The big news this past week has been Hurricane Sandy which hit the east coast with a vengeance. It is disturbing that so much of our national attention returned to business as usual so quickly. There was more concern over Halloween costumes and the election getting back on track than the fact that there are so many people living in devastation. But, that's a whole other post. The thing that I continue to think about is this ... Is there really ever a way to be totally prepared for huge disasters?
We live in a time wherein we can be forewarned by days of impending storms. We are told to stock up on nonperishable food items, water, batteries, etc. However, a whole lot of people do not do it because they don't really believe it can happen to them. I heard so many people joking about stocking up on wine and having parties. Really? I've been without power during a snowstorm and for an entire week thereafter. We were fine. We were prepared. We had the things we needed to take care of ourselves. So, if people ignore the basics of preparedness, they are simply being foolish. This is, of course, all within the parameters of the 'best case' scenario such as being out of power for a short time, or stuck at home for a few days.
So, what happens when there is such widespread damage as in this current disaster ... or Hurricane Katrina? Well, no amount of stocking up will work if your home is destroyed. Why don't we have more answers for the hundreds of people that end up homeless? We should ... in a nation as blessed as ours ... don't you think? Why do we not get our military into these areas sooner. These young soldiers are the sons and daughters of the folks who are suffering ... maybe not in reality but, certainly in spirit. They are there to serve ... let them. If governors of states so severely affected have to declare martial law, then they should. They need to stop people who are adding to the problems rather than helping, they need to help people who have no one, they need to prioritize the emergency relief.
People are mostly good during crises ... they step up. But, first we need to know how we can best help ourselves, we need to buck up and endure so that those who need the most help get it first. This is all part of the preparedness mindset. If huge storms continue to happen, it means loss of power, maybe loss of shelter. What will you do in the various scenarios? Do you have an alternate method of staying warm and dry? Do you have someplace to go? Will you heed the warnings and not put your children in harm's way? If you don't receive the blunt end of the disaster, could you step up and help those who did? We, as a nation, need to become more self reliant while simultaneously starting to think about how we can best serve our communities in times of need.
So, while we are praying for the people affected by this terrible storm, we should also be learning some key lessons about how we could be better prepared to help ourselves and help our community should we ever experience anything as terrible.