When wondering about the loss of life that is likely to occur related to what is now Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy, we are inclined to think about the direct deaths caused by the meteorological hazards of the cyclone. These hazards include storm surge, wind and rain as well as the wave action for the marine community. Hopefully, the forecasts and warnings from the National Weather Service have helped minimize those direct deaths.
History also teaches that indirect deaths can sometimes exceed the direct deaths. These are the deaths not caused directly by the meteorological hazards of Sandy. Examples include carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of generators, fires accidently started by the use of candles, chainsaw accidents during debris removal, people falling from ladders while trying to make repairs, etc. These indirect deaths can occur well after the main event.
Let us hope that people are reminded of this potential for loss of life before their power goes out.
A Spanish philosopher, George Santayana, once said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”