Time to Prepare

Many classrooms across Southern New Hampshire are not air conditioned, and that usually makes for a few uncomfortable days at the end of the school year, and maybe a few at the beginning.

But last week the level of discomfort rose considerably, with some classrooms in Hampstead, for example, registering 80 degree or higher temperatures. The conditions were serious enough that the topic was discussed at the Hampstead School Board meeting Sept. 8.

Indeed, some schools in the Hartford, Conn., area without air conditioning closed early this month because of hot weather and scheduled half days of classes for the remaining days of high heat. The same thing happened in the Berwick, Maine area, after schools recorded temperatures of 90 degrees on their second floors.

While the weather – and particularly the humidity – have cooled down since then, overly hot classrooms may just be the latest factor school officials will be forced to consider in setting a school schedule, or cancelling a school day.

We should be experiencing more normal September weather now, although the trees are showing their colors plenty early this year.  And that means snow and ice – and the usual no-school days – will be here before we know it.

So while we’re still wearing our summer clothes and running the air conditioner, there’s no time like the present to sit down and make an emergency plan for your family, including your pets, keeping in mind getting ready for the storms – and power outages – of winter. Not by coincidence, September is National Preparedness Month.

National Preparedness Month organizers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggest prepping for floods, wildfires, hurricanes – and our regular nemesis, power outages, gearing up to National PrepareAthon Day on Sept. 30. There are plenty of suggestions and pointers for readiness at the website www.ready.gov – ranging from setting up an emergency medication kit to taking care of your pets in an evacuation.

Those potential disasters seem far away and unlikely to us today, but our changing weather and drought conditions make wildfires more likely, El Nino weather conditions are leading to hurricanes, and we all know that even a mild wind or a heavy rain has the potential to knock out power for hours, if not days.

And getting ready now, with food that can be eaten without electricity, plenty of stored water, and maybe a properly wired generator, will make life a lot easier if – no, make that when – Mother Nature turns against us.