So, it is getting into fire and tornado season. And there is this virus that has the news media running in circles because what they know about medicine* and population differences can be measured in pages, not volumes.
Preparing for fire season varies with your location and your sort of fire. Ours tend to be surprise, fast-moving range fires, ones you have to get away from unless you have made some very specific preparations for. Those involve landscaping, irrigation, roof-material, soffit-vents, and other things designed and installed well in advance. If you have to run, you grab people, pets, potions (medications and medical supplies), papers, and photos (if you have time). You release any livestock if you can’t load them quickly, and you don’t give the fire a head-start. So you need to have a go-bag already prepared, more or less.
Tornadoes are similar, with the added assumption that you will be at home or work and the building may be damaged with you inside of it. So I have a storm-bag packed with things I absolutely must have, as well as keeping a pair of sturdy shoes in reach (walking over debris at night in bunny-slippers? No, thanks.) It is similar for evacuation preparation, but with the idea that I will also need first-aid stuff in the bag(s).
Tornado and fire seasons also bring power outages. I have un-fond memories of rolling blackouts in 2011, outages that hit at random times (although howling high winds were a common feature) and lasted for random periods (usually 4-5 hours). No reason was ever given for them, aside from when the idiot tried to steal copper from a sub-station. Don’t be that person. I’ve heard people imply that the city requested the power cuts, but I do not know. I know it got dark, and warm. And that RedQuarters will have to be re-wired if we want to add a generator, which would involve drilling holes in brick walls and other un-fun activities.
These are just things we think about every spring in this part of the world. It’s a little different from hurricane season on the Gulf or Atlantic coasts, or flood season along major rivers. The scale is smaller, and events are of shorter duration.
Ah, and viruses. I remember the bird flu scare in 2006, and how one professor was demanding to know why we grad students weren’t worried, and assuring us that we’d be part of the mob attacking the county health office demanding vaccines and Tami-flu™. We gave him a collective quizzical look, because 1. we were too busy with school to waste energy panicking and 2. we knew enough to know it wasn’t the 1918-19 influenza. Or anthrax, which was the other analogy he made. We were right, he was wrong (as were most of the TV media) and life continued.
Am I worried about COVID-19? A little. I’m seeing the supply disruptions already in that some feminine supplies are not being re-stocked as quickly, and my favorite breakfast cereal has been out of stock** since mid-January. I also take precautions for the ‘flu, because I work in an environment were bacteria and viruses are common. I’ve stocked up on my preferred brands of certain things, and on stuff with packaging that probably comes from China or elsewhere in East Asia. I’ve shifted to a different brand of cereal [deep, unhappy sigh]. I’ve gotten even more fanatic about washing my hands when I have the opportunity, in part because a fresh round of tummy crud has been reported in the area.
And I’m ignoring 90% of the breathless media reports. China’s numbers are unreliable. Iran likely also. African countries are not reporting much, but they don’t report much to begin with. Ditto Latin America. I’m watching Europe a little more closely, but I always do that when I’m within a few months of a trip. It’s just good sense. I’ve done what I can do to prepare, I’ve got plans and back-up plans, and that’s that.
*There are a few exceptions, but they are few.
**To the folks selling it for over $30 US for a single 15 OZ box on the ‘Zon and Flea-bay? Thppppth. I can eat generic bran flakes. I just don’t have to enjoy the experience. Thppppth.