Belfast Telegraph

Editor's View: We must be better prepared for storms

Editor's View

The latest winter storms have created enormous damage, and the Department of Infrastructure has been criticised for failing to prepare adequately for the latest onslaught.

The various government agencies did not liaise until some time after the amber weather warning was issued at 7.30pm.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart claims that there was a lack of planning, and that it was almost impossible to get through to the Roads Service.

It is impossible to predict the severity of gales in detail, but the people expect a better reaction than that experienced during Storm Eleanor.

Why were there only two people answering the Roads Service helpline, which was inundated with over 600 calls?

DUP councillor Darryn Causby also claims that it was a challenge to get through to them, and that their website was very slow.

Winter storms are nothing new and we appear to be experiencing more of them. And their impact on the lives and property of individuals can be catastrophic.

Some of the reports about large trees falling down beside residential and other properties are frightening, and we publish today some terrifying stories about people inadvertently driving into exposed power cables at the height of the storm. It is a miracle that so far there has been no loss of life or serious injury.

It makes sense that people are given as much advance information as possible so that they can be as prepared for any eventuality.

By the same token, however, people need to act upon such information, rather than doing nothing and assuming that the damage will not affect them directly.

The storms are now so frequent in this part of the world that we should be developing a basic strategy in preparing for the worst.

Other countries have learned to live with such storms which affect them equally, if not more severely, and perhaps we could learn something from them.

We are only in the first week of a New Year and more storms are expected. Now is the time for everyone to make preparations for what might be the worst, rather than hoping for the best.

This includes checking on property, making sure that there are alternative energy sources available in case of a power cut, and other common sense measures. This is one period when it is better to be safe than sorry.

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