Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ready Part 2

Yesterday a tornado ripped through a small Colorado town about 15 miles from my home, and while hunkering down listening to the news coverage, it occurred to me that this would be an opportune time to write about emergency preparedness.

I wrote in yesterday's post about women being ready to help in times of danger.  Emergency preparation is an obvious example of what I was talking about.  

I have a friend who takes emergency preparedness very seriously, and has committed a portion of her basement to food storage and supplies.  Some people might be tempted to accuse her of paranoia, but I think that her's is the first place I'd be inclined to go if disaster hit our neighborhood.

Even better would be to emulate her model and stock up myself, which we have done to a lesser degree.  Basic first aid supplies, water, food, and batteries are all within reach if we really need them.  Hunkering down yesterday, I felt a little bit of comfort knowing that we had a few important things at hand.  

There are a few things about our communities today that make us particularly vulnerable to disasters:
1.  we depend on grocery stores for our weekly food supplies.  Thus, when trucks have difficulty accessing the stores to restock them, we are left with few resources.  This is in contrast to older generations who were accustomed to maintaining food cellars.
2.  we don't know our neighbors.  Sure, we might know their names, and say hi in passing, but studies show that we don't know their vitals: phone numbers, emergency contacts, allergies, etc., all information that is important in emergencies.
3.  we depend on technology.  High-speed cable internet, television, digital phones--all can be rendered useless in seconds during disasters, cutting us off from everyone else and making aid efforts more difficult to coordinate.

Of course we are fortunate to live in a country that takes disaster response very seriously, and has an excellent network of Red Cross volunteers ready to assist at the moment of danger.  However, even the most nimble Red Cross crew can't begin meeting needs in a neighborhood as quickly as those living there.  

Aim to be a first responder (and pray you never actually have to be one) by visiting Ready, the government's website for emergency preparedness.

Link: Ready

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