Monday, November 9, 2015

El Nino: More than an excuse to buy new boots

Before I get to today's useful preparedness tips, I'd like to share a story.  You all know the story of Pavlov's famous experiments with dogs.  He rang a bell in anticipation of giving them food, and before long, the ring of a bell caused the dogs to salivate just in anticipation of their treats. [Actually, what he did to dogs was not even remotely so nice, so we are all best believing this version instead…] But it was conditioning.  Do something at a stimulus.  Well, last week, I had the pleasure of attending the taping of Dancing With The Stars.  And yes it was wonderful.  For the uninitiated, audience members at these gigs are expected to get involved in the excitement. For anyone who knows me, this is right up my alley.  When they say to show them you are excited, I did just that...Jump out of my seat, throw my arms up, give a big "woo-hoo!" and clap, and they want you to do this for pretty much anything that goes on during the show. Anything. So, during that nearly 3-hour show, I was up and woo-hoo-ing at nearly every intro and cute dance move, or anything else even remotely “amazing.” 

That was Monday afternoon.  Move forward about 36 hours to the American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Academy -- A really pleasant affair at the Anaheim Convention Center with a few hundred like-minded people early Wednesday morning.  I was seated fairly near the front when a Red Cross representative stepped to the stage to welcome us.  As he turned to introduce the event’s Master of Ceremonies, Pavlov rang a bell in my head and I was up and out of my seat before you could holler “you’re not where you think you are.”  Fortunately, my senses kicked in just before the peak of my stance and before my arms shot up, and I realized that no one else was rising.  At all.  Immediately, I went to the “oh, I’m just standing a little to re-adjust my slacks,” mode with a slight smile, smoothing the back of my pants and nod to my fellow table mates before sitting back down, relieved that I caught it all before the woo-hoo kicked in, along my extreme embarrassment.

So, what does that have to do with today’s topic, El Niño? Perhaps not much, but the imagery is good…  El Niño forecasters are not 100% sure we will completely flood, but the conditions are out there for a pretty wet, albeit warm, winter.  And there are some important things to do NOW:

Check your roof and clean out your gutters.  Make sure water does not pool near the base of any structure, so if you have slope issues, fix them.  Getting some sandbags and plastic sheeting are probably a good idea too.  Painting exposed wood will keep your structure strong and dry.  You thought you had ants before? HA!  The rains will really bring them in.  Caulk cracks and other entrances and maybe hire someone to help you with pest strategies.

Go ahead and buy new wipers.  You probably need them anyway.  And check your headlights and tires.  All of those are important to safe driving in the rain.

Help keep the water where you want it and loosen your soil as much as possible to allow rain to soak in.

Take photos of your house now.  It will help a lot with claims later.

Go to to sign up for county-wide alerts (Orange County, California--other counties/states have them too).  Know what is going on so you can prepare yourself and your family, especially if you are traveling.

Now once you have done all of that leap up and give yourself a hearty DWTS woo-hoo! You deserve it.

Be prepared, my friends. 


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