Every now and then, something happens which focuses my efforts as “keeper of the hearth” on something which I may not have been focused on. This weekend it happened again. Unexpectedly heavy rains caused flooding and mud slides in a number of communities around us. One such community is removing mud with back hoes; another is boiling water before it can be used. All from a few hours of rain.
As I watch the news and pray for those affected by the crazy weather, I am reminded that such things are happening all over and to varying degrees of seriousness. What is my job in all this? Well, prayer is necessary. A helping hand when possible is also good. Making sure that my family has what we would need in a similar situation is vital. Praying for help if I haven’t done my part will be so much less effective! We live where storms, floods, earthquakes, and other natural calamities are well with-in the range of possibilities.
How to prepare? There are so many unknowns, that it is impossible to be truly “ready for anything,” but there are a number of things I can do so that we are better prepared for many of them.
- Have a few months supply of food in my home. (Even if I only need it for a week or two, I am surrounded by people in my neighborhood that may need my help.)
- Have water stored. Empty 2-liter or juice bottles make easy and inexpensive storage containers. Be sure to treat the water so that it will be usable when it is needed. (Check with your local university extension or government office for recommended treatment instructions.)
- Have a portable 72-hour emergency kit in case of evacuation.
- Get to know your neighbors. Having a good relationship with those around you can help during hard days, even if all you need is a chat over the fence. During times of real challenge, knowing you can count on each other is worth the world!
- Have a plan for waste disposal. If you don’t have running water, you may not have a toilet that works, or garbage pick-up for a while. Ick.
- Have a source for cooking or heating. I have a wood-burning stove and camp stoves that can double as heating and/or food preparation stations if necessary. (DO NOT use camp stoves in an area that is not well-ventilated!)
- Keep candles, matches, working flashlights (with extra batteries), and lanterns where you can get to them. When the power goes out, the adventure begins!
- Keep a supply of working tools so that if you are helping clear debris or mud, you have what you need to assist.
- Learn to smile when things are less-than-ideal. If things around you are tough, bring a sunny disposition and maybe even a song to the party! Help calm the children with fingerplays and stories. Help provide faith, and a positive attitude so that the challenge can be less-miserable.
There are a myriad of books, websites, and classes dedicated to emergency preparedness. This list is not to be comprehensive, or to take the place of those lists which have been compiled by experts. (If you truly want a complete list refer to them.) It simply contains the items which came to mind this weekend as I watched the news. While I can’t control what happens around me, I am responsible for my preparedness level so that I can be helpful rather than a hindrance when the unexpected happens.
So…where are the flashlights….?