1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Be Prepared

John McCurdy - August 24, 2012

The recent Delricho or Heap Big Windstorm is long past now. I hope that some of the lessons we learned stay with us. I have always been sort of a "prepper", trying to be a little bit ready for the unexpected, we have for years always had several gallons of extra bottled water, Pearl & I came from families that believed in freezing and canning and stockpiling food. We always tried to have gas in the car, propane in the tanks, candles and flashlights with good batteries. In the last few years I have given a lot of thought to more serious preparation. Don't know how we managed to fill the bathtub with water.

Well guess what, the Delricho came, and with it came a lot of damage in West Virginia and in Alderson. Trees blown down, electricity off and phone service curtailed. The McCurdy family did not have a coffee-pot that we could use. How dumb can one be. When neighbor Lea Ann came across the street carrying 2 cups of coffee, (she had a coffee-pot), we were ecstatic. that's No 1!

Like nearly everyone else in the area we were suddenly without Air Conditioning, we could deal with that by keeping the doors and windows shut and only opening them in the nighttime. We went to the porch when the sun went down. We covered the chest freezer with several old comforters and I used a remote thermometer to monitor the temperature. We ended up losing everything there was in the freezers. We were fortunate, I had a full tank of gas in my car, so we were better-off than many people. When it became obvious that the situation was only going to get worse, we were able to go to my sisters home in Lexington for a week. Many did not have those options.

Folks did not have gasoline, either the supplies were gone or there was no electricity to work the pumps, propane dealers in many cases had the same problems. Stores lost their light and refrigeration systems, the cash registers would not work and Credit Cards were useless. The Alderson Municipal water plant was unable to pump water up to the storage tanks and when they ran dry, that was the end of water until a generator became available.

While on our way to Lexington, the towns enroute were in the same shape as Alderson, A man in Covington said that Roanoke was out of generators and gasoline cans, and that the stores were full of people with fistfuls of money wanting service.

Three days of misfortune and we were able to see how ill-prepared we were. My guess is that if aid had not been available from outside the affected area we were only a few days from civil unrest and anarchy.

I have spent a lot of time deciding what we did wrong or what we should have done. We lost about $1000.00 in frozen meats. A big limb blew off of one tree and cost us a $100.00 to remove. While in Lexington I bought a 5.5 Kw. Generator
and later returned it unopened. I am unsure I need a generator for the next time, because there has never before been a power outage as widespread and as long as this one, perhaps I would be better to just take the occasional losses. I still don't know..

What I do know, we were only halfway prepared. We will store more water, make sure we have several large containers of gasoline, make sure we have several canisters of propane for grills etc, in the colder seasons we will make sure that our large tank of propane is nearly full, (we have a wall unit in the lower floor and a fireplace in the Living Room). See that the cars tanks kept topped up, that we have lots of batteries and kerosene for the oil lamps of yesterday

Oh, and that we have a coffee-pot

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