All disasters are experienced locally. Very locally and personally.
For many, Hurricane Irene was a blip on the radar screen, quickly passed, lightly encountered, perhaps now forgotton. Yet, 1000’s of people, and some whole towns in Connecticut, have no power. More than a few households will have no electricity for weeks. Some have lost their homes, forever.
When events like this occur, nothing can take the place of personal responsibility and planning. This goes much farther than having candles and flashlights.
An old style land-line phone (remote phones using mains power won’t work if the electricity goes out, but regular phones will).
A car-charger for all electronic devices.
A portable car-starter battery (that usually comes with a 12-volt accessory socket for the above mentioned devices).
A pre-published list and approach to making contact with relatives in the event of an evacuation (these relatives should be out of state, because in-state folks may be just as impacted as you).
A list of all meds and doctors, kept on a thumb drive, to be carried with you.
A place well outside your home for important documents, or copies of same (again, out of state family are better than in-state).
Lots of canned goods, 2-gallons of bottled water, a portable radio with built-in generator…
The list goes on, but planning is a personal responsibility. Remember, the safest and easiest time to evacuate an area is early. Waiting too long is a gamble and unnecessary travel involves the risk that you will become an issue for the authorities to deal with, taking finite resources away from somewhere and someone else.
Lastly, even if a given crisis has bypassed your home, chances are someone else hasn’t been so fortunate.
In that event, offer thanks, and then, offer help.