Preparing for something that might not happen

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

When I wrote this the island was under close watch for Tropical Storm Isaac and for some reason the storm decided to slow down.

After all the preparation we did, Tropical Storm Isaac did not do much harm to my Island and any land that it hit afterwards.

Importance of Preparing

Preparing is something we all seem to do throughout our lives. I remember how in school I would study for all the elements in the test and what I studied for did not come up.

When I studied for the CPA exam I remember having that same feeling. The first time I took the exam I was so close to passing it that I got frustrated and fell into a depression for weeks. I complained about studying for things that where not asked in the exam. Reality was that as much as I had studied for the exam I still had not prepared enough. I took the exam a couple of times passed two parts (which expired) and then gave up on the exam. The CPA Exam is a difficult exam to pass but I was always lacking preparation for the exam in key areas.

The Unexpected Makes us Frown

We tend to complain when situations don’t play out like we expected.

I find it very curious how people complain because a storm that was headed to our Island was not as strong as what they prepared for. Some of these individuals expressed their concerns and got support online venting their frustrations on how they lost money on preparations. What they tend to forget is that if the storm created more damage than what they prepared for it would not be something easy to deal with.

A few frustrations came from small business owners who spent money on materials to safeguard their assets. One of the reasons I don’t have an external office is because of added costs like protecting assets from unexpected events.

Don’t get me wrong I know how difficult it can be for any business owner (especially small business owners) locally  to spend money they might need for the daily operation of their business. After making the additional expense some forget that if the storm would have come in strong and it damaged the infrastructure around the Island, they would probably lose more money than what they spent protecting their business.

I ask those who complain about meteorologists not being accurate to think if it is better for a meteorologists to underestimate a storm or to overestimate it.

In the small world of my Island where people are so disconnected with nature and the rest of the world, I rather have them overestimate events in order to mitigate the risk of losing lives and minimizing damage.

As for myself, I rather prepare and come out smiling on the other side than not prepare and run into a situation that can’t be fixed.

What are your thoughts?



  1. robert beato on September 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

    My work always needs to consider the unexpected. One anticipates possible scenarios. Even when it does not happen the system has the provision. For instance, the 100 year flood level is important for FEMA insurance, but this level might change in the future because there is always a bigger storm.
    In the specific case of Isaac Fortu/no was at a conundrum. Had he put people to work he’d be blamed that this was in retaliation for the referendum, if he did what he finally did he is carefree giving the days away.
    If we compound the problem by presenting the excessive hype given by the media then we realize the press is a negative influence in people’s behavior. What do I do? Shut off the TV and radio and monitor weather underground or the NWS for weather outlooks. Then just listen to the relevant notes: will my son have no classes, will roads be closed, etc. But only a minimum.
    Regarding protection of property, one only needs to realize how irrational people get when they are in need. They behave like mindless apes. I still remember people fighting over ice during Hugo and Hortense, or the ‘fuel crisis’ when everybody went to fill their fuel tanks at once.
    What has happened is that the uncertainty of the current hurricane models allows enough time to plan WAY AHEAD. In the case of a major earthquake or tsunami this won’t be the case. Can we count on the people to be civil in these cases? Like you I prefer people overpreparing than not doing any contingency at all.
    For instance, how much money do BP and other oil storage terminals invest in fire drills, emergency equipment, contracts and equipment deployment? Is it wasted money? Or is the information useful when an actual emergency comes, either to their site or to aid another site?

    • Raul Colon on September 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

      I think we all need to consider preparing. I wrote a post on how I have my 72 hour bag handy all the time and I go back to review every few months.

      People see preparedness as only from a business perspective but we need to see it from the aspects on how it will impact our lives if we do nothing and expect others to take care of us.