Thanking God, we have never had to deal with a real crisis. We had to take shelter while a tornado destroyed our town a few times, but there is no responding to that beyond the duck-and-cover technique. I stood up to our neighbors abusive live-in, but that didn’t seem like a crisis until a year later when he was arrested for murdering a man, execution style. (Never occurred to me at the time that when he told me he was going to kill me that he would commit murder.) I have been blessed with a boring life.
One year, we had a major ice storm. Transformers were exploding and burning all around us. The transformer to the west of us exploded into sparks and lights, then started burning. We called the fire department’s non-emergency line and advised them that the pole and a nearby tree branch were aflame. Nothing really threatening at that point. Then the transformer to the east of us blew but no flame. Seconds later the transformer to the south of us exploded and sparked and made crackling noises. That was a scary noise, but it was too far to know what damage was being done.
The neighbor two streets down had a chimney fire. We called the fire department again and advised them of the flames atop a house a few streets down. I sent one of the boys across the yards to make certain that the occupants of the home knew of the situation. He was an elderly man who lived alone. Since he couldn’t hear the smoke alarms, he did not wake up. A good neighbor, who kept an eye on him, heard our son banging on his door and came out to unlocked the elderly man’s door and helped him out until the flame was out and the house was cleared of smoke.
The storm lasted most of the night and branches were snapping under the weight and smashing against the house and deck. I was scared the next one would come through the roof. The branches missed the roof, but one took out the power line. We called the utility company and they said not to worry as there are fuses in the line to keep them safe if the line was torn out. Our line didn’t come away completely, it pulled away and the power went out, but the wire was still suspended. No worries, the utility company said, as long as the grounding wire was still secure we were fine. Next branch-drop struck the line again and out went the grounding wire. We called the utility company again and informed them that the grounding wire is now hanging free. They told us as long as the transformer was dead, it blew up two paragraphs ago, there would be no power to the line. We were still safe. (I never believe people when then tell me I am safe unless I feel safe.) About thirty grey hairs later, I noticed the repair crew was working to replace the west transformer. If they lit up that line before my grounding wire was reattached every electronic in the home was at risk. I shut the power supply off at the circuit box and two of our teen-aged children went up the street to ask the utility workers to fix our ground wire before “plugging in” the transformer. They came over before connecting the new transformer and reattached the grounding wire as well as cut down the branches still hanging over the wire. That could have been a crisis, but it didn’t feel like one. It just felt like one thing after another.
Honestly, I would say that I do not handle crisis well. I seem to be better at avoiding them by damage control or telling other people to do things.