Preparing for Spring disasters

REGION – Spring is on the way folks, I promise. Of course while waiting for it to arrive, I find myself inside a lot keeping up on the latest weather news hoping for the best. Lately the news hasn’t been particularly encouraging. With the East coast of our country beset by huge storm after storm, and other parts facing terrible flooding due to unrelenting rains, I’ve developed a thankful attitude for our Michigan winters and the relative calm of this area of our nation.

However having said that, we know we are on the verge of the storm season, with things such as high winds, possibility of tornados, and the ever present danger of wild land fires. The point being, none of us are immune from disasters. Whether they are natural or even manmade, we are all potential victims.

According to data from F.E.M.A. (Federal Emergency Management Agency), in the last 10 years this country has recorded no less than 1000 disasters. Doesn’t seem to be “if” we get hit, but “when”.

Here in the emergency services, we realize that should something of magnitude occur, our abilities and resources would be stretched to the limit or overwhelmed. This means simply it could be a while before we reach you to help. With that in mind, we encourage everyone to build an emergency supply kit for themselves and families that follows some simple guidelines.

It is suggested that you store enough food, water, medicines, along with other items in the amount to last at least three days. We encourage you to look up FEMA.gov or ready.gov for a complete listing of items and a host of ideas to better prepare.

By the way, Ready.gov is an official website of the Department of Homeland Security. All of this information is for the taking, and while it cannot cover every scenario, such as weather or terrain, or logistics particular to different parts of the country, it’s a great resource and place to start. Obviously not everyone can afford the cost in terms of dollars and space needed to have the ultimate kit, but even a little set aside could prove a lifesaver in time of critical need.

There are other important factors in preparedness, like knowing where shutoffs such as gas and electric are located and just how to turn things off safely. It is a well known fact that troubles can be compounded by fires due to utility damage. Sounds like a lot to go through for something that may or may not happen, but it’s well worth the effort should you find yourselves huddled in what’s left of your domicile awaiting help. Believe me, that bottle of fresh water, the flashlight and those heart pills will be much appreciated.

Speaking as a first responder, there is another more, difficult to define, way of preparing too. Most of us come already equipped. It’s called the American spirit. We’ve seen time and again, this country has proved to the world that when the chips are down, we put our differences aside, and rather that point the finger of blame, we extent the helping hand to one another regardless of who is in need. This is perhaps one of the easiest, yet most important ways to prepare.

So pack a little spirit in your kit. Because, if we aren’t there for each other; wouldn’t that be the real disaster?

Ken Elmore
Markey Township firefighter

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