As I was sitting without power, internet, and landline phone service and running low on propane due to the recent storms, I received one of many Nevada County Code Red emergency messages. My wife did too as we are both signed up for the free alert service. We also got a text of each message and actually, the service called me twice within five minutes repeating the same message.
Listening intently, in the first few days of this record-setting and debilitating snowfall, our family had real needs that had to be addressed.
When could I get more propane, what condition was my street and the rest of the roads in the county in, when was my power going to be restored, and my internet, and what was open to stores where one could get supplies?
And where were the shelters in case I have to leave my home for whatever reason?
Unfortunately, the Code Red told me nothing I really needed to know that I didn’t already know or couldn’t figure out on my own. What it did tell me was that more snow was coming (I knew that from my weather app), to dial 911 in case of emergency, to stay inside, keep warm, fuel up my generator (if one had one), and stock up on supplies—something along those lines.
It had some other miscellaneous information but none of my real concerns were addressed like food, water, shelter, fuel, access, or assistance.
I wondered how many taxpayer dollars were going into the alert system and if many other people found it kind of useless like I did.
I mean, what if you were elderly and stranded without heat or had low propane levels?
Who was going to help with that and when?
A week into this and I still don’t have a clue as to when I can get propane. I am sure I am not alone. For such a critical need in a rural county like ours, it’s a wonder no one has addressed this with some sense of urgency, let alone provide any information at all. I mean none.
What if one needed to know what highways were cleared (call 800 427-ROADS for that), or how they were going to get food? How about getting the driveway plowed so we could be more self-sufficient? What if I couldn’t get out or needed someone to get to me?
In my house, my wife and I are able to tackle these hurdles but for many, these things may be insurmountable due to health, age, or lack of help.
After getting repeated Code Red messages and phone calls over the next few days, the ongoing lack of real information got me thinking about other parts of the country and their inhabitants that also experienced brutal storms. My good sense told me many probably had similar problems, and many likely faced life-threatening or at the very least, frightening days and nights weathering out the deluges of rain, wind, snow, and ice that befell many parts of the country.
That line of thinking got me back to the problems in the economy such as supply line issues, labor shortages, rising prices, and the possibility of the dreaded stagflation, which is inflation coupled with economic pullback.
Surely, with much of the nation in another lockdown, albeit weather-related and only temporary, it can’t help a country that is trying to restart after Covid and which faces ongoing economic stress related to the event.
With Covid savings running out, supply lines slow to unclog, companies laying off thousands while other companies face the obvious contradiction of trying to find workers, China sword rattling, and an aggressive Soviet thug waging war on its neighbor, to be now hit with record-setting weather events just seems universally cruel.
In conclusion, in times like these, we need programs such as Code Red and other centrally planned assistance mechanisms to function effectively. We need to be able to navigate the challenges we currently face as a nation and a planet with expediency and a problem-solving mindset. We need to have the fiscal, monetary, and government authorities really put their heads together and come up with real solutions. Not just feel good, look-like-we’re-doing something facades.
Not throwing a rock at Code Red or the government in general mind you, but although my house still has some propane in the tank, many others are running dangerously low.
This article expresses the opinion of Marc Cuniberti and does not represent the opinion of this media, its staff management or underwriters nor any bank or investment RIA, nor is meant as investment advice. Mr. Cuniberti was voted best financial advisor in Nevada County and holds California insurance license OL34249. (530)559-1214.