• Morgan Fagg

Typhoon baffoonery

I was awoken early by the tail end of Ophelia as Autumn erupted over Madrid with buckets of water flooding down and I decided to abandon my car as I presumed my brakes, tires and window wipers would be unable to cope with the quantities of water falling down on the city.

I was driving a second-hand car at the time but wouldn't feel comfortable driving anything other than a boat with the rain that was bucketing down outside my window.

The trains in Spain might arrive late in the rain but in the words of Teresa Mannion, "Don't make any unnecessary journeys."

Disappointingly the train that evening was 30 minutes late and I regretted my sensible decision but my reason for abandoning my car, was that some drivers don't always appreciate the slower speeds needed and delays that result from bad weather and poor visibility and some people travel too fast in conditions where other drivers don't have full visibility in their rear view mirrors and can't see white, grey and navy coloured cars in their mirrors especially if these dull coloured cars don't have their lights on.

The rain outside my window was enough to stop Teresa Mannion in her tracks but I was surprised that most of my friends on Facebook who were living in the path of the storm seemed more preoccupied with posting memes than anything else.

When the storm did pass, it left three dead in its wake.

The flood of online memes about the weather made me think how fortunate Ireland has been that we don't have more extreme weather on a regular basis.

As people batten down the hatches, it is worth reminding people in one useful way to prepare for such events is to take part in Water Safety or First Aid courses and to think how you can help others and of course save yourself.

Not to suggest that swimming classes are recommended in blizzards, tornadoes or typhoons but Ireland is an island and the Midlands has numerous rivers and lakes and flooding in recent years should give cause to invest in a pair of Wellingtons at the very least.

Water safety and First Aid classes are an investment as they are for life and can help to save lives. These life skills include assessing the dangers associated with water and helping others without getting into danger yourself.

Some people much older than I will remember the Big Wind of 1961 when life saving and CPR were in their infancy but few will forget the basics of life saving skills whether taught to them as a child or an adult.

Adverse weather brings hidden dangers, flooded water conceals open manholes for example and footing by rivers and lakes might not be secure.

It might be a long time before Ireland is hit by another hurricane but life saving skills are learnt for life. No joke.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: RTE's Teresa Mannion went viral for her safety appeal warning motorists to avoid unnecessary journeys and for swimmers to stay out of the water but the internet did its thing and hit her with a stop sign.

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