simple and gentle reminder to myself and others, that we must always try our best to be prepared, for any eventuality.