It is easy to think that no natural disaster will hit this area. At one time there was no Homeland Security Advisory System, there was no debate over gun ownership, and the post office was solvent.
One percent of water on the earth is drinkable. I have seen many articles suggesting that water is ultimately more valuable that crude oil. Droughts are decreasing food production. The price of food is sky high. Petroleum products are becoming prohibitive in price, creating higher prices in the grocery store.
All of this is to say that natural disasters are not the only hazards that we face on a daily basis. The world is becoming a very unstable and scary place and fear is the enemy. If you have a plan, then fear is less of an issue. I would like to take it a step further and suggest that we need to plan for our communities as well.
Once again planning for the safety and security of your families is the key. Kitchen gardens in the back yard are awesome. Canning and hunting are great ways to ensure that your family eats if the grocery store shelves are empty. Some of the younger people in the community don't know how to can. Would they be interested in learning? If you are experienced could you share your knowledge? Do your grandchildren know how to can or hunt?
During the derrecho last year I watched a community work together for the good of all. One had the chainsaw. One had a gas stove instead of an electric stove and could cook meals or home can the collective food that would spoil without electricity. Someone else had a generator that was passed around. Another had sufficient gas in his vehicle to get to an area that had power and gas for the vehicle and the generator. We can all work together.
How many people are in our churches that are older or infirm that need help in the event of a disaster. Is there someone in your neighborhood that could use a hand if things get bad? I challenge the churches in the area to know who lives in your service area that will need help. If Aunt Blanche is older and widowed she will need help getting the tree out of her drive or off the house. Surely some of the ladies will have a gas stove and will cook and share with those who need a meal. The churches that came to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina made the difference between survival and not for some. They were awesome. My question is why? Why can't we do that for our own?
Communication is mandatory. All disasters suffer communication breakdown. What if you need emergency medical care and there is no way to call? Amateur Radio Operators (HAM) are worth their weight in gold during a crisis. If agencies can't communicate with each other there is no rescue. If you are an amateur radio operator your services are needed. Please volunteer.
The Red Cross is a wonderful organization. Shelter is mandatory. The Red Cross is the primary provider of emergency shelters. The primary problem for the Red Cross is a lack of volunteers for their shelters. Nurses and others are needed to man the shelters. Once again, please volunteer.
"Mountaineers Are Always Free" is an awesome slogan. Freedom cannot exist without responsibility. One day there will be a disaster too large and severe for governmental assistance to mitigate the effects. Then what? Katrina was that for a short period of time. None of us there thought we would see a storm of that magnitude. I will never forget this young woman that was interviewed by the local news. She lived within a block of the beach, and she lived in a mobile home. The young woman told the reporter that she was going to stay home. She was asked what she planned to do if she got in trouble. Her reply was "Call 911." I have often wondered if she survived. Many did not.
Is your family prepared? There are resources that are available to help you plan for your family's needs. Family first, community second. We all have different talents, we can all work together. Consider volunteering in your community. I do. The next time we will look at what you need to keep available just in case. For a more comprehensive list go to our website, either at www.randolphcountycommisssion.org or on Facebook - Randolph County Office of Emergency Management.
We will have additional information available at the Hooked on Fishing Not On Drugs event at the Elkins High School gym Saturday and Sunday, or you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.