Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Editorial: Peninsula scores passing marks for Redoubt round 1

OK, be honest now:

Who went to bed Sunday or woke up Monday thinking: “Gee, I really should have stocked up on water/air filters/flashlights/etc.” by now?

Consider this your warning.

Attention to Mount Redoubt wound down after months of activity without an eruption. Then, within a day, Redoubt decided to no longer be ignored.

The great news for the Kenai Peninsula is the ash plumes spurted out in the series of eruptions have missed us so far, and weather forecasts predict continued favorable wind patterns through Friday.

The good news is it appears as though, even if we had gotten some ash, the peninsula would have been more or less ready for it.

There were lines at some stores with people stocking up on last-minute emergency supplies, but Scott Walden, coordinator of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management, said all remained calm.

Even with what may be one of the most poorly timed coincidental power outages in the history of Homer Electric Association, Walden said he didn’t see or hear of any panic. Concern, yes, and a lot of phone calls to OEM and HEA, but people listened to explanations that the outage was not linked to the volcano, and went on about their day.

Walden credits preparedness with the peninsula’s response to Redoubt. OEM and other organizations have been spreading information on what to do if Redoubt erupts for months now.

Chances are, you’ve heard the message. But if you still have question needing to be answered or supplies needing to be prepared, now’s the time. Visit the OEM Web site for ash information, supply lists and other preparedness information, at www.borough.kenai.ak.us/emergency.

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