Were You Ready, Today?

ENIVRONMENT WEATHERA tornado touched down off of Highway 280 today.  No one was injured, but almost all witnesses were shaken.  Currently, as lightening bolts streak outside of my office window, I remember when I was a victim of a tornado during my childhood and I question, “Now that I work in disaster recovery, am I or my family more prepared should a disaster strike, again?”  Unfortunately, I’m not sure of the answer.

Here’s what I do know:  Severe weather  is such a frequent occurrence here in Central Alabama that we often overlook what we need to do to “be ready.”   In fact, there are multiple ways that I can prepare to help my family, friends, and neighbors in the event of disaster.

First, I know I should have a 3-Day disaster kit on-hand, which includes the following items:

  • Copies of important documents in a waterproof container (Photo IDs, proof of   residence,  insurance, birth certificates, deeds, Social Security Card, etc.) 
  • Hygiene kit of toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, deodorant, feminine products, shaving supplies, etc. 
  • Non-expired medication, medical contact information, prescriptions, and first aid kit.
  • Extra car and house keys
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person/day) and non-perishable food (i.e. granola or energy bars)
  • Battery operated radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
  • Contact and meeting place information for your household and a small regional map
  • Small denomination cash and ATM card
  • Comfortable shoes, raingear, and blanket
  • Any special care items

Also, now that I understand what it takes to help my own family and friends, I know that I can go a step further and attend training to become a Community Emergency Response Team volunteer, so that I have the skills necessary to help others in the event of a disaster.  To join CERT training in your area, please contact your county Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

Finally, we know know that nonprofits must work together to respond to a disaster, so I work diligently with local EMA officials, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations to create Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) chapters for each county in our region.  These chapters help improve communication, cooperation, and collaboration among disaster response organizations to ensure our community responds efficiently and effectively in  the event of an emergency.

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