1 was the number of 2009 winter-weather related deaths in New Mexico, according to the National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services’ website.
$13.99 is the cost for a Suncast car shovel at Big Jo True Value Hardware.
" Blow, blow, thou winter wind. Thou art not so unkind As man’s ingratitude."—William Shakespeare (As You Like It)
Beverly Allen is ready for anything. Anything. Public information officer for New Mexico's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Allen has multiple survival kits—including ones for her dogs. Her preparedness is enough to make the average unprepared journalist feel inadequate and, frankly, imperiled.
"Studies suggest we are woefully unprepared if we ever had a Haiti-like crisis," Allen says. "We're very complacent. Trust me; I didn't have any of this before I went to work at the department."
Allen and other emergency-preparedness types issued information last week on how New Mexicans can ready their cars for winter emergencies. Ever recession-minded, SFR went to Big Jo True Value Hardware to price some of the recommended items:
• Car shovel: $13.99 • windshield scraper: $1.99 • first aid kit: $16.99-$29.99 • tow rope: $11.99-$16.99 • ice melt: $8-$20 • flares: $6.99 • booster cables: $20-$165 • Maglight flashlight: $15.99
Big Jo sales representative Israel Pruett isn't certain if the economy has impacted winter car-preparation, as "rarely would I find this stuff in a normal vehicle," he says. "I have yet to even sell a first aid kit," he adds.
It turns out, it's difficult for most people to put a price tag on winter or preparedness, recession or otherwise.
Road closures and accidents during winter storms certainly keep the state police busy, but "I can't put a dollar amount on it," Major Pete Kassetas says. "We don't track it by storm and event, but [winter storms] have a huge impact on us as an agency, in that we usually have to double or triple our manpower to ensure the safety of the public."
As for the National Weather Service, Kerry Jones, a warning coordination meteorologist in Albuquerque, quickly points out the long-term economic implications of another weather pattern, drought, as a segue to the pressing need for more Santa Feans to volunteer to take precipitation readings through the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network. The gig costs only time and commitment—plus $25 for a rain gauge.